Photograph by William Geddes
Hop to It!
Stretch the life of an old yoga mat by turning it into an indoor version of a classic sidewalk game. With a ruler and pen, lightly outline a hopscotch board on the mat, then cover the lines with duct tape strips (we used duct tape rolls and sheets purchased from a craft store). Use more tape to add designs to each square. To make an indoor tossing "stone," fill a child's sock halfway with rice and knot the end.
Bonus: Find the traditional hopscotch diagram and play instructions at parents.com/hopscotch.
Originally published in the December/January 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.
Photograph by Sabrina Helas
Get active with balancing exercises that provide multiple health and fitness benefits for kids.
Originally published in the April 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.
Bring the fun of snowy weather indoors with a zany (and energetic!) game fit for the whole family. Clear a large open area for play and lay down a length of string or rope to create a center line. Gather small sponge or Ping-Pong balls and distribute them evenly between two teams, which take positions on either side of the line. Set a timer for two minutes (a phone timer with an alarm works well). At "Go," players start tossing balls into the opposing team's side, gathering and returning any balls tossed into their own. When the timer sounds, play stops, and balls are counted. The team with the fewest balls wins.
Originally published in the December/January 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.
Photograph by Ty Milford
Jumping Jack Class
If lousy weather is producing a bumper crop of couch potatoes around your house, try injecting some movement into your family's day with a classic exercise: jumping jacks. "They're a great cardiovascular exercise that helps you use a lot of your muscle mass, consume a lot of oxygen, and burn calories," explains Neal Pire, Director of Sports Performance at Volt Fitness in Glen Rock, New Jersey. Even better, a good cardio workout can "help control blood sugar and mood, and balance your energy," says Pire. To see for yourself, try these with your kids.
Originally published in the November 2013 issue of FamilyFun magazine.
Photograph by Joe Polillio
Jump to It
With PVC pipe, pipe fittings, and colorful tape, you can build a set of hurdles just the right size for your family. Jumping over and crawling through the hurdles will help your kids improve their agility, and they can use them as goals for backyard ball games.
Originally published the September 2013 issue of FamilyFun magazine.
Photograph by David Roth
Counting on Exercise
Get your kids' fitness plan on a roll with a set of homemade movement dice. To make a pair, use duct tape to seal the edges and cover the sides of two small, cube-shaped boxes (we recycled tissue boxes). With a permanent marker, write numbers on one die (numerals no higher than ten are best), and various movements ("Hop on one foot" or "Spin around," say) on the other. Players take turns rolling the dice, then performing the movement for the number of times shown.
Originally published the May 2013 issue of FamilyFun magazine.
Idea by Katie Farwel, Photograph by David Roth
Memory on the Move
This fast-paced fitness game, based on a simple sprinting drill, gets kids exercising bodies and minds.
Originally published the March 2013 issue of FamilyFun magazine.
Time for Fun
Need a fun trick to get your kid's heart pumping fast? All it takes is a stopwatch to transform simple activities like running, skipping, and balancing into fitness challenges that will have everyone racing to do their best. Below, we share a few of our favorite timed games.
Originally published the October 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine.
Be a Summer Olympian!
Challenge your family to sprint, walk, or swim in the spirit of the Games by completing an Olympic distance endurance event, but over the course of the summer. You might try a triathlon (swim, bike, and run a total of 32 miles), 1,500-meter swim (30 laps in a 25-yard pool), men's 50K speed walk (31 miles), or women's cycling road race (87 miles). Use a handy log to keep track of your activities. When you're done, treat yourselves to a special prize.
Originally published the June/July 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine.
Idea by Katie Farrell, Photograph by Andrew Greto
Chase a Rainbow
This fast-paced game gives traditional tag a colorful twist. You'll need several sets of rubber bracelets or bands, one color for each player (so for six players, you'll need six red, six blue, and so on). One player is chosen to be "It." At "Go," players start trading their bands, trying to collect one band of each color. It, meanwhile, tries to tag a trader. When she does, the trader must trade a bracelet with her and becomes the new It. The first player to collect a bracelet in each color wins.
Originally published the May 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine.