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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.

Spring Activity Ideas

Spring is finally here!  After being cooped up all winter, it should be easy to help your child stay active. Here are a few springtime activity ideas to get you started.

Children and teens need at least 60 minutes of physical 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 a lot of money.
  • Play hopscotch.
  • Hit the beach.  Even if it’s not warm enough for a swimsuit, your kids will enjoy rolling up their pant legs and walking in the sand.
  • Make a sidewalk mural using colored chalk.
  • Visit a nature preserve like the Irwin Prairie (10005 W. Bancroft, Holland, Ohio) where you can stroll on the boardwalk through the marsh.
  • Plant a theme garden.  How about a purple garden, featuring eggplant, purple flowers, beans and even purple carrots?  Perhaps a pizza garden is more to your liking – plant the herbs, tomatoes, onions, peppers and other toppings that your family enjoys.  How about a butterfly or mini garden, with grape tomatoes and dwarf sunflowers?  The theme can be anything that your child dreams up.
  • Make a bird feeder (see ideas below).
  • Plan a picnic.  Even if it’s in your own back yard, the kids will enjoy the planning, preparing and packing the meal.
  • It’s time to sign up for summer sports.  Visit your local Parks and Recreation web site for more information.
  • Play in the mud.
Children thrive on personal attention and walking gives parents and kids time to talk about their day, vent frustrations, or just hold hands.   Go to the Zoo, a Metro Park, or even the Art Museum or Mall.    Make it a priority for your family to get on the move.  Just like healthy eating, good exercise habits are learned through the examples of parents and caregivers.

Bagel Bird Feeder

  • Thread a string through the hole in the bagel and knot at the top
  • Spread a stale bagel with peanut butter
  • Allow the child to sprinkle bird seed
  • Hang off a tree branch

2-Liter Feeder

  • Poke holes through a pop bottle
  • Put a stick (or better yet a wooden spoon, as seen here) through two holes to make a perch
  • Add a second set of holes lower in the bottle
  • Help your child fill with bird seed
  • Screw the cap on tightly
  • Tie a string around the bottleneck and hang from a tree or post
Let your child pick the place where the bird feeder will be hung.  It should be placed  outside a window  so your child can watch the birds visit their feeder.

Go Fly a Kite!

Step away from the video games for a favorite past time that dates back to 400 BC. There's a peaceful, exciting feeling that comes with unwinding your twine, running with the kite and finally seeing it fly.  Benjamin Franklin used his kite to discover electricity, flying a kite is still one of the most fun unplugged activities kids can enjoy today.

Have a Lemonade Stand

Photo © KF6OAK / Flickr

Spring is the perfect time to open a lemonade stand. Your kids don't have to sit in the blazing summer sun and neighbors seeking fresh air become loyal customers. Get the lemonade stand ready with lemonade signs you can print from home. Then help the kids make a batch of lemonade that's a delicious blend of sweet and sour.

Easy Lemonade Recipe:
3/4 cup sugar, or Stevia (sugar substitute)
1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
1 cup lemon juice
4 cups cold water (to dilute) 
  1. Make syrup by heating the sugar (or sugar substitute) and 1 cup of water in a sauce pan over medium heat while stirring.
  2. While the sugar is dissolving, juice 4 to 6 lemons to make 1 cup of juice.
  3. Add the juice and syrup to a pitcher.
  4. Add 4 cold water, and refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes.  If the lemonade is a little sweet for your taste, add more lemon juice to it.


Muddy the Mudhen plays hopscotch at the Kohl's Kids in Action booth at the American Heart Association Heart Walk

Hopscotch may be the oldest of these classic kid’s outdoor games, as tradition has it that Roman soldiers played it in ancient Britain. Medieval hopscotch courts could be a hundred feet long, but a lot of fun can be had with a course a tenth of that.


Photo © Liunian / Dreamstime

Who doesn't know how to play hide-and-seek?

Fun Ways to Play:

Flashlight Tag

Photo © David Hernandez / Dreamstime

What kid doesn't love a flashlight? And if it can be used in a lively game of Flashlight Tag, so much the better! It's like hide-and-seek but played at night, when the darkness lends an air of mystery.

This game is a kind of reverse tag in which all the players are trying to capture one "it"—the firefly, who holds the flashlight. Another version is to give the firefly a colored light (buy it this way, or make it with cellophane) and all other players white lights. If you live in a place with real fireflies, you can add this game to a firefly catching adventure. Just be sure to release the bugs once you've had a good look at them!
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