Family Health

Physical Activity for Kids: Help Your Children Jump-Start an Active Life

Are your kids constantly glued to their digital devices? If they can't pry themselves away from tablets and smartphones, it's time to intervene with some creative physical activity for kids.

No matter your age, using technology for extended periods can be harmful if not balanced with enough physical fitness. It can lead to weight gain, bad posture, and poor health habits in general. Fortunately, getting your kids moving doesn't have to be a big, complicated production. By simply helping them be a little more active each day, you'll have a positive impact on their physical and emotional states, and ultimately their lives.

You don't have to enforce a complete digital detox, but you can show your kids ways to have fun that aren't so sedentary. Check out these ideas to help your child achieve a healthy balance.

Limit Screen Time

The most effective way to wean your kids off electronics is to remove the temptation altogether. Designate certain days or times as screen-free, and choose an energetic activity to take its place. Keep jump ropes, balls, and other toys and games handy so your kids won't automatically reach for the smartphone. As your new screen-free schedule becomes the norm, your kids will be more apt to choose a physical activity over a virtual one.

Small Victories

Squeeze in active playtime throughout the day. Fit in a mini workout when the family is sorting laundry or walking the dog. Make it a point to take some time each week for a leisurely activity, such as a game of Frisbee or catch after dinner. Don't hesitate to turn a few free moments into a chance to get up and move around.

Walk, Run, Skip, and Jump

There's more than one way to get where you need to go. Try biking, rollerblading, scootering, or skateboarding around the neighborhood while doing errands or even on the way to school. There's virtually no end to the creative ways you and your family can get around.

Of course, you won't always be able to refrain from driving. If another form of transportation is totally inconvenient, find other ways to compensate for all that time spent in the car. Perhaps you can drive partway to your destination and walk the remaining distance, or park in a far-off spot to get more exercise.

Make Chores Fun

Chores are hardly any kid's idea of a good time, but if you make them into a game, those dreaded tasks won't seem so unpleasant. See how fast your kids can put away their toys or make their beds, or keep track of points scored while tossing clothes into the hamper. Head outside, too. You can get dirty doing some gardening, or rake leaves into piles big enough for jumping in. Your kids will be tidying up, getting fit, and having fun doing it. You might be surprised at how quickly chores get done this way.

Explore the Outdoors

Take advantage of any opportunity to get the kids out for a brisk walk or hike. Spend a day at the local park, or venture into a woodsy area if your kids can handle more rugged terrain. Take your outing further by turning it into an activity such as a scavenger hunt.

Remember that physical activity for kids doesn't have to be just for them — get the whole family in on the fun by finding opportunities to exercise and play together. Not only will this make physical fitness more enjoyable, but you'll also be setting a great example for your children as they grow.

Posted in Family Health

Julia is a freelance journalist specializing in health, tech, lifestyle, and culture reporting. Her work has appeared in, USA Today College,, and Healthline, among other publications.

More articles from this writer

How to Recognize Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac

Find a Helpful Sleep Cycle App and Get a Good Night's Sleep

Is It Allergies or Cold Symptoms? Here's How to Tell the Difference

*This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute health care advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or physician before making health care decisions.