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Oh, summertime. The kids are out of school, and you’re already running out of ideas to keep them active. Playing video games and eating frozen treats are at the top of their to-do lists. But you know it’s important that they stay active during the summer months, so you’re asking the question: How do I motivate my kids to go outside to play? 

We wanted to get some ideas from experts, employees who have exemplary family fitness routines. So we spoke with Kimberly and Corrie to find out how they do it and to give you tips on ways to keep your family fit this summer.

Tip #1: Suggest a game of HORSE or a water fight.

Kimberly, a wife and mother of three, encourages her family to host unique competitions in the backyard. Whether it’s a game of HORSE or a no-mercy neighborhood water fight in the backyard, kids get excited about exercising when it seems more like a game.

“It’s always some sort of competition,” Kimberly says. “It just starts with one person throwing a water balloon or running farther than the other, and then everyone’s in.”

Tip #2: Join in on the fun!

After a long day of work and cooking dinner, 21st century technology is tempting you more than a game of tag in the backyard. But the truth is kids get more excited about something if you are, too.

Kimberly and her family playing HORSE.

Kimberly and her family playing HORSE.

Corrie, also a wife and mother of three, says her family goes on a four-mile walk/run/bike loop around the neighborhood every day. They keep it interesting by changing the direction or exploring a new area every once in awhile. This summer, they have a goal to complete all the days hikes at Falls Lake while the weather is nice.

Tip #3: Be the inspiration!

Kimberly also emphasizes the importance of making exercise part of your family’s lifestyle. She leads by example by challenging her kids to walk/run more laps than Mommy on the track or do the fitness class that all the grown ups are doing.

“I’m not trying to talk about staying active,” Kimberly says. “I’m trying to be about staying active.”

Corrie's kids hiking.

Corrie’s kids hiking.

Tip #4: Set an exercise goal.

Both Kimberly and Corrie motivate their kids by setting an exercise goal.

For Kimberly, it’s 30 minutes of physical activity a day. She encourages the kids to go outside for awhile, and they make it a competition about who can stay outside and play the longest.

For Corrie, it’s a full calendar of red boxes to signify the family did their walk or other exercise that day.

“One person gets to go up to the calendar and put a red X in that day for every day we do our family walk,” Corrie says. “We take turns putting the X on it, so we make sure to include everyone.”

Find something that works for your family, and stick to it! Accountability is the key to getting started and a step toward making exercise routine.

Corrie with her family.

Corrie with her family.

Tip #5: Reward them with a trip to SkyZone or a zip line park.

Playing in the backyard or the neighborhood may be convenient and money-savvy, but kids like new adventures too. Every few weeks, take them somewhere new to stay active. Think parks: trampoline parks, zipline parks, waterparks, etc.

The promise of a new adventure gets the kids excited while showing that exercise pays off.

More things to keep your family active:

Kids like a new adventure. They like when older people play with them. And they like competition. Here are a few more things to try:

[Top image: Shutterstock]

Alyssa Coughenour

About Alyssa Coughenour

Alyssa Coughenour is a rising senior at Duke University studying Public Policy and Journalism & Media Studies. Originally from Scottsdale, AZ, this is Alyssa’s first summer in North Carolina. In her spare time, Alyssa enjoys hiking and fitness.

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