Inspiring Kids to be Active

inspiring-kids-to-be-activeExercise. Let’s face it, exercise sounds like a chore for adults and for kids. Same. Try changing the word; make it simple and say to your kids you’d like to see play for a couple of hours every day, be it with friends outside, or jogging with your dog, maybe throwing a Frisbee or even as simple as the backyard swing set or even better for some kids, a big old pile of toys like trucks! They’re moving!

Children of all ages are spending more time than ever glued to a screen: be it a TV, smartphone, tablet, gaming console, or computer. According to market research firm Childwise, children aged five to 16 spend an average of six and a half hours a day in front of a screen. Teenaged boys spend the longest, with an average of eight hours. Teenage girls now spend an average of seven-and-a-half- hours starring a screen, compared with three to four hours glued to TV in 1995.

So how do you get your kids off the screen and active? Give them options, let them choose. Hand them this article and let them choose a minimum of one of the following:

BOOGIE DOWN TO THE BEACH – If you love the beach, take advantage of it. Playing great beach games is fun! Try a contest for who can build the tallest sandcastle in 10 minutes, and remember you’ll have to really work for it – running in and out of the water to fill buckets! See if you can beat your parents!

MAKE IT A M– USEUM DAY – Whether you want to explore art, aquariums, science, or plants…we have it! Make it fun! I’m sure you can find an app (or better yet, a book) to help educate you along the way.

RUN AWAY WITH THE CIRCUS! – We’re not only blessed enough to have the circus in town, but we’re beyond blessed to have a circus program where you can learn how to become a performer! Seriously. Take advantage of it! Ask mom and dad to do it with you. You know you’ve always wanted to watch your parents on a trapeze.

PRETTY AWESOME PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS – Celery Fields is great for hiking, a few parks have adventure courses/paths for you to play on, some are near the water, we have a skate park, and you know we have great playgrounds!

FEEL GOOD ABOUT VOLUNTEERING – Whether you’re passing out water for a local 5K, or walking the Southeastern Guide Dogs, find an organization to help with. You’re savvy enough on the computer, find a group you’re interested in and volunteer

JUMP! – We have super fun jumping facilities here and if you haven’t been to one, ask your parents if you can check it out. Whether it’s Jumpin Fun or Sky Zone, have some friends meet you there and get your jump on!

ROLL AROUND! – Nothing like taking it old school and roller skating. Throw on some neon, grab some skates, and go to Stardust. You know you want to!

Now, I want to see it! Whatever your family chooses to do, send me an email or a picture with your family having fun and I may write about your experience! I can be reached at heather@ and look forward to seeing them.

Heather Hackett is the former Event Director for the Sarasota Music Half Marathon and the founder of Be Me Books, Inc., author and publisher. Her books serve as a platform to educate, reassure and facilitate conversation with children on their own individuality and self-confidence.