The benefits of children running around and playing outdoor games are numerous – it helps them grow strong bones, keeps their weight in check from an early age and also does its bit in providing them with a healthy outlet for all the excessive energy stores they seem to perpetually have, by mingling with other kids of their age.
On the other hand, adults need their regular dose of exercise in order to prevent putting on the excessive pounds as they age, to decrease their risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, to improve muscle strength and perhaps blow off some steam after a hectic day at work.
Adults call it ‘working out’. Kids call the same thing ‘playing’. Put both of them together and you can have a gala family time. Here’s how.
Play catch with your kids. Yes, your kids will run faster than you. Yes, it will be difficult to catch them. But that’s precisely the point of this game! The faster they run away from you, the more energy you’ll have to muster in order to get hold of them, and in turn the louder they’ll squeal with delight when they keep prancing just out of your reach!
Go cycling together. Plan a family outing to a place nearby which is within cycling distance from home. Arm your bicycles with picnic baskets (you’ll have to do this instead of your kids since they are bound to be heavy!) and pedal away to glory on a sunny day, singing all the while at the top of your lungs (make sure you leave behind your headphones at home). It’s an invigorating feeling, especially if you set out relatively early in the morning.
Cheer your kids on. This is for rainy days. My kids love to play pet games like these while I do my daily half an hour on the treadmill. This serves two purposes – they know that their screen time is limited to the time I spend on the treadmill and they make the most of it while I egg them on, all the while panting and sweating profusely!
Weekends mean a new sport. Make this a part of your routine – weekends could mean teaching the kids a sport you loved as a kid – be it soccer, cricket, baseball or any other game.
Blanket run. This one is for your garden or backyard, and is especially fun if it involves a number of grown-ups with their kids. Get hold of some blankets (make sure they aren’t new since they are bound to get a bit dirty outdoors), place them on the lawn and plonk your little tyke down to sit on one end of it. The adults then have to race to the finish line pulling along the blankets in tow and the kid must not fall off!
And since each of these activities will ensure you get an adequate amount of quality family time, it’ll be a win-win situation all along!