Fun Ways to Keep Your Kids Active

Does your child sit around the house all day, attached to his electronics? Mighty Mommy and Get-Fit Guy have expert tips on getting your kids up and moving (without letting them know that they’re exercising).

Cheryl Butler
5-minute read
Episode #191

Tip #2: Get Pedometers for Everyone in the House

When pedometers became all the rage a few years ago, I simply had to have one! I was amazed to see that getting in the recommended 10,000 steps per day was always much easier when I was wearing the pedometer regularly because I had a good sense of how much I was actually moving. My kids noticed I was wearing one and they would ask me throughout the day to share with them how many steps I had taken. I finally decided that they should be keeping track of their own steps, not mine, so I got each of them a pedometer and boy, were they ever thrilled. They even got competitive with one another towards the end of the day to see who was going to reach 10,000 steps first. This was a great way to keep them in tune to how active they were and the healthy competition encouraged more activity.

Tip #3: Dance While Tidying Your Home

One of my favorite ways to re-energize is to listen to music that has a great beat. With our large family and busy lives, we have a “Trash and Tidy” in our house twice a week where we quickly go through the entire house and pick items up that don’t belong and get them to their proper places. This lasts for about 25 minutes and to make it more entertaining we do it to music—fast-paced music that gets our blood flowing. The music takes our minds off the actual work, but more importantly, it really helps all of us burn calories. And even more importantly, we have a lot of laughs in the process.

Tip #4: Yard Tournaments

One of my favorite childhood memories is of spending hours in our family backyard playing kick ball, whiffle ball, and freeze tag. My siblings and I played outdoors for hours only stopping for a quick snack or bathroom break. I’ve taken that experience to heart and nowadays, my family has yard tournaments with great games like badminton, volleyball, Frisbee, and even hula hooping. I buy silly prizes from the dollar store and award the winners. Times spent in your own backyard with family can truly be the most memorable, and there is no end to the activities the whole family can participate in, especially when these games are enjoyed on a regular basis. We hold our yard tournaments throughout the entire year, winter included. If you don’t have a backyard, don’t worry, you can do the same in your local park or playground. My hope is that someday my children will pass this active tradition down to their own families!

Tip #5: Play “Follow the Leader”

Kids love to play games, especially when they’re in charge of something or good at winning them! It’s so important for younger kids to learn that body movement is not only healthy but lots of fun as well.  When my kids were about 3, we started playing the popular game, “Follow the Leader.” The goal was to tire them out with a fun adventure around the house or yard. One of my older children or I would be the leader and then we’d parade up and down the stairs, all over the yard, and throughout the hallway, bedrooms, and even the garage. The simple object was to do some fun and silly movements along the way, because the other children in line had to copy their leader. This game can be adapted to a variety of activities such as swimming, obstacle courses, and even playing on the swing set.   Remember, all the leader needs to do is to keep moving so that the children will follow suit and imitate all the movements. 

Thanks again to Get-Fit Guy, Ben Greenfield, for his wonderful insight on the importance of keeping our families active and healthy.

Check back next week for more Mighty Mommy tips. If you have a question or a suggestion for a future Mighty Mommy episode, please e-mail me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com.   

Check out the Mighty Mommy Facebook page where I share lots of quick parenting tips all week long.   You can also follow me on Twitter @MightyMommy or join Mighty Mommy on Pinterest.com where you can visit all of my family-friendly boards.

Enjoy being active with your family and as always—Happy Parenting!

Pedometer and Handstand images from Shutterstock


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.