5 Fun Ways to Keep Your Family Active All Spring and Summer Long
Guest Article By Paige Johnson
Getting active as a family does more than keep you and your children physically and mentally healthy — it’s also a great way to come together and strengthen your family bond. Here are five ideas for keeping your whole family active this year.
1. Ride Bikes
We’re all guilty of driving to nearby places out of convenience, but doing so means missing a great opportunity to get active and enjoy the warm weather. Instead of hopping in the car for every quick errand, start a new habit of taking bicycles to nearby spots like the library, park, or your favorite family restaurant. Little ones can travel in a child bike seat or bike trailer, while older kids can pedal along on a child-adult tandem or their own bicycle. Opting for bikes not only improves the physical health of your entire family, it also helps to burn up kids’ ample energy and avoid stressful car rides.
When your children are older, you can take the love of cycling instilled at a young age and start a new family tradition of long road rides or even bike touring.
2. Go on Nature Hikes
If you have a nature park, preserve, or public forest nearby, you have a wonderful family activity at your fingertips. Going on a hike as a family is a great way to get your blood pumping, reduce stress, and share in conversation without all the distractions found at home. Hiking is an especially great option for families just beginning their fitness journey, as you can easily tailor excursions to be as short or as long as you’d like. You can even turn a nature hike into an educational activity by bringing along a book on bird, tree, or plant identification and exploring the biodiversity of your own community.
If your family is up for an even bigger adventure, take a trip to a national park and spend a few days hiking trails, floating rivers, and experiencing America’s natural treasures. At the end of each day’s activities, you can bond over a campfire and a well-earned meal before resting up to start again.
3. Pick Your Own Fruit
We all know how important good nutrition is. It’s vital to our physical health, and is now even being regarded as a critical part of treating mental health conditions from depression to anxiety to addiction. Getting kids excited about healthy eating can be tricky, but one surefire way to spark their interest is to spend a day outside showing them where healthy food gets its start. Heading to a pick-your-own orchard or a berry patch is a fun way to spend a few hours on your feet while enjoying the incredible flavor of freshly-picked, locally-grown produce. Your kids will love getting their hands dirty and learning about where their food comes from. If you live in an area with a specific agricultural tradition, look for festivals celebrating the annual harvest for extra activities from live music and beer gardens to corn mazes and kids’ games.
4. Start a Weekly Sports Night
There’s no greater sin than letting your backyard sit idle while the weather’s warm and the sun is bright. Instead, start a weekly family sports night to get everyone moving and make the most of your home’s green space. Start with a list of games to try, like capture the flag, red light green light, and red rover. If your kids are older, try backyard yoga, badminton, or dodge ball. Once you’ve found out which games mesh best with your group, you can choose a few favorites and start a monthly game rotation. But don’t forget to introduce new ideas once in awhile to keep things fun and fresh!
5. Try Geocaching
Geocaching is the best recreational activity you’ve never heard of. This real-world treasure hunt lets you search for hidden geocaches in your area with nothing more than a GPS-enabled device like a smartphone and a free geocaching.com membership. Geocaches can be hidden anywhere, from a city center to along a forest trail, so your family will get to explore new places and log plenty of steps while navigating to your “treasure.”
Whether you’re trying to help your family become healthier or just looking for fun new ways to connect, getting outside and getting active as a family is a wonderful way to spend your free time this spring and summer.