11 Ways to Keep the Family Active
Where to find activities to keep your family fit, from Cape May to King of Prussia and from Doylestown to Wilmington.
Our children are much busier than we were in our youth. Schedules are so full that multi-tasking is a normal process for them. They eat dinner in the car on the way to practice and memorize their spelling words while emptying the dishwasher. Family time has been reduced to winding down in front of the TV at the end of a long day.
It’s time to put our multi-tasking skills to better use and bring back interactive family time. Get up off the couch, shut off the screens and enjoy some family time fitness.
1. Family fun runs
Sign up the family for a 5K walk/run in your area. These family friendly courses lead participants through colored foam, glow-paint, mud and even obstacle courses. While many events are connected to charity fundraising, some are just for fun.
Feb. 4, West Chester, PA: Super Bowl 5K
Feb. 10: Pitman, NJ: The Chill Run
March 14: Newark, DE: Pi Day 5K
2. Laser tag
This adrenaline-raising activity is a great rainy day plan for families. Players wear lightweight targeted vests and carry a “loaded” laser gun. Played in a semi-dark room with plenty of places to hide, teams try to hit their opponents’ targets and earn points for each hit.
Local forest preserves and state parks offer trails with various levels of difficulty. Park district jogging paths often include fitness stations along the pathway. Pack water, a snack and the family dog for an afternoon of fun.
Many trails are set up for bikes as well. Let the kids ride their own bicycles or bring equipment along in a bike trailer if the kids are younger. Cycling 10-12 mph burns 30-45 calories per mile, depending on your weight.
Rancocas State Park, Burlington County, NJ
5. Trampoline arena
While it looks like a lot of fun, jumping on a trampoline uses a lot of energy. In addition to simple trampoline jumping, many arenas include dodge ball courts and “air-robics” classes.
6. Explore the city
On a recent trip to the city, our family spent the day exploring on foot. We walked an incredible six miles while sightseeing, shopping and snapping pictures. Although the city is filled with transportation options, we didn’t want to miss anything. Walking burns 100 calories per mile, leaving plenty of room for a guilt-free dinner.
Free Tours by Foot, Phila.
Cape Water Tours & Taxi, Lewes & Dewey Beach, DE
7. Pick-up games
Even the busiest of families can find time for a 30-minute pick-up game. Challenge a neighboring family to a quick game of soccer at the park or basketball in the driveway. Other family games include volleyball, kickball or Frisbee golf.
8. Fun on the ice
If the weather isn’t cooperating at the outdoor skate park, head into the ice rink to cool your heels. Ice rinks often have weekend and evening open skate times and offer family fun packages. If you prefer wheels over blades, check out the local roller rink instead.
Winterfest Ice Skating at Cooper River Park, Pennsauken, NJ
Horizon Services Riverfront Rink, Wilmington, DE
9. Stair Climb
Stair climbing fundraising events are held in cities across the country. Set in a tall skyscraper, participants climb the stairs and collect donations from family and friends. It’s a great family, fitness and charity event all rolled into one.
10. Indoor skydiving
Would you like to try skydiving but don’t want to jump out of a plane? Indoor skydiving facilities give a true free-fall experience for children as young as 3, as well as their adult companions.
Skydive Cross Keys, Williamstown, NJ
11. Video games
Yes, you read it right. I encourage family fitness in the form of video games. Try Wii “Just Dance,” Wii “Fit Plus,” “Kinect Sports” for Xbox or “Sports Champions” for PS3. The kids will love the opportunity to play with their game systems and their parents will like the games that get them off the couch.
Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and mother of three busy teens.