15 Fun Family Fitness Ideas That Keep You Active
The family that plays together, stays together! Whether your kids are toddlers, teens, or somewhere in-between, finding ways to get active together is a great way to improve familial relationships. Scheduling family fitness activities can also help you get more physical activity— because once you tell the kids your plans, there are no take-backs!
Studies have found that “family time” is not often associated with physical activity—eating together and sitting and talking are the two most common activities that kids associate with family time. Adding more physical activity and less sedentary behaviour to time spent with family can help kids and adults alike reach the recommended 60 minutes of exercise each day.
We know that spending time as a family can deepen connections within a family unit. By adding in an extracurricular activity that you share in, you have a chance to bond through shared experiences, role model what good physical and mental health looks like, and improve the overall health of your family.
Focusing on having an enjoyable time while staying active is also extremely important—studies have found that a negative association with childhood physical activity could lead to lower levels of physical activity into adolescence and adulthood. So fun should be the name of the game when getting active as a family.
If you’re ready to start getting active as a family but aren’t sure where to start, here are 15 fun fitness activities that will help you get the whole family moving.
Spring and Summer activities for the whole family
When the spring and summer weather arrives, it’s a great time to get the kids on their bikes and hit the trails. Plan a fun destination like a local playground or a friend’s house, or simply enjoy the journey!
Wash the car
A lot of the things that we adults think of as boring chores are fun adventures for younger kids. Grab some buckets and sponges, and have the kids give the family vehicle a good scrub. And if you want to make it even more fun, give the kids some washable paint and paint brushes before, and let them turn your car into a work of art before they wash it.
Think back to a time before smartphones and tablets, a time when your only indicator of when to come home was when the streetlights came on. There are so many amazing childhood games that your kids may have never even experienced, so dig deep and find a new game to play as a family. A few classics include hide-and-seek, tag, jump rope, duck-duck-goose, and hopscotch.
Not only is learning to swim an important skill to learn for safety reasons, but it is also a fun way to get active and an easy way to do so as a family.
Plant and tend a garden
Planting a garden as a family is a great spring activity that will help you spend time together as a family throughout the summer. From planting to weeding to watering, there is a lot that goes into a successful garden. Your kids will also get a sense of accomplishment when they eat a meal with veggies they grew on their own.
Fall activities for the whole family
Rake the leaves
Who says having fun can’t also be productive? Once the leaves start falling, gather up the family and head outside to start raking. But don’t stop there—take turns jumping into the leaves! Now you’ve got a fun activity that will also keep kids active… because once you jump in, you’ve got to rake the leaves all over again.
Plan a scavenger hunt
Fall is the perfect time to get outside and go on a scavenger hunt. You can tailor it to your local area and list things you know your kids will be able to find. From a red leaf to an acorn to a rock, you’ll have your family running around your yard or local park hoping to cross all the items off their list.
Winter activities for the whole family
Play in the snow
It’s easy to want to stay inside when the snow starts falling, but this is the perfect time to get outside and get active. Whether you’re building a snow person, making snow angels, having a snowball fight, or digging a snow fort, you’ll be having fun and giving your body a great workout.
When enough snow has fallen, there’s nothing more fun than going tobogganing. Climbing up and down those hills is a great way to get active and is sure to put a smile on your kids’ faces.
Try something new
Winter is a great time to try a new sport. When it comes to planning a winter activity, many snow-based activities are often overlooked—even by adults. You can grab a pair of snowshoes and explore your local park. Or go cross-country skiing along a trail. Or strap on a pair of skates and visit the ice skating rink.
All-season activities for the whole family
Walk around the world
Make doing for a walk a bit more exciting by planning a “trip” around the world. Put a map in your home where you can plot your adventures and plan where you will walk. Then, use a trusty pedometer to track your distance and plot it onto the map with thumbtacks or a pen. It’s a great way to get kids excited—because walking around the block again might not sound fun but finishing the last few kilometers to go from Switzerland to Italy sure does!
Tackle a hiking trail
Walking’s more adventurous cousin, hiking is a fun way to get kids and adults outside. Hiking also takes a lot of concentration and has been shown to help improve your working memory. Look into your local trails and find a length and difficulty level that suits every family member. And remember that even newborns can hit the trails with the right gear—many different baby carriers make wonderful hiking companions.
Plan out an obstacle course
This is a great activity for any season—if it is too cold or wet outside you can set up your obstacle course in your living room. But if it is a beautiful day outside, you can take your obstacle course to your backyard or the local park.
Visit your local community center
From swimming pools to basketball courts to gyms, local community centers have a huge variety of active activities for every season. You can head to a family swim and play in the pool, or rent out a basketball court to shoot hoops or play volleyball. Every community center is different, so be sure to check in to see what is offered locally.
Have a dance party
Throw on your kids' favourite playlist and start dancing! Not only is this an engaging activity that will get you all moving, but dance has also been shown to promote emotional intelligence and mental well-being. Make a game out of it and build a new playlist each week or challenge each other to dance-offs.
If your family doesn’t already have a favourite sport or activity, why not try a new activity each week? This keeps things interesting and exciting, plus it gives you a chance to learn what it is your family enjoys doing!
Other resources you may be interested in:
Episode 3: Can physical activity slow the decline of aging? - Beyond Age Podcast