Get Your Kids Moving: 11 Clever Ways to Make Exercise Irresistible

Get Your Kids Moving


Do you remember the days when kids played outdoor games where they ran or rode their bike? In modern times, the trusty bicycle has been replaced with screens and sedentary lifestyles. Recent studies show kids who are inactive are more likely to be obese and develop adult-sized health problems, like diabetes and hypertension, even before they cross the threshold to adulthood.

Isn’t it time for parents to be proactive and encourage kids to put down the screens and get off the couch? If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration to get them on their feet, here are nine.

Introduce Them to a New Sport

Introduce your screen-hungry kids to a variety of sports. The goal? To show that there’s life beyond the iPad screen. Let them enjoy the excitement of swinging a tennis racket and feeling the power they can unleash with their arm. Tennis teaches hand-eye coordination too. Introduce them to the thrill and weightlessness of gliding through the water in a swimming pool. Help them develop a passion for movement that follows them throughout life.

Sign them up for several types of lessons, like swimming, tennis, or karate. See which ones ignite their passion. Then encourage them to take it to the next level. Who knows, you may just have a future Olympic athlete or sports superstar in the making!

Family Fitness: Make Exercise a Family Affair

What’s good for kids’ benefits mom and dad too. Make exercise a family affair by getting everyone on board. Organize active vacations and weekend jaunts like hikes in the mountains. Tackle steep trails that build muscle and stamina. Go on family bike rides or teach your kids to play pickleball. By doing this, they can enjoy the mental and physical health benefits of moving their bodies. Movement is natural! It’s sitting too much that isn’t.

Make It Fun

Children don’t enjoy exercise for the sake of exercise. So, find ways to make it fun. Create obstacle courses in the backyard that challenge their young minds and bodies. Instead of a video game, organize a scavenger hunt. How about an old-fashioned game of tag or hide and seek? These are oldies but goodies and they’re anything but sedentary. Who says you can’t have fun without screens?

Explore Summer Camps

Summer camps where kids go during the day or for a week or weekend help them release pent up energy and find new ways to stay active and enjoy life. Some camps offer swimming, archery, and horseback riding lessons, so they learn new skills and find new passions. Plus, spending time with other kids at a camp builds social skills and self-reliance.

Escaping to a camp gives kids a break from technology. It’s a chance to reconnect with nature and real people, including other kids. The unplugged atmosphere helps them build stronger social connections and fosters idependence, something all kids need as they move through life. With so many activities, kids will discover a wealth of new games, sports, and activities they can pursue once they return home.

Active Chores

Give your kids active chores that keep them moving. Include tasks like walking the dog, washing the car, and taking out the trash to their list of responsibilities. Actively engaging with chores teaches them responsibility too. If they aren’t happy, turn the tasks into timed challenges and encourage them to improve their time, while still doing a stellar job. Make it a competition! This will also help them appreciate the value of hard work, which will help them throughout life.

Reduce Screen Time

You’re probably already aware of this but give kids a screen and a place to sit, and they’ll spend hours staring at it. Limit screen time and replace the time they spend in front of one with outdoor activities. Encourage your kids to earn the time they spend playing video games and watching television. Make it a reward for staying active, rather than something they can do whenever they want. Find the right balance between screen time and other activities, including movement. Taking this approach will help your child thrive both physically and mentally. It’s all about balance.

Active Gaming

If your kids play video games, swap out the sedentary ones with ones that require movement. Get them enthralled with games that involve dancing or virtual reality adventures that get them moving during their screen time. For example, PlayStation Move tracks their movements using motion sensors. You can also find rhythm games that involve moving and dancing to keep them on their feet. Virtual reality games are the hottest trend as they encourage players to jump and move their feet back and forth in a way that doesn’t feel like exercise.


Gardening gets kids outdoors, but it also qualifies as physical activity if they’re moving around, pushing wheelbarrows, and lifting things. Plus, it helps kids appreciate nature and healthy food. (if they’re growing produce) Give them their own small garden to plant and maintain. It’s a chance to learn the health benefits of each fruit and vegetable they grow too.

Tracking Movement for Fun

If your kids have a competitive spirit, give them an activity tracker to keep track of their movements. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. A simple pedometer will do the trick. Help them set step goals and reward them when they meet them. You can even turn it into a family challenge to see who takes the most steps on a given day or over the course of a week. This friendly competition encourages everyone to move more and helps support a healthy lifestyle and a “stay active” mindset.

Foster a Culture of Activity

Make movement a priority. More importantly, weave it into the fabric of family life Going to the store? Set a good example by walking or biking to run errands rather than firing up the car. Focus on weekend activities that involve movement rather than watching the latest installment of your favorite television program. Kids learn from what you do! Make sure the choices you make are active and healthy. Create a culture of activity at home by making movement a priority. Teach your kids to do the same.

Don’t Forget about Team and Community Sports

Give your kids involved in community and school activities that require physical activity, including team sports, nature exploration, recreational leagues, and after-school programs. Call your local parks and recreation department to discover new resources. Explore local parks and trails that you can explore as a family. Keep it fresh and interesting!


Take an active role in making physical activity a regular, enjoyable part of your kids’ daily lives. With these strategies, you can set your children on a path to lifelong health and happiness. Doing so is important for their well-being now and their future health too!


  • “Daily School Physical Activity Improves Academic Performance.” 04 Jun. 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7353619/.
  • “Physical Education and Physical Activity | Healthy Schools | CDC.” https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/physicalactivity/index.htm.
  • Barbosa A, Whiting S, Simmonds P, Scotini Moreno R, Mendes R, Breda J. Physical Activity and Academic Achievement: An Umbrella Review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Aug 17;17(16):5972. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17165972. PMID: 32824593; PMCID: PMC7460146.

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