10 Ways to Get Your Kids Off the Couch and Out to Play

mother and child doing yoga
Kids are by their nature pretty active. They love to run, jump, climb, and generally cause a ruckus. But there are strong forces keeping them pinned to the couch indoors: safety worries, overscheduling, TV, even too much homework. It's our job as moms to disconnect from Facebook, turn off the TV, and lead the parade off the sofa and out the door.

But what to do? Here are some ideas:


1. Nature walk. Make a list of birds, plants, and animals (small yippy dog, say, or black cat) you're likely to find in your neighborhood and check them off once you've seen them.

2. Revive games from your childhood. Red Light/Green Light, Red Rover, and Freeze Tag are still fun, you'll discover.

3. Run a race. If your kids are old enough, you can sign them up for an actual organized race and train for it (lots of communities have fun runs that are a mile or less, perfect for little legs). Or just time them to see how fast they can run to the end of the yard and back.

4. Jump rope. Get two kids to turn the rope and another to jump, and teach them the rhymes you learned.

5. Dance party! This is great for rainy days; crank up some music and shake your groove things. Break out the costumes and accessories from the dress-up box if you want to get really fancy.

6. Clean the house. Yes, really. Kids like to help clean, and you can make it fun by setting a timer to see who can pick up the most clutter in one minute, or give them a wipe and let them go to town on the kitchen counter.

7. Ride bikes. Even little ones can pilot a tricycle or Big Wheel, and helping an older kid master a two-wheeler is a great feeling for you and for them. You can find bikes anywhere from the high-end bike shops and big-box stores to Craigslist.

8. Try a sport. Kick around a soccer ball, shoot baskets at the park, or toss a baseball back and forth. You don't have to be athletic, just minimally coordinated.

9. Yoga. Kids are remarkably flexible compared to adults, and yoga has been demonstrated to have a calming effect on children.

10. Get wet. While the weather is still nice, head to your nearest pool, beach, or water park ... or even run through the sprinkler outside. They'll have so much fun, they won't even realize they are exercising.

What's your favorite active thing to do with your kids?

Image via David Goehring (CarbonNYC)/Flickr

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