How can we be active as a family?

Selecting the right activities for your child

In addition to active family fun, it's important for children to also try other forms of activity. Children don't need expensive lessons and equipment to participate in regular physical activity. Moving is what kids do naturally when given the opportunity to spend time outdoors.

Help children with active play by having a selection of games, toys, and low-cost equipment on hand to engage them, including:

  • Balls
  • Frisbees®
  • Jump rop
  • Hula hoop
  • Sidewalk chalk.

Community activities are another great way for children to learn different recreation skills. Contact the local community recreation center to find free or low-cost classes that help youth learn basic skills while having fun.

Many school-age children also enjoy organized activities. For example, playing on a sports team can teach children about sportsmanship and teamwork while building self esteem. For younger school-age children (5-8 years), noncompetitive sports leagues where children can learn basic skills and have fun in a supportive environment are best. For older school-age children (9-12 years) competitive team sports are appropriate, but should still emphasize fun and learning.

Helping a child choose the right type of activity is as important as doing the activity. Take into account the child's interest, physical and mental abilities, body type and temperament when selecting an activity. Help guide their choice by offering appropriate options, but the decision should be largely left to the child.

Whether playing with friends or participating in organized physical activities, supporting children  being active for 60 minutes a day will help them to maintain a healthy weight as they grow, build skills and confidence, and develop a lifelong healthy habit of moving.