Especially during the holidays (and other breaks from school), it can be hard to keep the whole family active. We congregate in kitchens, bake (and sample) our favorite cookies, and watch our favorite movies. These habits are wonderful in their bond-forming ways, but there are additional ways to form bonds that instill healthy and active habits in our children of all ages. Here are just a few ideas from our team here at TNT:
1. Balloon Fun! This game is safe for supervised children ages 2 and up and the concept is simple: blow up a balloon (or ten) and make up games. Younger kids can simply play “keep it up” and the older kids can use the couch as a net to play balloon volleyball.
2. Box Toss! Put all of those extra cardboard boxes that the gifts came in to good use with this game designed for children 4 and up. Cut different shaped openings into the sides of a cardboard box. Then have kids throw their ball into the shape you call out. Make it a carnival theme, by painting a clown face on the box and, using the opening as a mouth, try “feeding” the clown!
3. Ping Pong Puff! Have some extra ping pong balls lying around? On a large table (or other flat surface), have kids (ages 4 and up) face-off against each other as they take turns trying to huff and puff and blow the ping pong ball past their opponent. No hands allowed, even for goalkeeping!
4. Treasure Hunt! Save one last gift for a fun game of hide n’ seek. Some families go the distance and make clues for the scavenger hunt, and others choose the hot/cold method. Either way, this is fun for kids of all ages as they seek out that last gift for the holidays.
5. Hall Sweep! Place some cardboard boxes (one for each player, aged 6 and up) at the end of a long hall (can be hardwood or carpet), give each player a ball and a broom (for a tougher challenge, use wrapping paper tubes instead of a broom) and race to see who can sweep their ball into the box first!
6. Book Balance! You might remember this as etiquette punishment, but kids today can’t get enough of this fun play on words. Set the time for one minute (or use an hourglass game timer), balance one book on each player’s head. The last player balancing wins! Did more than one player make it the minute mark? Add another book and another minute! Still balancing? Make the players walk around the room! Safe for all ages, but likely that only kids over 6 will have the coordination to succeed.
7. Hopscotch! Using sidewalk chalk (outside) or painters tape (inside) draw out this classic childhood game. Use a rock or coin to see what square you’ll skip. Fun for children as young as 2!
8. Ring a Rosy and Pick a Daisy! You might remember Ring Around the Rosy, but add this Pick a Daisy and you and the kids will be out of breath before you know it! Hold hands as usual, and while walking in a circle sing:
“Ring around the Rosy
A Pocket full of Posies
A tishoo, A tishoo
We all fall down!”
Then fall, BUT on this twist, do not stop holding hands. Then sing this little ditty to the same tune:
“Picking all the Daisies
The Daisies, The Daises,
Picking all the Daisies,
We all jump up!”
On the last line, without letting go of each others hands, jump up as a group! Repeat until you all collapse in laughter!
9. Sardine! Hide and seek meets the 70’s phone booth style fun in this fabulous family game made for ages 4 and up. Begin by choosing one person to be the sardine. While the remaining players count to 100, the sardine hides. Then each of the seeking players attempts to find the sardine. However, if you find the sardine, squeeze into the hiding place with them rather than announcing you found them! Once everyone is squeezed in like a can of sardines, the first person who found the sardine becomes the sardine in the next round! Keep going until everyone has had a turn to be the sardine.
10. Animal Charades! Fill a fish bowl (or other vessel) with the names (or pictures for younger kids) of different animals. Then take turns acting out the animals without making noises. The person who guesses correctly goes next. Keep going until all of the animals have been acted out!
11. Freeze Dance! All ages boogey down to any style tunes. One player stops the music randomly and all players must freeze in the position they’re in! Anyone who moves before the music begins again is “out!”