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Do you know that physical activity will help your children to grow strong bones and muscles, maintain a healthy weight, and best of all discover that big and wonderful world around them? Maybe they’ll even have a lot of fun!

According to Janet E. Fulton, PhD, of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, children should be active with vigorous or moderate activity for an hour or more every day. The problem is how do you get them to do this.

Tip # 1: Get a Pedometer

Do you have a teenager that spends hours and hours playing games like Minecraft on the computer? Maybe he or she only stops the game to snack. On comes the pounds. You certainly don’t want an overweight teenager!

Try this: Give the teenager a pedometer. Make a wager with him or her such as, “Bet you can’t take 10,000 steps in a day”. Of course, there should be a prize if he or she wins the bet. To get an idea of how many steps for the wager, you can wear the pedometer for a day and see what the number of steps are that you take. How about buying two pedometers? Then both you and the teenager can wear the pedometer in a wager as to who will take the most steps. Heck, buy enough pedometers for the entire family and then everyone can join in on the fun.

Tip #2: Play “Can You Find 10 Things in Your Neighborhood?”

Getting my children to join me in walking the dog has never been an easy task. One day, I thought of a plan. With a little preparation ahead of time, the plan worked. I made up a list of things in the neighborhood and bought a few prizes at the dollar store. Did the plan work? It sure did. “If you can find these ten things that I have listed in 45 minutes, I’ll have a surprise for you when we return home,” I told them. The challenge was on and off we went. On the list were items such as an evergreen tree, a rock wall, a Buick, a house with black shutters, and other items. In order to find all the things on the list, we had to walk quickly. Instead of moaning and groaning. The children were excitedly trying to find all the things on the list and having a great time. They had so much fun that they now beg me to take them for neighborhood walks. The dog got his walk as well.

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Tip #3: Fun Activities

Rollerblading, skateboarding, or roller skating are great fun for a child, and also great exercise. If it is winter, indoor ice skating or roller skating can provide the exercise for your children. Another great activity for indoors is a costume party. This can be two activities created out of one fun idea. First, you spend an afternoon creating costumes based on their favorite characters such as Superman, Spiderman or characters from the Frozen movie. If you lack the ideas, you can find some outstanding ones here. Once the costumes are made, you’re ready for the party.

Tip #4: Charity Volunteer

A great way for your child to get exercise and to help others as well is to join a charity walk, run or even a bicycle challenge. Find out what charity challenges are going to be held in your town.

Tip # 5: Sports

Encourage your children to be active in sports such as football, baseball, soccer or hockey. Joining school or town recreation teams will ensure their regular exercise and build character by their honoring their team commitments.

Tip # 6: Play Dates

Arrange for friends of your children to come to your house to play. Once you invite them, your child or children will be invited to their homes on other days. It’s a good idea to have active games for them to play planned. Here are a few suggestions to try:

  • Snow Ball Volleyball – After arranging cushions in a line to make a volleyball court, the children should pick two teams. Each team should sit on one side of the cushion line. A big balloon can serve as a volleyball. When you or one of the children call out, “HEAD RUSH”, the children shuffle around the floor to hit the balloon over the imaginary net made by cushions to the other side. If a team’s balloon touches the floor, the other team gets a point.
  • Sleeping Beauty Tag – Select one person to be Sleeping Beauty. Blindfold Sleeping Beauty with a scarf and turn her or him around a few times. The other children then creep around the room as quietly as possible to prevent Sleeping Beauty from catching them. When she does catch someone, she must guess who it is. If she is correct that person becomes Sleeping Beauty.
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You can find a number of great suggestions for play dates at a website like this one.
These Disney themed activities would be great for costume parties mentioned above as well.

Not only will these activities serve to keep your children active and healthy, you can enjoy their company and love every day!

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