Summer is here, the weather is beautiful and it’s the perfect time to play and be active as a family! As a partner of the Together Counts™ program for active, healthy living, we at the OASIS Institute understand the importance of physical activity as a cornerstone of healthy habits. Children get most of their physical activity through play and fun, active games. Why not join them to have fun while being active?
Adults are role models for children. If children see their family members having fun while being physically active, they are more excited to be active too! Here are some fun tips to help your family increase their activity.
- Play together and make it fun! Play games or participate in activities that the whole family can enjoy. Take turns choosing the activities.
- Start with small steps. Try a few shorter games or a short walk at first and then add a longer duration or more games later.
- Make it a routine. For example, play a family game every Sunday evening before dark or go for a bike ride as a family before dinner three times a week.
- Be inclusive. Include activities or games that everyone can participate in and choose active games. Instead of having a player “out” after being tagged, have them complete a physical activity, like five hops on each foot, before re-joining the activity.
One game that our CATCH Healthy Habits volunteers and children love is called “Dragon’s Tail.” Here are the instructions:
- Each player will need a scarf, bandana, or fabric strip.
- Mark off an activity area, approximately 50 feet x 50 feet with plastic cones or markers.
- Participants become a “dragon” by tucking their tail (scarf, bandana, or fabric) into the back of their pants. Shirttails should also be tucked in.
- On a signal, dragons skip throughout the activity area, attempting to pull the tails of the other dragons. Players should keep their tails visible to other players.
- Players who pull a tail say “(Name) I got your tail!” and place the tail on the ground.
- Dragons who lose their tail should pick up their tail and do five jumping jacks outside the activity area before returning to the game.
- For safety, start at a slow or walking speed.
- For a variation, change the re-entry task for dragons that have lost their tails, such as jump rope, dribble a ball, push-ups, or sit-ups.
Melissa Bess is the national manager for the OASIS CATCH Healthy Habits program, the largest inter-generational program in the United States. With active locations across 11 cities, CATCH Healthy Habits pairs adult volunteers with children in after-school settings to learn about healthy eating and play active, inclusive games. CATCH Healthy Habits has been generously funded by Anthem Foundation since 2011, and has reached over 25,000 children and over 12,000 adults in the five-year history. Learn more at http://catchhealthyhabits.org.
For more ideas on how to get your family physically active this summer, check out these other articles from Together Counts!