The news is full of reports that say today’s kids aren’t getting enough physical activity. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers some eye-opening statistics:
- Less than half of time spent in sports practice and physical education class gets kids moving enough to be considered physical activity.
- Children and teens spend an average of seven hours or more each day engaged with TVs, computers, phones and other electronic devices.
- One in three children in the U.S. is overweight or obese.
So what’s a grandparent to do? Why not channel your inner child and introduce your loved ones to activities you once enjoyed? Not only will it benefit everyone physically, but it can also help to strengthen family bonds.
The power of play
Need more encouragement? The AAP and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say an hour of active play every day can help children and teens:
- Reduce stress and increase mental well-being
- Increase energy and endurance
- Improve ability to sleep
- Boost self-confidence and decision-making abilities
- Achieve or maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid type 2 diabetes and heart disease
Don’t worry about being active for the full 60 minutes at once — it’s OK to break it up into 20- or 30-minute blocks of time.
10 family game ideas
These tried-and-true games get muscles moving, encourage critical thinking and let everyone enjoy the outdoors:
- Hopscotch. Get some sidewalk chalk to draw your board, and start hopping.
- Jump rope. Sing along to rhymes like “Three Blind Mice” or “Jack Be Nimble.” If you’re up to it, challenge older kids to double Dutch.
- Hide-and-seek. Ready or not! Don’t be too quick to find your little ones — they’ll be thrilled to outsmart grandma or grandpa.
- Fly a kite. While you could buy an inexpensive kite, why not spend some time building one together, then see how long you can keep it aloft. Visit Pinterest for ideas.
- Wiffle ball. An alternative to baseball; strike up some fun while honing eye-hand coordination.
- Four square. Brush up on the rules, and get the family or neighborhood kids together for some fun.
- Badminton. You can set up indoors or out, and let the shuttle fly.
- Hula-hooping. Play some tunes, and see whose hoop can stay moving the longest.
- Tag. You’re it! Your favorite toddler will enjoy this game, especially if he or she has just learned to run.
- Marbles, jacks and pick-up sticks. Boost kids’ dexterity and counting skills.
Here for you in good times and bad
For all of your pediatric and adolescent needs, trust the experts at Children’s Hospital of Georgia. For the latest and greatest in kid’s health and parenting tips, visit blog.gachildrens.org.