Games you can play with the whole gang
Want to help your family get moving? Don't start off stressing about heart rates, repetitions and the like. Instead, just head outside and start playing some basic games together, says Rose Kennedy, author of The Family Fitness Fun Book. "It's such a good opportunity to have fun with each other, especially if most of your time spent together is very task-oriented-'let's get to school,' 'let's get dinner on the table,' " she explains. "If you make it enough fun and you're participating, soon [your kids will] start reminding you, 'come on, let's go shoot baskets.' They'll think of themselves as active people and you as an active person who likes to be active with them!"
For starters, try one of the following oldie-but-goody games from Kennedy's The Family Fitness Fun Book, and you'll have 20 minutes of aerobic exercise before you and the kiddies even notice you're outside!
Follow the Leader
- Players line up in a straight line behind the Leader.
- The Leader makes movements, gestures and sounds that other players must mimic.
- The Leader should always be moving (walking, skipping, jumping and so on) to keep other players on their toes.
- Players who don't imitate the Leader correctly are disqualified.
- Players who can't keep up with the moving line are also out.
- Choose a new Leader every 5 to 10 minutes to keep the game exciting.
TIP: Be a funny leader. Make your movements as silly as you can. Try combining a simple gesture, like tugging your ear, with singing a song, like Mary Had A Little Lamb, in a high and squeaky voice.
- Using markers such as garden hoses or towels, designate a starting line and a finish line 15 to 30 feet apart.
- Split into teams of two. At the starting line, one person from each pair gets down on her hands and knees and lifts her feet off the ground so her partner can pick up her ankles.
- When the race starts, the partner on the ground begins "running" on her hands while her partner holds up her ankles.
- The partner on the ground must keep his or her knees raised throughout the race-if they touch the ground at any time, the team must return to the starting line and start over.
- The first team to cross the finish line wins the race.
TIP: Don't push too fast. When you are the standing partner be careful not to push your teammate forward too quickly or too hard.
- Players crouch on the floor in a single-file row with about three feet between them, facing forward. Players should be on their knees with their heads covered by their hands.
- The last player in line stands up and jumps over each other player one at a time,
- The jumper puts his hands on another person's back and pushes off to propel himself forward.
- When the jumper finishes leaping over all the players, he crouches at the head of the line, and the player in the back of the line gets a turn to leap.