Getting kids to be active is not as easy as it used to be. So many tweens and teens are enchanted by their tablets and smartphones that they would rather hang out on the couch texting or playing a game than heading to the park or riding their bikes.
Rather than banning electronics from your home, savvy parents can take their kids’ love of gadgets and turn it into a way for them to get and stay active. For example, check out the following devices and apps that will help inspire your kids to get their tushes off the couch:
Active Video Games
Video games do not have to be played sitting down. If you own a Nintendo Wii or XBOX 360 Kinect or other active game console, treat your kids to a few new games that will get their hearts pumping. Great examples are the "Just Dance Kids" series that lets your kiddos mirror dances to pop hits and songs from their favorite TV shows. "Zumba Kids" is another great game that gets kids moving, as is "Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure"—in this game, kids can throw, steer, swing and run around while exploring games set in Pixar movies. If your kids love the show "Wipeout," "Wipeout" (Create and Crash) for the Wii, WiiU and Kinect will have them going through obstacle courses filled with jumping, dives and twisting and turning—anything to avoid having their on-screen character plunge into water. Although this game is technically for ages 10 and up, if the whole family plays together even younger kiddos are sure to have a blast moving around.
Fitness Tracking Devices
If you already own a fitness tracking device like a Fitbit, you might have noticed that merely wearing it inspires you to take more steps during the day and be more active. Getting your children kid-friendly devices will probably have the same effect on them. Or, if you don’t already have one, consider investing in fitness tracking devices for everybody, so you can set goals and encourage healthy and fun fitness and health competitions between all of your family members. A great example is the Apple Watch Sport from a retailer like T-Mobile; the nifty little device helps keep track of your exercise, heart rate and other health-related data. If you are not sure about your kids using such a fancy device and would rather have only the adults use it, no worries—there are plenty of kid-friendly activity trackers including the UNICEF Kid Power Band. The device will measure your kids’ steps and movement and also allows them to go on missions that they can track through the accompanying app, earn points and unlock food packets that will go to malnourished children in the world.
Another great way to get kids moving is to transform their love of apps into motivation to exercise. Let your kiddos download some free fitness apps like Sworkit Kids. This app guides them through fun exercise routines that are demonstrated by kids. You’ll enjoy watching your kiddos crab crawl across the living room floor for 30 seconds or see how quickly they can do 10 squats. The app is so fun, chances are good your kids will inspired you to download it and play along with them. The app will sync with Apple Health and your kids can also use it to create custom workouts that improve their strength, agility and fitness levels.