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Fun Exercises to Help Children Develop a Fitness Habit  


HealthThere are many things we can do at home to help cultivate and improve our children's health. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that we...

  • Limit the amount of sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Make sure that children eat five fruits and vegetables a day.
  • Prepare food at home rather than eating "fast food."
  • Limit television, computer and other "screen time" to no more than two hours a day.
  • Create an opportunity for an hour of exercise each day.

Here are some fun and easy exercises for children that can be incorporated into your family time together:

Home Olympics: Let the Games Begin!

  • Paper-wad Basketball. Use small trash cans and wads of paper to create this indoor basketball game.
  • H-O-R-S-E Basketball. The Olympic site for this "mimic-me as I shoot for the hoop" game is the basketball hoop in your yard.
  • Three-legged Race. Enlist old stockings or colorful ribbons to tie two contestants' legs together for this hopping-fun race.
  • Relay Race. For a relay baton, try a tennis ball...or even a shoe.
  • Olympic Awards. For added merriment, present awards at the close of your Home Olympic Games.

Active Board Games

Active board games are among the many ways for children to exercise even on rainy days. Break out your old Twister game. Or, play "Yoga 4 Kids in the Rainforest," which teaches different yoga positions and how each position benefits the body (

Exercising Togetherness

Set a good example. Take your children for a walk or nature hike. Play catch with them in your back yard. Go for a bike ride or kick a soccer ball around a field together. Fly kites. The possibilities are endless. Best of all, this isn't just about exercise for children—it's about exercise for you, too.

Dance Party

Crank up your kids' favorite tunes and let them shake their booty. Dancing is great exercise, and a great way for children to burn off extra energy.

Indoor Playground

Turn your home into a playground to let children exercise even on the rainiest of days. Kids can play jump rope (if you have high ceilings), hula hoop games and hop scotch, using bean bags to mark a hop scotch board.

For more ideas...

The American Heart Association and the National Football League have teamed on a website, The Play 60 Challenge (, which gives ideas for helping kids to be active. Activities are listed by age: Pre-K, K to Grade 2, Grades 3-5 and Grades 6-8. Since most of the fact sheets—such as exercises format, you'll need Adobe Reader, which can be downloaded free (


American Academy of Pediatrics

American Heart Association

Articles are provided for the general interest of our readers. Gerber Life Insurance is not responsible for any content and recommends that you consult the appropriate professional with any questions or concerns you may have concerning any financial or health related issues.

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