5 ideas to keep your kids active

The long summer days have finally arrived and parents, like myself, often wonder how to keep their kids active and not spending so much time on the couch or on their electronics.

While I don’t think they need to have planned activities all the time (I’m not here to entertain them!) I do think it’s important they stay healthy and active. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. That can be all at once or broken up into smaller segments. Regular physical activity is important for their health. It keeps their muscles strong, promotes good heart and lung health, and aids in preventing and treating obesity.

Staying active is simply part of being a good steward of the body God has given you – and your kids. Here are a few ideas to help you encourage your kids to be active and take care of themselves.

How to keep your kids active in the summer

  • Limit screen time – During the summer my own kids find it too easy to spend a large chunk of their day in front of a screen – TV, computer, phone, etc. We all do it. You wouldn’t be reading this now if you and I didn’t spend some time at our computers. But it’s important not to spend all day there. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 2 hours screen time per day. For our family we have frequent times throughout the day when I declare it a computer or television free time. During those hours the kids have to find something else to do – preferably something that requires a good deal of movement.
  • Provide appropriate tools – It’s hard to shoot baskets without a basketball or ride a bike without a bike. Try to provide play equipment that encourages physical activity: basketballs, baseball and glove, jump rope, Frisbees, bikes, badminton or tennis rackets . . . and the list goes on.
  • Challenge them to a contest – At the request of my kids we’ve done a Physical Activity Challenge for the past two summers. Each member of the family keeps track of their exercise and activity on a document we designed. It encourages them to get out and stay active. Our kids are excited to see how much exercise everyone does, and they especially want to do more than mom and dad. I was glad to see them doing more than playing with electronics or other sedentary activities. It’s educational too as they get to see and understand what it means to have an active lifestyle. So I thought I’d share our Summer Activity Challenge 2013 sheet with you. Feel free to download it here and customize it for your family.
  • Set an example – If you want your kids to be active, you need to be active yourself. Show them what it means to take care of yourself by finding an exercise or activity you enjoy and do it. And be sure to set your own limits on screen time. Stay active.
  • Be active together as a family – Go for a long bike ride or walk after supper. Plan a hike for the weekend or go swimming together. In our area letterboxing is a favorite, and it gets people outside and moving around. This is time well spent, building strong family relationships along with strong, healthy bodies.

There are many things you can do to help your kids stay active and fit through the summer. What’s your favorite? How do you keep your kids active? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!

Thank you for sharing!


  1. I absolutely love that we live in a very small subdivision with a TON of kids. Most of the kids love to be outside and we all allow them to have the run of the area. My youngest is rarely inside at all during the day. I am thankful that he can experience a childhood similar to what hubby and I had!

    Thanks for sharing on A Humble Bumbles Healthy Tuesdays Blog Hop- I hope you will join us again next week!
    Kerry from Country Living On A Hill

    1. Your neighborhood sounds wonderful and healthy for the kids and you! I think it’s great they can be outside all day. I have fond memories of a childhood like that too. Thanks for stopping and I’ll be sure to link up again next week. 🙂

  2. Challenge the to a contest – great idea! Being together, working together, makes it so much easier for everyone to get up and active. Thanks for the encouragement, and the challenge!
    stopping by via Titus 2sday.

    1. You’re right. I know my kids are more likely to go outside and be active if I’m with them – shooting baskets, playing Frisbee, or whatever. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. My kids have a very active summer. My elementary age kids spend the days at a summer camp that is held at the city pool. They spend their days running around playing and swimming. They spend their evenings playing baseball. My older son plays football for the high school team. They spend the summer conditioning and practicing. They are all set for summer. Now…….my husband and I just need to find some time to get some exercise. Thanks for sharing these ideas. I love the family time exercise. That’s where I need to put my focus.

    1. Sounds like you’re kids are doing great with their activity. My husband and I often go for walks in the evening. The kids sometimes come with or will play basketball while we’re out. But it’s fun when the whole family does it together. Thanks for visiting!

  4. This is such a great idea for older kids! My son is 15 months and we have some things that we do together to exercise and spend time together as a family. My hubby is a fitness coach so he devised some exercises we can do at the park. Besides running in the splash I think it is a great idea. I linked up the post I did on it so you can take a look 🙂

  5. Loved these ideas, especially setting an example for your kids. So true! I just added these ideas to my list of over 2000 for the summer. Thank you for a great post!

  6. Pingback: Non-Electronic Week…a challenge to unplug our kids – Pt. 2 | The Journey
    1. Hope you find something that works for your family. It’s certainly a constant struggle – especially when it’s hot outside. Thanks for stopping by and I did link up again today!

  7. This is a great list! I used to love to take after dinner walks with my kids when they were younger. Sometimes several neighborhood families would join us as well. It was fun!

    We used to limit their screen time, too, to a half hour every other day when they were pretty young. We then stretched it to an hour (so they could watch “Little House”) and eventually we did not limit their t.v. (as they got older and into their teens) and yet they limited it themselves, which is what we wanted them to learn to do.

    However, there was a time when the t.v. and all electronics would go off at 4 p.m. when they were younger. That made it a little tricky for dad to watch the news but it enabled us all to spend more time together playing games, etc. We didn’t continue the 4 p.m. ban forever, but we did it for awhile.

    Now my boys run five miles and there’s no way that I can keep up with that, lol! They are now 20 and 24 and still play basketball, ultimate frisbee and run. I am past wondering what to do with them over the summer as they are young adults and both have jobs, but I still remember those long summer days! Thanks for linking up to “Making Your Home Sing Monday!”

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