When I think of ways to inspire kids to be more active on a daily basis, two key factors first come to mind: fun and family! Being a full-on “kid at heart,” I am a huge advocate for finding ways to play and have fun with the whole family (and by “play” I mean physical, active play). 

In my experience as the VP of Product and Curriculum at The Little Gym, any physical activities that incorporate play and fun are likely to be popular with kids. The key factor here is that if the physical activity is fun and playful, the child will want to do it. On the other hand, any physical activity that kids do not enjoy, that they may feel pressured to do and that feels more like a “have-to”or chore  is likely to get a big, fat “thumbs down.” 

Related: Let them play! Toddlers need 3 hours of physical activity per day

When it comes to family, kids who regularly see their parents enjoying physical activity are more likely to do so themselves. And, engaging in physical activity together as a family can have other social and emotional benefits for the family as well.  

One way we can inspire kids to get moving is to combine the elements of fun and family in what I will call “gamified” family activities. Anytime you can “gamify” a typical family activity, the kids will get inspired to join in. From upgrading your normal family walk to making chores around the house into family exercises, here are some ways to gamify your family’s everyday routine. 

Read on for three ways to inspire kids to be more active.

1. Typical family activity: Go for a family walk

“Gamified” version: “Around-the-Block Challenges”

Go for a “family walk” around the block, but make it more fun by creating contests and challenges. Decide what the challenges are before you begin. Then go!  Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Count how many different license plates you see on cars
- Count how many dogs or cats you see
- Who can be the first person to see an orange car? (or other agreed-upon item/object)

Related: Your family’s ultimate summer bucket list: 50 activities to do with your kids on these long days ⛱

2. Typical family activity: Go to the park or playground

“Gamified” version: “Park Dice”

Make a family visit to the local park or playground. However, take a set of dice and “gamify” it! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Kids/family members take turns rolling a die on the picnic table. Whatever number it lands on, that’s how many trips down the slide everyone has to take—as fast as they can!  Root each other on!
- A different family member rolls the die to discover how many laps everyone must run around the monkey bars!
- Come up with fun, creative challenges that interact with the different playground features. Agree on an activity and playground item and roll the die again!  

3. Typical family activity: Family chores around the house

“Gamified” version: “Family Chore Lottery”

Whenever the family has a “chore day” around the house, “gamify” it to add some inspiration, fun and a reward element. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Each family keeps track of how many chores they did throughout the day around the house.
- At the end of the day, each family member writes their name on a small slip of paper (“lottery ticket”) for each chore they performed; four chores = four slips of paper with name.
- Put all the lottery tickets in a bowl.
- Someone closes their eyes and randomly picks a ticket from the bowl.  The name on the lottery ticket is the person who gets to choose the dessert for the night, the family movie to watch or another fun family reward! The more chores a person does, the more lottery tickets they have in the bowl and the greater chance they have to win!

4. One final suggestion for inspiring kids to be more active: Plan it out!

As with many things, if you plan it out and get it on a calendar or schedule, it’s more likely to happen. So, make it a weekly routine to have a family meeting to discuss and plan out the physical, family activities for the week.  It can be helpful to set some parameters and requirements. For example:
- Minimum of three, 30–60 minute activities per week
- Activities must not exceed price limit (if a cost is involved)
- Each family member has input
- If it works for your family, choose a family “treat” after the week’s final activity!

Related: Your guide to age-appropriate responsibilities for toddlers to teens

Every parent knows there is no shortage of time that kids are sedentary these days.  Studies continue to reveal the importance of physical activity in a child’s life–the benefits of which are seemingly endless, ranging from physical fitness to stress reduction, enhanced brain health, function and more! 

Getting your kids inspired and motivated to get up and get moving can be a challenge. But, if parents can get their kids inspired by being active role models and creating opportunities for the family to do activities together, there’s a higher chance your family can start moving together. If you can tap into your kids’ innate desire to play and have fun by gamifying some of your routine family activities, your kids may start asking for more! So, take the time to plan out some fun family “gamified” activities and make them a part of your family’s ongoing routine.  

This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother’s journey is unique. By amplifying each mother’s experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you’re interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please email Collective@mother.ly.