My sisters are going camping… without me. I love my sisters and I love camping, so why am I not going? Well… because they live on the East coast and I live in Texas… 1,755 miles apart. That’s why. It kills me. There are three of us girls and we each have two kids (for now), and they are all pretty close in age. It’s lots of crazy chaotic fun when we get together and I’m totally jealous of all the fun things they do together while I’m over here in Texas.
It also reminded me of last summer when the kiddos and I road tripped up to Michigan to visit my dad and brother and went camping. It was my boys’ first time and they LOVED it! We slept in a tent and cooked over the campfire. They spent 3 days in the great outdoors exploring nature and getting dirty. We went swimming in questionable lake water and played in the “sand”. We went hiking for hours and the kids did amazing… I was a bit sore (there were like 100,000 steps) and I had Goose in the Ergobaby carrier almost the entire time. We went canoeing and piled, probably hundreds, of rocks in our canoe because the boys were having a great time throwing them into the water. It was such an amazing trip and will always hold a very special place in my special memory bank.
It got me thinking that sometimes we feel like staying active with children is not very practical or just for special occasions. I fall into that thinking sometimes, too, but really, with a little adjusting and some creative (or not so creative) thinking you can still have an active lifestyle. I’m not talking about working out, either, just being active. Sure, I work out, but after that I have a hard time being active. All I want to do is sit on the couch and watch movies with my kiddos. They love it, but it’s really not beneficial to their development. Actually… I wouldn’t even say they love it. They get bored and make huge messes and destroy things. To tell you the truth, the house stays cleaner, the kids learn more, and get more energy out when you go and do things.
Let’s talk about how you can stay active with children.
My kids love being outside, especially Maverick. Ever since he was a baby, if he was ever screaming, for whatever reason, all I had to do was walk outside and he would be calm, almost instantly… every time. The outdoors is a magical place. When I think of being active I think of being outside, so let’s start there.
- Walking – Probably the easiest way to be active with kids. Get a stroller, strap them in, and walk. You don’t even have to have a destination. I personally like to walk to a small park that’s about a mile from our house and let the kids get out and play for an hour, but that’s me, my boys need to expend all the energy they can.
- Hiking – I was always afraid to go hiking with my kids because I thought it would be frustrating with how distracted they get, but as long as you’re outside and moving and spending time together, it really isn’t so bad. There are a couple parks in our area that have playgrounds as well as hiking trails. Nothing extreme, so it’s nice for the kids. Maverick likes to lead the way and Goose likes to be carried and meander.
- Playgrounds – We go to the playground a lot I guess, but the park doesn’t have to be just for the kids. I chase and play with my kids on the playground lots when there are no other kids. I also do things like squats while push them on the swings, knees to chest while they climb on the jungle gym, box jumps while they run around and go down the slides, and calf raises while I watch them.
- The Zoo – In Texas (at least for me) the zoo is a winter activity, but I love the zoo. You get to see cool animals, enjoy the sunshine, and lots of walking. There is even a petting zoo and my kids love brushing (and terrorizing) the goats. Our zoo also has a cute little train you can ride all around the zoo and even does pick-ups and drop-offs at the museum. The kids love it and it’s a nice break from all the walking. Yes, I realize we are talking about being active here, but this lazy mom needs a break.
- Children’s Museum – We LOVE the children’s museum. I actually discovered how awesome these were when I went to visit my sister couple summers ago and we went to a couple different ones. Even then it took me 2 years to find one close to us… not because I was searching, because I was too lazy to look and probably wouldn’t have made the effort to go even if I knew where it was. Now that I am fighting the lazy bone I found it, we got memberships, and have been probably four times in two months. I would like to go more often, but we are back to being a one car family for the time being. Anyway, the kids get to run around and explore to their hearts content and I play with them (or stand and watch, but standing burns more calories than sitting soooo….). Our children’s museum also has some outside play areas that are awesome.
- Swimming – or water parks. We don’t have a pool so we have memberships to Six Flags and go the water park every chance we get in the summer. Totally worth it! There is also a community pool by the park we walk to, but I have yet to check it out… I really like the kiddie areas at the water park and don’t have to worry as much about them drowning (still always within arm’s reach). I only go with my husbands because I can’t watch them both at the same time all the time and it’s crowded and there’s the drowning thing. And then, when we want, we can get a babysitter and go ride roller coasters on a date… sooo, that’s awesome.
- Site Seeing – Are there any cool places nearby that you’ve been wanting to check out? In the fall we have this awesome pumpkin patch… seriously, it’s my favorite thing about where we live. It has those giant jumping pillows, hay rides, pony rides, big hay bales to jump up, pig races, and so much more fun stuff and of course the pumpkin patch. There is also The Alamo and the River Walk downtown San Antonio that we like check out at least every year at Christmas time and walk around. And the bike trails that are everywhere! We haven’t explored them yet, but we will be soon!
- Play – Just play with your kids. Inside, outside, in your backyard. Grab a ball and kick it or throw it around. Play in the sandbox. Dance with them. Chase them around the house, do bear crawls or the crab walk while you do it (for me, just regular chasing is plenty, but if you’re looking for extra oomph, go for it). It dawned on me one day that you rarely see an active kid who is overweight… because they are constantly moving, so just moving with them can do a lot for your health.
I know there are more ways, but my lazy brain just can’t think of anymore. These are the things we do. What do you do? I truly would love more ideas!