The family that plays together, stays together! Playing with your family has so many benefits, but the best of all is the great exercise you get when you play. A lot of families take physical exercise into consideration, but they may go to gyms to work out while their kids get their exercise at school or from running around at home. Why not combine the two? Get physical with your kids and kill two birds with one stone. Here are some great exercises you can do with your family this summer. The bonus is that all of these are crazy fun, so you won’t even feel like you’re exercising!
1. Bounce Together
Trampolines are phenomenal exercise. The springs on trampolines absorb shock making them a perfect exercise choice for children and adults alike. At first, just bouncing together will be great exercise; there are a myriad of delightful, active games you can play once you get your trampoline legs. You can try dodgeball with a soft foam ball, or “Popcorn” where one person sits cross-legged in the middle with his hands on his feet while the others bounce him trying to get him to release his grip on his feet. Throw some foam balls into the trampoline and try to avoid the “poison balls” or just try bouncing them as high as you can.
2. Swim Together
Swimming has long been touted as one of the best exercises around. It’s a full body exercise that’s also easy on joints. The best part is that adults and children all love swimming, so it doesn’t even feel like exercise. To spice it up and make it more fun, race from one edge of the pool to the other or have noodle jousting sessions. You can pretend you’re a shark chasing its prey or have fun tossing objects into the deep end and taking turns diving to retrieve them. If you or your kids don’t know how to swim just yet, swim lessons in NYC or your particular area can catch your family up to speed.
3. Geocache Together
If your family likes to hike, but you want to add a fun twist, check out geocaching. It’s essentially a hike that married a treasure hunt. Players hide “caches” filled with logbooks and sometimes little prizes or tokens. Then, the “cache” is added to the geocaching website with the corresponding GPS location to find it. Your task is to seek out the hidden cache using your GPS or phone. Once you find it, you can fill out the logbook and exchange trinkets. The site lists caches all over the place, all with varying levels of difficulty. The most difficult are not only hard to find, but also quite a ton of exercise to traverse.
4. Team up Together
There are so many great physical activities your family can do as a team. You can sign up for a fun run together (such as the color run or an inflatable obstacle course,) or set up a relay race in your backyard. You could also get the whole extended family together and host a family Olympics-style challenge with relays, sprints, sports and other fun games. For a more laid back challenge, set up an obstacle course. You can tape crepe paper to walls to make a “laser maze,” have stations where players need to complete 10 jumping jacks, turn chairs upside down and crawl underneath them and race to the finish line for a great heart rate boost.
Playing with your family this summer will be one of the best memory makers you can provide for your children. You get to reap all of the health benefits together, make fun memories and bond together through play. Plus, you’ll be the most fun parent on the block!