This week is all about increasing physical activity. To get started – sit down with your kids today and identify ten moving activities that they can choose from that the entire family will do while waiting for dinner to be done.
1. Go outside and play.
If you are lucky enough to have a window in the kitchen and can watch the kids play outside while dinner is cooking..let them play! Let them run around and use up some energy before feeding their stomachs full of fuel for the next play time.
2. Use the kitchen timer.
Challenge your kids to do as many jumping jacks, sit-ups, or squats in a 2 minute timeframe. Use the kitchen timer to make sure everyone is on track. The winner of the challenge might even get to choose their favorite healthy dinner to make for the next evening!
3. Put them to work.
You know how kids are always offering to help, but sometimes it is easier and faster when you do it yourself? Well, put those kids to work! Give the kids a few chores to do while you cook with sweeping, putting their clothes away or vacuuming – you are helping the family by preparing food, and they can help by cleaning up a bit.
4. Play follow the leader.
It's an easy game to play, the kids won't need your help, and they'll have tons of fun. Plus if you finish dinner early then you can take your turn being the leader and take them on an activity filled tour around the house.
5. Let the kids help!
Instead of sending the kids away, get them involved in making dinner. They can stir, pour ingredients, or even cut some vegetables or herbs. I know not every meal is a good one for kids to help with. But, when you can, involve them. Help them develop a taste for heart healthy meals for the whole family.
6. Try wearing your baby or toddler.
Obviously not a good idea for older kids, but if it is appropriate it can be very helpful and provide a bit of weight training for yourself. Using a carrier, you “wear” your child while you are making dinner. Great for kids who are not yet able to “help” make dinner.
7. Burn Off Energy in the Yard
If your kids are old enough to play on their own, let them burn off a little energy before dinner time. They can shoot hoops in the driveway or play a game of catch in the yard. Lawn games like horseshoes and badminton are fun for all ages.
8. Take a Stroll
If dinner tonight is a slow-cooker meal, then take advantage of the last cooking hour and take a walk around the neighborhood or in a nearby park or field. Make it a game by seeing how many birds, squirrels, fireflies and other creatures you can find.
9. Variety is important.
To help prevent boredom and monotony of doing the same activity before dinner, let the kids choose an activity. Kid-led play allows kids to explore their environment and be creative and use their imaginations. Plus it’s nice to not make all the family decisions!
10. Pets are family members too!
Your family pets benefit from physical activity too! Take the dog for a walk around the block or play bird games with your cat. It involves waving a feather wand toy in the air that will require the cat to capture the flying object with her paws. Be careful not to let your cat run into any furniture.
Content provided by the American Heart Association.