Motivating your child to stay active can seem challenging when the weather cools down and the holiday season abounds. With school in full swing and extracurricular activities are added to a mile-long list of things to do, we can forget the importance of encouraging our children to get outside and get moving. For many, fall is synonymous with coziness. A time where we find ourselves struggling to get out of the warm comforts of our bed in the morning while having to put on extra layers of clothes to keep us toasty outdoors. Coupled with the upcoming holidays that center around treats and food, Halloween and Thanksgiving, we tend to want to stay in and enjoy one another.
Instead of trying to add traditional exercise to your child’s daily schedule, consider looking at some of their favorite fall activities as exercises within themselves.
Here are some of our favorite ways to keep your children moving this season.
Go pumpkin picking.
One of the most traditional ways to kick off the autumn is to pick your own pumpkins. Skip the hayride and walk your way through a pumpkin patch. Make your way through each aisle to bump up your family’s step count and explore all the patch has to offer. Walking is a great full-body workout that keeps you moving without feeling too strenuous on children of any age. A bonus is that your older children can carry the pumpkins, or pull the pumpkin-filled wagon, which can act as light weight, added to their walk.
Fill a basket with your favorite apples.
It has long been said that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and for good reason. Apples are packed with vitamins and nutrients that keep your body happy and healthy if consumed regularly in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise. Apple picking is another one of those activities that are synonymous with the season. Spend a Saturday afternoon on a local orchard and pick to your heart’s desire. Many exercises can take place at an orchard, from walking to climbing to lifting and pulling; it could be considered a full-body workout that ends with a delicious and nutritious treat.
Explore nature with a scavenger hunt.
With the cooler weather fast approaching, it is the perfect time of year to get outside and enjoy all the world around you has to offer. The imagination in children is something to be fascinated by, especially when you take them outdoors for some exploring. Create a nature-based scavenger hunt that is suitable for your child’s age.
Some fun items to include could be:
- a red and yellow fallen leaf
- A stick that is at least 6 inches long
- Four small stones
- Two green things
Include a time limit and prizes for the first-place winner to increase the stakes. You can have this in your backyard or a local park to increase activity and exploring space.
Build a leaf pile while building memories.
Nothing says fall like falling leaves, especially when they’re scattered all over your front and back yards, right? Instead of looking at the build-up on leaves throughout like another chore on your to-do list, make it fun and kid-friendly. Invite your children to rake with you. Fill pumpkin-designed bags to outfit your yard with, use them to fill a funny scarecrow for your porch swing, or build a larger-than-life leaf pile for jumping into. Raking in itself is hard work and should be considered a standard autumn exercise. Consider spending 20-30 minutes raking together for an excellent cardiovascular workout. Then, spend the next hour building forts and piles to enjoy with your family and their wild imaginations. This will be a memory your children will treasure and may lead to a yearly tradition.
We understand the busy schedules that can come with the fall season. From school requirements to sporting events, autumn is filled with activities for all members of the family. With all that’s on your plate, we encourage you to use some of the most fun and traditional fall activities as a way to keep your children moving and active this season. The more routine and fun exercise feels for them, the more they will want to incorporate it into their everyday lives as they grow.