5 Fun Ways to Get Your Kids to Play Outside

When the temperature drops, your kids might want to spend all their time warm and in front of the TV or computer. But doing so will only make it harder for them to rack up their 60 minutes of physical activity a day (what the CDC recommends to keep kids healthy). Why does that matter? Because when children spend an hour running around, they burn energy, boost their immune system and prevent a host of health problems—including heart disease and sleep apnea—that comes with inactivity. And now, more than ever, kids need their parents’ help: less than half of six to 11 year olds and only eight percent of 12 to 15 year olds in the U.S. meet the daily recommendation. If an entire hour seems like a long time, try breaking it up into smaller chunks with these ideas:

Start an insect collection (15 min) In order to collect several varieties of insects, kids will need a couple of weeks (or more!) to track down an assortment of different bugs. And a bonus is that they’ll explore new places and have to chase after those fleet-footed and winged insects.

Snowball fight (20 min) Running around and dodging snowballs is a fun way to build cardiovascular health (and keep from getting creamed). Throwing the snowballs will enhance visual motor skills and building a snow fort for extra protection will increase strength.

Shovel a new path (30 min) If your kids want a bigger challenge than shoveling the walkway, let them plow a new route to the front door or create a snow maze in the front yard. They’ll strengthen their upper body and core while increasing bone density.

Sledding (45 min) For every thrilling downhill ride, little ones have to hoof it back up to the top to go for another spin. Without realizing it, they’re building cardiovascular fitness, endurance and strength as they lug their sled uphill.

Snowshoeing or hiking (60 min) Pick a trail or route you haven’t explored yet, or stray off the path for a real adventure. A nature walk is beneficial to kids with attention deficit disorder, and can lessen the effects of stress, high blood pressure and cholesterol. Even better: it’s a mood booster!


This blog post is part of #MIKidsCan, an initiative created by Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan to promote positive change in the health and well-being of Michigan youth. To learn more about the campaign, visit http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/mikidscan




Photo credit: dcsplicer

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