Being active is great for the whole family. Step away from the screens and get moving together for better physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
Many parents worry about balancing family time with work commitments, or that their children are missing out because they may not be able to afford after-school sports or programs. But the good news is that healthy movement can come in many forms, and at little or no cost.
Activities for the whole family
In the backyard or at the park
Teach your kids the games you played when you were their age, or simply head outside and play. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Games with throwing, catching, and kicking
- Schoolyard games like hopscotch, skipping, jump rope, outdoor chalk drawing, hula hooping, hide and seek
- Animal races (race as a hopping rabbit, a waddling duck, etc)
- Kite flying
- Bubble blowing and chasing
- Make an obstacle course
- Play tag – use a sock in the back pocket to make it fun – or try tickle tag
- Water balloon games and nerf gun wars
- Active games like What’s the Time Mr Wolf, Simon Says, Twister, and Giant Jenga
- Gardening – plant a small herb garden and learn about growing food together
- Check out your garage for long-lost sporting equipment and let your kids rediscover them.
In the house
Raining outside? Try these fun activities:
- Make up a dance with your kids
- Build a pillow fort
- Play with balloons – tap or throw them to keep them off the ground
- Use electronic devices to be active, like movement-based video games and apps
- Create an indoor scavenger or treasure hunt with clues hidden around the house (also fun outside!)
- Take out masks, costumes and dress-ups for some imaginary fun
- Have a dance party or play freeze dance (put on fun music and when it’s paused, everyone freezes)
Rain doesn’t have to stop the fun! Lots of kids love puddles and water. Get out the gum boots, umbrellas and raincoats, and have some fun in the rain.
Around the neighbourhood
Walking to and from school together – even just once a week – can make a difference and gives time for kids to update their parents on their thoughts and feelings. Other neighbourhood activities include:
- Bike and scooter riding
- Evening walks in the neighbourhood just before or after dinner
- Free playgroups for parents with young children
- Visit a new park or playground, including skate parks, BMX tracks, and water play parks
- Get to know your neighbours and their children; this can provide lots of opportunities for play and activity
- Walk to the park, corner store, or other nearby places you might typically drive to. If you have a family dog, remember to take them with you!
If you have family members that spend time with your kids, encourage them to do active things together – go for a walk in the park with grandpa, ride or scoot with an aunty, or kick a ball with uncle.
With clubs and groups
Like the idea of getting active and being a part of a community? Why not try:
- Organised sports like soccer, netball, or cricket
- Group classes like dance, yoga and Pilates
- Fitness and activity centres like the YMCA and PCYC
- Park Runs and fun runs
- Swimming clubs at your local pool or aquatic centre
- Scouts, Girl Guides, or other adventure and skill-based clubs
- Speech or drama classes
- Community theatre
In your local region
Head out of town and explore what’s available in your local region:
- Parks and reserves, recreation areas, dams, and reservoirs
- Bush walk or hike to a special lookout
- Geocaching – it’s a modern way to treasure hunt! Geocaching is a worldwide app-based activity that uses your phone’s GPS to try and find hidden items
- The beach – take the boogie board, beach ball, or sand play toys.
When you’re planning a family getaway, think about opportunities for fun family activities:
- Camping and beach holidays
- Outdoor recreational activities, adventure parks, high ropes courses, and paintball (for older kids).
Consider gifts that involve activity or being out in nature:
- Soccer balls, scooters or bikes
- Play huts, tunnels or tents
- Roller blades (these can often be bought second hand)
- Magnifying glass, binoculars, compass, head lamp
- Camping and fishing gear
- Nature journal
There are countless ways to get moving together – try brainstorming your own ideas as a family!
Did you know?
Playing with parents helps children learn to regulate their emotions and can reduce their levels of stress. Research indicates that children with more stressful environments tend to eat more. So, play can be a fun way of slowing the day down, reconnecting, and lowering the whole family’s stress levels.