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The Best 10 Types of Exercise for Kids Who Get Too Much Screentime

The Best 10 Types of Exercise for Kids Who Get Too Much Screentime

I think you’ll agree with me when I say that technology use today for kids is out of control. We see kids everywhere glued to a screen.

For parents, it’s not hard to see the appeal. After all, nothing brings a sense of calm and peace faster than letting kids use technology. But the downsides of technology are many. We have out of control rates of childhood obesity, diabetes, ADHD and more.

The solution seems obvious. We need to get our kids off screens and engaging in physical activity.

In this post we’ll explore the best exercise for kids. More importantly, we’ll look at the ones they will actually love and want to do again and again.

The challenges of getting kids to want to exercise

Let’s face it. Telling our kids to put the Kindle or laptop down and go out and play is going to be met with resistance.

The online world of Minecraft, Roblox and YouTubbers is fun. It’s dynamic and colorful. It’s never boring.

So to find an exercise for kids that will entice them in that same way, we have to get creative. Think beyond walking the neighborhood, forget the treadmill and don’t even think about jumping jacks.

10 Best exercises for kids

Here are the 10 very best exercises for kids they will actually want to do all on their own:

1. Glow in the dark hula hoop

    I don’t think there’s any aspect of hula hooping that looks or feels like exercise. But guess what? Doing the hula hoop is a great cardio workout! It also helps significantly with coordination. Improved focus and concentration are side-benefits too.

    But to really make this something your kids will demand, opt for glow in the dark hula hoops! Everyone loves glow in the dark anything!

    You can also opt for color changing hoops too. Turn any dark room into an instant dance party for your kids and watch the calories burn!

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    Who knew an exercise for kids could be so much fun?

    2. Tug of war

      Kids love good playful competition.

      Tug of war builds excellent core strength and is great for biceps and calves. The whole time you’re building muscle and shredding fat you’re building team work too.

      For extra fun, get the kids tugging right after a good rain. They’ll get nice and muddy. Studies have shown that a bacteria that lives in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, has proven health benefits.[1]

      3. Martial arts

        Martial arts is a great exercise for kids! The right school can help foster and develop the following qualities in our kids:

        • Confidence
        • Focus
        • Resilience
        • Self-regulation

        Aside from those mental and emotional benefits, martial arts is often one of the most suggested activities for kids with ADHD.

        Martial arts is great at developing hand-eye coordination, core strength, balance and the ability to stay calm under pressure. Who couldn’t benefit from those things?

        Finding a great school can be a little confusing. So check out the best way to find a great martial arts school for your kids.

        4. Rock climbing

          Rock climbers are among some of the fittest athletes. You’re building incredible core strength and excellent arm and leg muscles. You also develop strategy skills in deciding on when and where to move next.

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          Even more importantly, rock climbing has been shown to have a positive impact on anxiety, self-esteem and depression.

          Do it safely as a gym or activity center near you.

          5. Swimming

            We all hear about how great of an exercise for kids swimming is. It’s great for flexibility, reducing inflammation and building bone mass. Most kids love to swim and play in the pool with their friends.

            But a true added bonus is that studies have shown that swimmers have a 50% lower death rate than other forms of exercise.[2] So instilling a love for swimming could literally lengthen your child’s life.

            These are only a few of the benefits. Check out all the outstanding benefits of swimming.

            6. Tennis

              Tennis builds great teamwork and self-confidence. It also is great for strategy; a real plus for kids used to playing video games.

              But the real benefits of tennis are some of the outstanding physical benefits:

              1. Hand-eye coordination
              2. Flexibility
              3. Fine motor control
              4. Balance

              As your child develops a love of tennis and grows their skill, this is truly something they will love the rest of their life.

              7. Gymnastics

                Most kids who do gymnastics are not likely to end up in the Olympics. But that’s totally OK! Gymnasts are among the fittest of all athletes.

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                Kids gain flexibility, coordination, improved cognitive function, self-discipline and amazing core strength.

                Because they are rolling, twirling and flipping with other kids their own age, it won’t feel like exercise for kids at all!

                Do look for a school that will impart the basics in a supervised manner. You don’t need a school that focuses on trying to develop professional gymnasts. We’re here to foster health in our kids and get them to find ways of having fun off the screens.

                8. Soccer

                  Soccer builds cardiovascular health while building flexibility and coordination. Most importantly, it fosters excellent teamwork skills and kids have a blast doing it.

                  Since soccer is played outdoors, you also get all the amazing benefits of your kids playing outside. They get more vitamin D and develop stronger bones.

