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Active Play: 5 Fun Activities to Do With Your Kids

Jump up and move! These active play ideas require little to no prep or props.


Updated November 01, 2013

Want to get your family moving more? Tempt kids with irresistible active play. If you join in, your children are more likely to want to participate. Plus, you'll reap fitness benefits from these easy, inexpensive (or free!) activities too.

1. Hit the playground.

Preschooler on playground climber
Catherine Holecko
Most kids can't help but move their muscles when faced with a tempting array of climbers, swings, and slides. Sandbox play counts too; all that digging and scooping is great for the arms. Mix things up even more by:
  • Bringing some extra toys (balls, kites, jump ropes)
  • Meeting another family and playing together
  • Playing obstacle course—chart out a wacky route and see who can do it the fastest
  • Trying out a new playground to check out its offerings—anything different from your usual haunts?
  • Walking or biking to and from the playground, or bringing your favorite ride-on toys to use there

2. Have some good clean fun.

searching under bed
Mieke Dalle
Tackling housework together is more fun than doing it alone. It takes less time, and gets everyone moving actively. Older kids can vacuum and mop; littler ones can dust and wipe. Everyone can help sort laundry or move it from one machine to another (extra points for lugging it outside and hanging it on the line!). Outside, take on sweeping, raking, weeding, digging, or watering chores together.

3. Teach classic backyard games.

Red Rover backyard game for active play
Andersen Ross
Remember Red Rover and Four Square? What other games did you play as a kid? Show your own kids how to play! Recruit a few neighborhood kids to join in, or just play as a family. When you're inside, try get-moving games such as Twister and Hullabaloo.

4. Host a dance party.

Kids groove at an indoor dance party
Manchan/Digital Vision
This works indoors, outdoors, anywhere, anytime. All you need is some jammin' music. If you start shaking your groove thing, your kids will clamor to join in. For extra incentive, bring out some dress-up items for props (filmy scarves, silly hats, or feather boas are perfect).

5. Walk!

Boy with backpack and parents hiking
George Doyle / Getty Images
Take a family stroll after dinner (try a walking game for more active play), walk to school and back, take your dog on a spin around the block, do errands on foot or park at the far end of the parking lot. Consider outfitting the whole family with inexpensive pedometers, then tracking your steps together. Set goals and reward yourselves with a family outing (bowling, batting cages, etc.).
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