8 ways to keep your kids active on a budget

Finding ways to keep our kids healthy and active is worth every effort. What better gift could we give our children than to help them feel energized, healthy, strong and mentally stimulated?

While the cost of organized sports continues to rise there is no reason for any child to miss out on regular physical activity.

Need a little inspiration? Here are 8 fun, budget-friendly activities to help get you started.

1. Olympic-fever

Use the recent Sochi Olympic Winter Games as a springboard to introduce your children to new sports and activities they may not previously have been exposed to. You could even try to recreate their favourite events at home. Check out our DIY Mini Games for some great ideas.

2. Take them with you

My husband runs regularly, while I’m the power-walker in the family. Rather than heading out solo we invite our kids to hop on their bicycles and head out with us. We come back energized and connected knowing we’ve set a great example and spent quality time together. It’s an all-around win!

3. Free is good! Find free activities in your community

Almost every community has sponsored skating or swimming allowing you to enjoy these activities at little or no cost. You’ll usually find these advertised in your local paper but if not, search for them online or call your local rec center or sports arena.  If your community has an outdoor skating rink be sure to take advantage of it. There’s something special about skating out in the open, breathing in the fresh air and having fun.

4. Kids bowl free

Bowling develops strength and motor skills, builds coordination, and develops self-esteem. Kids Bowl Free is an excellent program available right across the country during the summer months. It allows children to have two free games of bowling every day all summer long. How great is that? More information can be found here. Simply locate the bowling lanes in your area, sign up and they will let you know once registration is open.

5. Take a hike

Kids love to explore and a hike is a perfect way to do this whether it’s winter or summer. One snowy day my son and I suited up and went for a hike in a valley near our home. It was a great workout and along the way we examined trees, cool plants and various animal tracks. Hiking is simple, free, and develops physical literacy.

6. Be a little crazy

Think outside the box. Who says badminton can only be played in the summer? A Frisbee or hula-hoop can be enjoyed any time of year not just in the warmer months. Take a look at what equipment you already have on hand and encourage your kids to use them in new ways or at times they wouldn’t normally think of. They’ll be excited by the novelty of the idea and the fun-factor will keep them active and inspired for hours.

7. Leave the car at home

Depending on the distance and safety factor, consider letting your children walk to school, the library, their friend’s house, or any other place you would normally drive them to. If you are shopping, park a little farther and have a little fun by counting the steps to your destination. Some kids may be inspired by tracking their steps with a pedometer. Pedometers are relatively inexpensive but many libraries have them available on loan, all you have to do is ask!

8. Encourage outdoor play

When children are indoors it’s all too easy to gravitate to sedentary activities like watching TV or playing video games etc. Once they get outside (even if it does take a little prodding) it is very unlikely that they are going to sit still and often children will come up with ideas that will surprise you if you give them the chance. If this is not something they are used to, be prepared for a little resistance but rest assured it will be well worth it in the end.

We all benefit from a booster-shot of inspiration now and then. I hope these eight ideas will help get you started on your own quest to build a little more activity into your children’s lives.

Got some wallet-friendly activities of your own? Please share them in the comments below. We can’t wait to hear some of your ideas!

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