In the midst of trying to occupy my kids’ time over the last few weeks (hello, summer), I made a mental list the other day of things Chris and I typically do with the kids as “fun family activities.” I’ve gotta be honest…I was a little taken aback to see that my list was MOSTLY food-related. Things like: Going out to dinner together as a family, buying way-too-expensive tickets to a movie and eating popcorn (with Diet Coke and Hot Tamales, please), or making my 2x a day Starbuck’s run (where of course, treats do exist). And let’s not forget the occasional run to the doughnut or ice cream shop like I mentioned in my last post!
While there is nothing WRONG with what we do, and it is true that any time spent together is good time, I guess I had a moment of, “Wow…Am I really helping my family achieve balance with this list?”
After a little heart-to-heart with myself, I realized I CANNOT discount the fact that we do spend a decent amount of time in our garage gym together lifting weights, and we practically live in our backyard that is made for outdoor activity. However, that’s not to say I couldn’t do better at balancing out the insane amount of screen time I’ve witnessed the past few weeks since school has been out!
This summer, I am committed to integrating more FITNESS-focused activities into our family time rotation by way of gamified activities. What does that mean? It simply means make the workout so much fun that the kids never think it’s more than a game. For example, give the exercise moves fun and silly names and pull out a deck of cards to dictate the reps of each move!
Our classic Deck of Cards Workout is one we’ve done for years and will continue to do for years to come. It’s fun, fast moving, easy, energetic, and keeps the kids involved the entire time. It also helps us busy mamas get in our own workout while we are entertaining the kids. #winwin
Here’s an example of how you can play:
- Assign a particular exercise to each suit (you can choose ANY moves per suit, mine below are just examples of what we like). Today’s workout will include:
- Hearts = Bear Walks
- Spades = Froggy Squats
- Diamonds = Dive Bombers
- Clubs = Star Jacks
- Aces and Jokers (any suit) = 10 Supermans
- Beginning with the youngest, draw a card from the deck and the entire family will perform the coordinating move and reps based on the card drawn. For example, if your child chooses a 9 of diamonds, the whole family will do 9 dive bombers.
- Play through the entire deck…or until your kiddos are spent (which will prob be after about 10 cards, let’s be real).
** Royal cards are 10 reps.
Now for the moves…
Bend your knees and crawl like a bear! Do this by simply moving your left paw and right foot forward at the same time and then switch sides. My kids love this, and it’s great for their shoulder and posterior chain!
Squat down, fingertips on the ground between your legs for support. Leap up high in the air and tell your kids to try touching the clouds!
Start in downward dog yoga pose. In a single motion, bend your elbows while lowering your chest, then stomach, to the ground…then push them forward and up while arching your back—like Ariel sitting on her rock. Return to downward dog.
This one is fun, because who doesn’t want to be a star?! It’s like a jumping jack, only instead of hopping feet out to the side, jump straight up while spreading apart legs and arms in midair.
Help your little ones find their inner superhero with this one! Lie on your belly with your arms stretched out in front. Arch your back, lifting your chest, arms, and legs off of the ground as though you’re wearing a cape and flying. Hold briefly and return to starting position.
Hopefully you and your family can have as much fun as we do with all of these activities. Let me know which are your favorites below in the comments. Most of all, I hope you make wonderful memories with your kids this summer and cherish your time with them!
Helping Kids Get—and Stay—Active
Mommy & Me Tabata Workout
Back to School Workout Ideas: From Toddlers to Teens to You!
Shape Up for Summer: My Babywearing Workout
March Madness!!!! A Powell Pack Family Workout
Mommy/Daddy & Me Workout: Stroller Edition