ActiveDo your kids spend more time exercising their thumbs on their favorite video games than actually going outside and playing? A lot of our children are spending more time on the couch playing games on phones, tablets, and video game machines. While this is not entirely bad, too much of this can’t be good for our children’s health. Kids are supposed to get 60 minutes of activity each day. We have to make subtle lifestyle changes to get our children more active. Children are not going to want to go outside and run laps and do jumping jacks. That’s boring! It has to be fun.

With the help of active toys, the idea of getting fit can be a whole lot more fun. While the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Kinect have some great software to get kids up off the couch, with summer season in full swing, you might even have toys lying around the house that can encourage children to exercise outside.

Here are some of the best toys that keep children fit and are disguised as fun.

Jump Rope

Remember how fun it used to be to jump rope as a child? I still remember yelling the silly but memorable rhyme “Three Blind Mice”. Oh the memories! The jump rope is a fun and inexpensive way to exercise. It is still as fun today as it was when I was a child. Best of all, kids can get a great workout while they have fun, burning a ton of calories without realizing it. Jump roping can be played alone or with a group of friends. Invite the neighborhood kids over for even more fun. With a little music, kids can jump to the beat of the music.

There is more to jump roping than just jumping. Kids can master skills that will test their endurance, balance, and quickness. You can even create games with the jump rope. In the summertime for birthdays, we used to play a game called water splash. To play, have your child fill up a glass of water. Now have two other children swirl the rope around as your child jumps with the glass of water. The two other children say their favorite rhyme or count to three. Kids take turns jumping. Whoever has the most water left in their cup wins.

Hula Hoop

I still remember trying to hula hoop for the first time when I was younger. What could be more fun than a hula hoop? The hula hoop has been around for ages, but children still love them. These colorful hoops combine fitness and fun. With a little practice, it is easy to hula hoop. Just put the hula hoop around your waist and swirl your hips. It’s a great workout for your arms, legs, and abdominals. For kids who don’t quite know how to hula hoop, the hula hoop can also be used as a fun prop. With a little imagination, kids place a few hula hoops on the ground and hop around like their favorite animal.

Toy Blasters and Frisbees

When I was young, both the boys and girls used to look forward to the summer because we knew that was when our parents would have picnics. That meant toy blasters and Frisbees. Squirt guns are not only a great way to cool off in the summer, but they are also great for getting kids active. Kids love soaking each other with water. When you don’t want to get wet, there is always laser tag or standard blasters. Squirt guns are a great way to get a full-body workout and they encourage teamwork. Just be sure to explain to children that they should never aim at anyone’s face. Don’t like toy blasters? Frisbees are a great alternative to toy blasters.

Balls

I still remember playing on the volleyball team when I was a kid. I wasn’t particularly good at sports but I loved volleyball. From baseball to football to basketball, balls are a great way to get kids active. If your children are really interested in playing sports, don’t hesitate to have them join their school’s team.

Ride-ons

I still remember hopping on my first bike. Pedaling it around didn’t feel like exercise. Even though I fell off a couple of times, all I can remember is that it was pure fun. That is what most kids will remember. Ride-ons are a great way for getting kids to move around. For extreme fun, there are ride-ons that allow kids to perform a variety of tricks as they race around. There are different types of ride-ons for every age group including skateboards, roller skates, scooters, bikes, castor boards, and vehicles.

Today, most kids are spending more and more time indoors with electronic gadgets. Parents need to challenge their kids to get out there and become more active. Too many children are caught up playing video games and not getting enough exercise.

I realize that we can’t stop kids from playing video games. One way I like to encourage them to exercise is by saying if they spend at least an hour playing outside, they get 30 minutes a day to play their games, otherwise they can’t play. The kids will move like never before. We also let the kids play with the Kinect and Wii so they can work up a sweat while playing.

Children are made to play and easily identify with toys. Toys are a great way to get kids to exercise. There is so much more to toys than most of us realize. Remember that the toys you give to your children help send a message that will shape their lives forever. Toys can be used to put a fun spin on the monotony of exercise. If we hand our kids toys that encourage physical play, children will realize that being active is important. I’ll be certain to hand that jump rope to my kids.

What do you think are some of the top toys for keeping kids active?

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