                  Studies have shown that children who spend too much time indoors and on screens can develop nearsightedness.[3] So improved vision can actually be another benefit of soccer.

                  Chances are there’s a local soccer league near you. If not, consider starting one!

                  9. Wrestling

                    Unlike martial arts, wrestling is focused exclusively on 2 people. It builds incredible sensitivity since you’re trying to feel what your partner is doing through close contact.

                    It is among the best exercise for kids since it helps foster:

                    • Self-regulation
                    • Personal responsibility
                    • Self-defense skills

                    It’s also a great exercise for kids that won’t break the bank. You don’t need tons of special gear.

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                    Also, since wrestlers don’t typically try and go pro, it’s not one of those sports that slowly eats away all your free time and money.

                    10. Parkour

                      Who doesn’t want to look and move like a superhero?

                      Parkour, sometimes called freerunning, is a little bit gymnastics, a little bit martial arts, but altogether different. It’s closer to skateboarding but without the skateboard.

                      A lot of the contestants on shows like American Ninja Warrior have a parkour background. Parkour has become very popular over the last few years thanks to that show and the TV show Arrow.

                      Chances are you can find a parkour school near you. If not, inquire if your local gymnastics place offers a parkour class.

                      Parkour engages the mind with climbing and jumping over obstacles while building serious core strength and coordination.

                      The best exercise for kids will be one that seems cool and exciting and doesn’t feel like exercise (but is!) Parkour easily fits that bill!

                      Balancing screen time with exercise for kids

                      So we know that screens and technology are an integral part of today’s society. Screens are naturally a much bigger part of children’s worlds than any generation before. But we don’t have to throw our hands up in defeat.

                      As with much of life, we just need balance. The benefits to limiting screen time are numerous.[4] So finding an exercise for kids that gets them off the couch but also stimulates their minds is crucial.

                      You may need to try several of these to find the one(s) that really resonate with your kids. Once you find the right one, your kids will be begging to do it again and again. And you just might find their interest in screen time takes a back seat.

                      In this post we looked at some of the very best exercises for kids. Exercises keep the mind engaged while bringing tremendous physical and emotional benefit. Specifically we looked at exercises and activities that are never boring. Ones that can compete with the best apps and games, finally bringing balance to your home.

                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                      Reference

                      More by this author

                      Jeff Campbell

                      A husband and father trying to help other dads and moms navigate through the worlds of mindfulness, health, parenting, marriage/relationships& more.

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                      Last Updated on November 18, 2019

                      30 Fun Things to Do at Home

                      30 Fun Things to Do at Home

                      I’m BORED! Have you ever heard someone in your family use those words?

                      Most of us have.

                      I barred that word from my house. Whenever someone said they were bored, I gave them two options:

                      First, there is always work that can be done. Secondly, find something to do.

                      There are always creative things that we can do at home. You just need to put some thought and imagination into your day.

                      The list of enjoyable things you can do is inexhaustible. I am going to share 30 fun things to do at home. Some of the events are best done at appropriate times of the year. Enjoy!

                      1. Have a Costume Night

                        Generally, the only time we can get away with putting on costumes is on Halloween. It is so entertaining to put on a costume and play.

                        Host an evening where everyone has to dress up in a costume. (Some costume ideas here!) Eat your dinner that evening all dressed up. Play games and just have a party. You can even make it a “themed” costume party by choosing a time era or movie characters. Shape it to meet your interests.

                        2. Throw an Indoor Picnic

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                          Set out a picnic blanket and basket of food and eat your dinner as though you were having a picnic. Just having variety in your family life brings you closer together as a family unit. Events like this are often the catalyst for a fun-filled evening.

                          3. Have a Christmas Party (*In the Summer)

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                            Set up some Christmas decorations and have a Christmas celebration during the summer.

                            Prior to this event, buy a few Christmas presents to give to an organization that accepts donations for families in need at Christmas time. Have wrapping paper on hand. Wrap up the gifts, while thinking of the joy they will bring to some little girl or boy at Christmas.

                            This serves to make your family mindful of others. Everyone in the family will be excited when Christmas comes and they can donate the gifts that you wrapped in the summer. It’s unique to have a Christmas party during the summer.

                            4. Host an International Dinner Night

                            As a family, pick out a country you would like to learn more about and are interested in. Find cuisine that is unique to that country. Prepare a dinner that would be served in that country.

                            The family can even find clothing that is worn in the country and wear it to dinner. Each family member would be responsible to bring one fact about the country to share at dinner time. For example, you could choose Mexico. You could serve tacos, enchiladas,and arroz con pollo.

