10 Ways to Keep Your Kids Active Without Joining Team Sports

  • 01 of 10

    Orienteering

    A picture of a mom and daughter looking at a map
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    Parents who want their kids to stay active typically turn to organized sports. But some kids don't want to play sports and don't actually enjoy them. The good news is there are plenty of unique ways to keep your kids active. Get your kids started on adventures that are just as challenging as team sports.

    First up is orienteering. Now you could block off your entire schedule for orienteering with your family because it is going to become everyone’s number one favorite activity. The easiest...MORE way to think of orienteering is part racing, part navigation and part scavenger hunt.

    This adventure was originally developed as a military training exercise in Scandinavia but has since become an international sport that has participants of all ages joining orienteering clubs, attending events and signing up for teams. You can give orienteering a try on a much smaller scale. You can either bike, walk or run with your family as you follow a series of routes on a map to get to the finish line. Don’t be afraid to make your own maps and control sites (checkpoints where your family punches in to show they’ve been there) to create your own orienteering adventure for your kids.

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  • 02 of 10

    Composting

    A picture of a child digging with a shovel
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    How does your garden grow? Get the kids into composting and find out. Composting is another unique way to keep kids active and it also teaches them about science, nature and the importance of the environment at the same time.

    Start by helping your kids build a composting bin so they can see the composting process in action. Get ready to put your composting bin to work by getting the kids to separate out your family’s trash to keep the items you can use for composting, such as cardboard, leftovers...MORE and fruit and veggie peels. One great activity to show kids how composting is truly beneficial is to then grow plants in composting soil versus regular soil. The difference will amaze them.

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  • 03 of 10

    Engineering Activities

    A picture of a boy looking at an engineering project
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    Put those brains and bodies to work. Engineering activities for kids get those creative juices flowing and then building and designing their ideas gets those bodies moving.

    Encourage your kids to design and build a roller coaster. Make a homemade marble run from recyclables. Design a catapult in the backyard. Build a book tower fort on a rainy day. Use PVC pipe to create an elaborate water table. There’s no shortage of engineering activities that give your kids a productive activity and you’ll...MORE find enough engineering activities for kids on Pinterest that will keep them busy until they leave for college.

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  • 04 of 10

    Painting

    A picture of kids painting
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    You may not think of painting as a physical exercise but Harvard Health Publications recently reported painting burns calories at the same rate as if you were walking four miles per hour. Your kids won’t get beefy muscles from painting but painting does give them a relaxing activity that’s a wonderful alternative to the go hard or go home attitude you sometimes encounter in group sports.

    To take your kids’ painting exercises a bit further, paint outdoors with a giant canvas. Set up the paint away...MORE from their masterpiece so they have to walk or run from the paints back to the canvas. And if you’re up for a messy good time, play paint tag. First kid to tag someone with a red hand print wins. Washable paint is your friend for this game.

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  • 05 of 10

    Geocaching

    A picture of children geocaching
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    Get the whole family active with geocaching adventures. With millions of geocaches hidden around the world, your kids will never run out of geocaches to discover.

    Geocaching is simple and anyone can do it. Simply use a GPS-enabled device, such as your smartphone, to locate caches by their coordinates. The caches are usually small weatherproof boxes that contain a little trinket for you to take, a logbook and a pencil. Sign your code name and replace the trinket you’re taking with something of...MORE your own. What you put in there is up to you but some examples include something your kids make just for geocaching, a pen or anything small you find at a dollar store. Geocaching is addicting for kids because they love tracking down a geocache’s coordinates, they can log the geocaches they find and they can even hide their own geocache and track who’s found it. It’s a great activity that not only exercises their bodies as they walk the terrain in search of geocaches but also their minds.

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  • 06 of 10

    Photography

    A picture of a girl taking photographs
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    Give your kids a different perspective on the world around them. Hand them a camera and see how they view everything from wildlife to their siblings.

    There's no limit on what they can photograph on a walk around the neighborhood or with the family on a forest trail. You can even have a photo scavenger hunt. Not only do you get the kids off the couch and out of the house, everyone sneaks in a little exercise as you roam from place to place looking for that next great shot to capture.

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  • 07 of 10

    Freestyle Activities

    A picture of a family playing in the back yard
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    Sometimes the best plans are no plans. You don’t have to jam your schedule full of activities to keep your kids active. Go freestyle.

    Get the whole family to lace up and shoot hoops. Jump in the pool together. Play catch in the snow. Set off on a bike ride at the park. Dig into the kids’ sidewalk chalk and draw a hopscotch board so you can all play. Kids of all ages, including mom and dad, love those classic outdoor games of Duck, Duck, Goose or Hide and Seek. You can look right in your own yard...MORE to find unique ways to keep kids active.

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  • 08 of 10

    Kids' Fitness Programs

    A picture of kids playing kick ball
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    Many YMCA and parks and recreation departments offer fitness programs exclusively for kids. They get to burn off energy participating in a variety of different activities such as kick ball, swimming and even exercising on the treadmill with the guidance of a trainer leading the class.

    Many of these free or low-cost programs are a great alternative to organized sports with as much or as little commitment as you and your child want. They also offer a nice mix of activities so your kids will have...MORE something new to try from week to week.

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  • 09 of 10

    Individual Sports

    A picture of a girl on the balance beam
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    If your children love the idea of sports but don’t love the idea of playing on a team, consider individual sports. Gymnastics, swimming, track and field, tennis, archery, golf and martial arts are all good examples of individual sports where children compete more against themselves mentally and physically.

    Your kids can be in group or private settings during their lessons but still take advantage of the exercise a sport provides. As their passion for the individual sport grows and so does their...MORE confidence, they can then consider joining a team for that sport if they want to compete.

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  • 10 of 10

    Redecorating

    A picture of a mom and daughter redecorating
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    Your kids have lots of opinions and now’s the time to let them shine. Whether it’s taking on that one room in our house that needs some TLC or simply redecorating the house for the season, give your kids a say and see what happens.

    Let them rearrange their room, pick out the decorations that will spruce up your home this fall or go for it and let them completely redecorate a room in the house. Everything is their pick, from paint colors to theme and they can decorate it all on a low budget. It’s...MORE a fun way to get moving and see what ideas your kids have been hiding in their noggins. Of course, they’ll need a worker or two so get on those old clothes, Mom and Dad, and help paint, move furniture and bring your mini designer’s vision to life. Be brave about turning the design over to your kids. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at what they come up with for your family’s home.