Substituting time spent in front of the computer or TV with physical activity, including organized sports and games, is one of the most effective ways to help kids lose weight, according to FamilyDoctor.org. The warm summer combined with school vacation offer ample opportunity for playing games for children of all fitness levels.
High-intensity games require a moderate to high level of exertion, with few breaks. Examples of such games include tag, man-on-man soccer or basketball, jumping races while wearing pillow cases or crab-crawl races or even sprints between opposite ends of the driveway or yard. High-intensity games are best for kids who already have some level of fitness or stamina and simply need more exercise.
Stop and Start
Games that integrate periods of rest with periods of exertion can make playing outside seem more enjoyable and less like exercise, particularly for children whose lifestyle is otherwise sedentary. Team sports such as softball and capture the flag encourage movement and exertion -- provided you're playing with a limited number of kids, otherwise your child could spend a lot of time waiting for her turn at bat. Three-person relay races, freeze tag and red rover also provide a mix of intensity and rest.
Light, but Consistent
Not every child is able or willing to run or leap for an hour or more everyday, and that's OK. According to Kids Health Club, anything that encourages continuous movement is beneficial, even if the movement comes in the form of walking. If you have a sizable yard or expansive, secure neighborhood, create a scavenger hunt that's fitness friendly by spacing the clues 1/8th mile apart or more. For younger children, take a walk while collecting rocks, leaves or flowers in a basket and make a game of how many types your child can find.
Introduce water games as a way to keep your child cool while she gets a workout. Set up a game where two or more people race to transfer water between a kiddie pool and another container on the opposite side of the yard using plastic pitchers. Water gun fights are another way to stay cool while getting the exercise benefits of crouching down, standing up, running and jumping. Set up a sprinkler and make a game of jumping over, under and through the stream of water in different positions, such as leaping or spinning or crawling.
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