                            Everyone could wear sombreros to dinner. Plan for an evening of creative learning time!

                            5. Film a “Newscast”

                            The technology that exists today is awesome. Smartphones come equipped to make videos.

                            Set up and make a newscast of events that are going on locally or events that are taking place in your family circle. This will also help everyone learn to speak in public. Doing this at home is an unusual way to interact as a family.

                            6. Have an Indoor/Outdoor Scavenger Hunt

                              Everyone loves hunting for hidden things. Type up a list of things that need to be found and give everyone a list. The things can be inside your home or even outdoors around the yard. Put a time limit on how long they have to locate the articles.

                              Be creative. You can even put some things in the form of clues, so everyone has to figure out what the object is. Have a small prize for the winner.

                              7. Learn to Do Nail Art

                              Nail art is the “in” thing right now. You see people with their fancy nails everywhere. With some patience, you can learn to do this at home. Spend time practicing this. You can find kits and tools for this at department stores and drug stores. It is relaxing to sit around painting nails and compare the outcomes.

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                              8. Plant Seedlings

                              Planting seedlings and watching their growth is rewarding, as well as educational. You would need to do a bit of research as to what would be the best time to plant. The time frame fluctuates between various types of plants. Most plants take 3-15 weeks to mature to a level to be transplanted into a garden. You would want to know what type of plants you are planting and the time needed. It brings great joy to watch them develop and bloom once they are transplanted into a garden.

                              9. Host a Themed Movie Night

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                                There are many movies that have sequels. Pick a genre that your family would enjoy. Plan for a whole evening of back-to-back viewing of the movies. Make sure you have plenty of popcorn and snacks on hand! If you want to be really creative, find props that go with the movie and set them out. You can even make a dessert that matches the movie theme. May the force be with you!

                                10. Play Games

                                Board games are an excellent way to have fun at home. There are so many options to choose from. Some of our favorites include Ticket to Ride, Catan, Sequence, and Risk. These are just a few of the many varieties out there. Go to a local game store and see what appeals to the taste of your family.. The great thing about board games is that you are able to interact with everyone while playing. Let the games begin!

                                11. Film a Cooking Show

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                                  Have you ever watched the cooking shows on TV? Cooking is a hot topic. In fact, cooking shows are so popular these days that there are networks that only broadcast shows about cooking.  Pick out a recipe you would like to try. Pretend you are hosting your own cooking show and video it. Make sure the whole family participates, in one way or another. You are certain to have a lot of laughs while watching your family episode.

                                  12. Make Christmas Cards

                                  Homemade Christmas cards are unique and special. Craft stores and department stores sell supplies that you can purchase to make beautiful cards. Use your creative skills and have an evening where you all come together and make Christmas cards to send to your family and friends.

                                  13. Make a Scarecrow

                                    Autumn is never complete without the fun of making a scarecrow. Rustling in the fallen leaves and stuffing them into old clothing brings out the kid in everyone.

                                    One time while visiting my grandfather, I thought it would be fun to make him a scarecrow for his yard. I never imagined that he would come out and start making it with me. He was well into his 80s, and yet the joy in his eyes when we made that scarecrow together was a memory I will always cherish.

                                    For those who like to be different, you can always make an indoor scarecrow at any time of year, using newspaper or paper towels as stuffing.

                                    14. Have a Karaoke Night

                                    Plan an evening of karaoke. This is a great way to spend family time together. PlayStation and Wii have several options to pick from. From experience, this is an evening of lots of laughter and joy! Everyone loves to sing…even those who might not have a singing voice like to bust out at karaoke.

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                                    15. Do a Puzzle

                                    Puzzle-making is a calming way to spend time together at home. Hours can be spent finding just the right pieces to add to the puzzle. The best part is when you see the finished product. This isn’t a one-night activity, so set aside a place that the puzzle can be undisturbed. You can find mats that roll your puzzle up when you aren’t working on it. If you have a spare table that isn’t used daily, you could have it there on display and readily available to continue on.

                                    16. Play with Lego

                                    I am sure you have seen some amazing pieces of art made with Lego. Of course, not everyone has talent enough to make huge projects with Lego. Fortunately, the pleasure isn’t limited to your ability to build great things. Regardless of what you build, simply be creative and let the kid in you come out.

                                    17. Make Jewelry

                                    Learning to make jewelry isn’t that difficult. You can find many links on the internet that will teach you how to make earrings and necklaces.

