Mercy Children's Hospital
Kohls Kids in Action
Children and teens need at least 60 minutes of physicial activity most days to stay healthy and avoid obesity. You can get creative when it comes to replacing screen time with play time, without spending alot of money.
** Disclaimer: As parents we use our own judgment in choosing which activities are safe for our kids. While Kohl’s Kids in Action and Mercy Children’s Hospital make every effort to provide activity ideas that are safe and fun for kids, it is your responsibility, as parents, to choose activities that are safe for your children.
Fall Activity Ideas
LAST MINUTE HALLOWEEN COSTUMES
- Get some cat and dog stuffed animals. Use double sided tape or string to attach to an umbrella. What are you? Its raining cats and dogs!
- Quarter (or preferably enlarged photocopy of one) taped to your back. What are you? A quarter-back!
- Wrap yourself in some (or all) aluminum foil. What are you? A baked potato!
- Affix one couch cushion to the front of you and one to the back. What are you? The lost TV remote!
- Paint a shoebox black and attach it to your back. What are you? A refrigerator magnet!
- Dress normally. Pin some socks, dryer sheets, hand towels to your shirt. What are you? Static cling!
- Wear a t-shirt with a big "?" on it. Tape popcorn to it. What are you? A pop quiz!
1. Traditional Games
- According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children and teens require aerobic exercises for better health. Outdoor games involving brisk walking, running, swimming, basketball, skating, jogging or any activity that increases heart rate and breathing improve health and provide family fun. Introduce younger family members to traditional outdoor games such as hide-and-seek, tag, 1-2-3 red light or Red Rover. Don't overlook standards like touch football or a modified game of softball, kickball or softball.
2. Scavenger Hunts
- Variations of old-fashioned scavenger hunts provide outdoor family fun. A rainbow hunt sends teams out to collect eggs (real or plastic) in rainbow colors. Team members might collect the entire spectrum of colors and earn matching face-painted stripes or place their eggs in matching egg cups or painted egg cartons. A bug hunt teaches courage as well as the names of insects and provides the joy of crafting homemade bug jars. Collectors create bug houses with colored markers, plastic bottles, boxes or other containers. They collect ants, worms, lady bugs, lightning bugs or crickets while learning what not to catch as well. Teams win recognition for the widest selection of bugs, the largest number and most colorful bug collection. Try photography scavenger hunts that involve taking pictures to add to the collection rather than actual objects.
3. Family-centered Games
- Brigham Young University has established a reputation for family-centered activities. Staff members there suggest outdoor games that build community spirit. Sponsor neighborhood volleyball games or family Olympics with made-up events and silly prizes. Go biking, especially with tricycles or tandem bikes making up part of your entourage through the neighborhood.
4. Obstacle Courses
- Any season provides opportunities for building outdoor obstacle courses. Require players to spend three minutes swinging from a rope swing, zip down a sliding board two times in a row, jump across Grandma’s backyard ditch, climb a small tree, swim a lap in the pool or play a round of hopscotch in the driveway before advancing further in the game. Party giver Lisa Kothari at Celebrations website suggests adding hay bales to an obstacle relay race or throwing a large hula hoop around a big pumpkin. Additional tasks might involve pumpkin jumping or crawling under dried stalks of corn stretched across cardboard boxes. Designing the obstacle course often proves more fun than running it or watching others attempt to master another hurdle.
5. Family Night
- It may seem impossible with so many conflicting obligations, but try to set aside one night that's always family night. It can be one night every week, every other week or, if it's really unavoidable, once a month. Play board games or action games like charades or go out for dinner together. Try to choose an activity that requires active engagement and participation. If the family watches a movie and everyone goes their separate ways immediately after, it's no different than an evening in front of the television. Add a discussion after the movie, trade thoughts and ideas and get everyone used to the idea of communicating with each other.
- If you find it difficult to negotiate a consistent day, or the only option is once a month, try a little modification. Keep that one day a month as the day when the entire family gets together. However, instead of wasting the other three weeks, turn them into date nights. On a date night, one parent and one child gets to do something fun without anyone else. This gives the kids a chance to get some individual attention, and both the parents and kids the opportunity to connect on a more personal level. Make a rotation chart so each child gets a chance with each parent.
6. Volunteer as a Family
- For a fun way to spend time together while contributing to the community, try volunteering as a family. Volunteering helps instill kids with a sense of compassion and the benefits of service. Charitable activities can be found to satisfy even the pickiest individuals. Make scarves or a large thermos of hot chocolate to distribute during the cold months, make bag lunches to give to the homeless or plan and sponsor a birthday party for a needy kid. Volunteering isn't just about people either. If your family loves animals, take a trip to the pound. Help play with the animals and clean up after them. Or cultivate environmental awareness and get outside by participating in a trash clean up or by creating a backyard compost pile or recycling. Little gestures go a long way, and their value extends far beyond the recipients of the service. For more volunteering ideas, contact United Way of Greater Toledo at 2-1-1.