Keep it simple: 20 ways to enjoy active family fun

Warmer weather and lighter evenings make it easy to enjoy active family fun. With so few kids meeting the minimum suggested daily physical activity levels, adding active family fun can help increase the amount of exercise we all get, and have family fun at the same time.

Contributor Catherine Cameron has some great ideas that will get everyone moving, that won’t cost the earth, and that will enable your family to make some special memories this season.

20 Ways to Enjoy Active Family Fun

Head to the Park!
Scope out all the parks, water parks, and playgrounds within walking or cycling distance of your home, and visit a different one each week.

Play some Tennis!
Head to your local tennis courts one evening or weekend afternoon each week and enjoy some rallies and tennis games…family style!

Show off your Green Thumbs
Spend an evening or some time each weekend, mowing, pruning, digging, planting and watering. Why not designate an area of the garden where each child can plant some flowers or vegetables?

Take a Hike!
Plan an invigorating hike through a ravine or park each week. On weekends, challenge your family with longer, often more scenic hikes at nearby conversation areas or provincial parks.

Make a Splash
Enjoy a swim at your neighbourhood community recreation centre.

Try the Y!
Purchase a family day pass to the YMCA and enjoy swimming, fitness classes, children’s play areas, and more.

Go fly a Kite!
Head to an open field or park and enjoy simple fun launching, running with, and reeling in kites.

Cheer on a Community Sports Game
Ride bikes to the local baseball diamond to cheer on an evening game. Sometimes being a spectator ignites a whole new interest in a sport or activity.

Teach your Kids the Games you used to Play
As kids, we didn’t rely on technology to entertain us. We played outside. Be an active role model, take your kids outdoors, and teach them the active games you used to play. My colleague, Lifestyle Coach, Andrew Barr, of DeerFields Clinic in Toronto suggests: “make exercise a game for young kids. Challenge them to see who can do the most jumping jacks in a minute, or who can win a race up the hill in the park”.

Set up a Net in your own Backyard
We do this at our house and enjoy games of volleyball and badminton before and after dining outdoors.

On weekends, venture a little further:

Visit the Zoo 
Ask your kids which animals they’re most interested in seeing and plan day at the zoo. Everyone’s sure to get plenty of activity walking… no, RUNNING, from one exhibit to the next.

Check out a Farmer’s Market 
I love snapping up locally-grown produce and baked goods at Farmer’s markets. Let the kids help by choosing perfectly ripe, ready-to-eat, fruits and veggies.

Stay Cool at an Art Gallery or Museum 
On days too hot or humid to be spent outdoors, enjoy family time strolling through an art gallery or museum. Most offer hands-on areas and activities for families.

For more of my tips, please see my feature for IRONKIDS Nutrition.

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