                                    Visit your local craft store or department store and purchase some tools and supplies. Take your time and visualize what you want the finished product to look like. The jewelry you make can also be presents to give away. That is, of course, if you can bear to part with what you made.

                                    18. Host an English Tea Party

                                      Some of us can remember being a little girl and having tea parties, chatting with our imaginary friends and sipping tea. Now that you are older, why not have a real tea party? Have the family dress up in their best outfits and host an English Tea Party. There are guidelines, recipes, and even games to play on the internet. Do a bit of exploring and planning, then host the perfect tea party at home for your family.

                                      19. Plant Bulbs

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                                        There are two times of year that bulbs can be planted. In the fall, you can plant spring bulbs such as tulips and daffodils. Alliums, agapanthus, cannas and some other summer bulbs can be planted in early spring. Set aside an appropriate time and plant bulbs in your yard. You will reap rewards when you see the sprouts starting to come up. Your yard will look lovely with the flowers blooming.

                                        20. Read a Book

                                        The art of reading aloud has lost its popularity. Pick out a book that would interest your family and have an evening each week that you read the story aloud. Take turns reading out loud. Interact about what is going on in the story line. This can be your own family book club.

                                        Looking for books to read next? Here’re some self-help books to read, and here’re some great books for fiction lovers.

                                        21. Have a Water Balloon Fight

                                        This activity is best done outdoors in warm weather. This is an “action” activity that brings out the youthfulness in all of us. Depending on the size of your family, you can have teams for this. Fill up as many balloons as you like with water. Go outside and aim for your target. Run, laugh and have fun!

                                        22. Learn Yoga

                                        Yoga is so beneficial for every age group. As a family unit, learn yoga. Once again, there are many learning tools for this. You can find videos at your local library. This is a refreshing way to enjoy healthy interaction as a family.

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                                        23. Invent a Writing Code

                                        Invent your own code and write messages to each other. Take the alphabet and transform it into symbols and signs to represent each letter. It’s exciting to come up with your code. Once it is created, give everyone a copy of the code, and begin writing messages to one another. It will be interesting to translate words into the special code you made.

                                        24. Have a Photo Shoot

                                        Gather together some props and outfits and take family pictures. Make sure each member has individual shots as well. Acting as a professional photographer, be creative in the photos you take. Take funny pictures. Take serious pictures. Take candid shots. The joy of digital photography is that you can take as many photos as you like and delete what doesn’t work. Make sure you add props to make it interesting!

                                        25. Learn Calligraphy

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                                          Learning a new technique is always interesting. Calligraphy is a well-known type of writing with special pens. Craft stores and department stores have kits designed to assist you in the learning process. Write out poetry or some of your favorite quotes. You never know, you might acquire a talent and be able to frame some of your work.

                                          26. Have a BBQ

                                          It’s always enjoyable to have a barbecue. You can cook up your food and eat outside. After you are finished, have a campfire and tell scary stories. Remember how fun it is to sit around a campfire telling stories. Make this happen in your yard. Enjoy the night sky. Most of all, enjoy each other!

                                          27. Invent Your Own Board Game

                                          Discuss what type of game you want to make. Design the board together. Make the rules that will need to be followed. Make the game pieces that you will need. Play the game that you invented. Coming up with the game and the rules you want to make is an awesome time of interaction with one another. The results of your collaboration will be so exciting to view and play.

                                          28. Have a Spa Night

                                          Plan an evening where you can do an at-home spa night. Light candles, put on relaxing music, and make your atmosphere resemble a spa. You can do facials, manicures, and pedicures. You also can have bubble baths. Schedule it so that each person is doing a different thing and rotate the process. Your family will enjoy this time of pampering and relaxing.

                                          29. Play Charades

                                          This game has existed for such a long time and yet it never grows old. You can buy charade games already packaged. However, feel free to make up your own.

                                          Each family member can contribute by writing down charades on index cards. Watching your family members act out the charade while the others are guessing is guaranteed to be a night full of fun and laughter.

                                          30. Make a Family Scrapbook

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                                            Choose an assortment of family pictures taken during different events. Compile these photos into groups and begin to make a scrapbook. Perhaps you want to focus on a special trip your family took or another meaningful event you wish to document. The ideas for creating your family scrapbook are endless. Personalize this and make it your own; after all, this is your story!

                                            I hope that out of this list you will find some new things that you want to try at home. We have already done most of the things on this list as a family, and we look forward to doing the few that are left. Have fun and make some unique family memories that will be remembered for years to come.

                                            More Ideas of Fun Things to Do

                                            Featured photo credit: Andreina Vincentelli via unsplash.com

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