We know it might be chilly out, but in honor of American Heart Month, we want to encourage you and your kids to bundle up and head outside to try some of these family-friendly games and activities that will get your hearts pumping. Buck Buhler, our staff Director of Wellness, shared some of his family’s favorite ideas with us to help your family get the exercise you need and give you all some fun, quality time together!
Get creative and set up an obstacle course for the family to conquer.
- Set up a combination of boxes, cones, buckets, chairs, etc. to create obstacles kids can jump on, step on or over, or army crawl under.
- Use tarps, ropes, jump ropes, beach towels, etc. to create areas to avoid. Give them creative names like “lava pits” or “shark-infested tide pool” to add an extra layer of fun!
- To practice communication skills and encourage cooperative strategy, have kids take turns navigating the course blindfolded while a parent or sibling calls out instructions.
- To make the obstacle course competitive, time kids as they complete the course. The fastest time wins!
Encourage collaboration and creative thinking by playing a round of “Cross the Pond.”
- Use cones or rope to designate a large area of the yard as a “pond” to cross.
- As a team, the family will use three or four paper plates or flat discs to cross to the other side of the pond.
- The pond can only be crossed by stepping on the plates.
- If someone falls into the pond, he or she must start over.
- To make the activity more or less challenging, change the number of plates used to cross the pond.
- The family can also split into smaller teams with two or three plates each and see who can cross the pond the fastest.
Give the game of tag an overhaul with these fun variations.
- Arm & Leg Tag: The person who is “It” can only tag other players on their arms or legs. Once one of those body parts is tagged, it can’t be used anymore for the rest of the game. (e.g., if your left leg is tagged, you can only hop around on your right foot.)
- Tail or Flag Tag: Give each player a “tail” or flag (e.g., ribbon, towel, etc.) to tuck in the back of their pants. Players are out when “It” grabs their tail.
- Crab Walk Tag: All players must stay in the “crab walk” position (on hands and feet with knees bent and bellies up in the air).
- Bear Crawl Tag: All players must stay in the “bear crawl” position (on hands and feet with backsides up in the air).
If “Tag” is all played out, teach your kids how to play “Laces.”
- Designate a space in the yard or establish boundaries for the game.
- Tell kids their goal is to touch someone else’s shoelaces (or the top of their foot if they don’t have shoelaces) first.
- For two kids, see who can be first to win two out of three rounds. For a larger group, players are out once their laces are touched, and the last person standing is the winner.
Take your hikes to the next level.
- Hiking is a great opportunity to make memories and have conversations while also getting your family outside and moving around.
- Increase the fun and the activity level by incorporating different types of exercises along the way. You could stop at certain markers and work in simple exercises like jumps, squats, or pushups. To add in some competition, kids could race from one marker to the next in safe areas, or they could try to step on someone else’s shadow.
We’d love to see how your family cares for your hearts this February, so if you post pictures on social media, be sure to tag @elevationekidz and let us cheer you on!