Get Fit Together Family Activity Guide (Giveaway)

This giveaway is no longer accepting entries. Congratulations to our winner Shelly

We know that children are little mimics – they will copy behaviors that they observe and repeat words that they hear (nearly every parent can attest to this with stories of awkward situations involving particular word choices not appropriate for 5-year-olds to utter). So if mom and dad relax in front of the TV after dinner, chances are that’s going to be the preference for the kids as well. But, if mom and dad instead say it’s time to do something fun together after dinner, that helps create an environment where activity is normal and encouraged.

Family Hiking in the Woods

While it can be hard with busy lifestyle – whether it’s work, or scheduled activities like music lessons or sports – you really have to make the time, otherwise it’s too easy to put things off until the next day. Block time on the weekend – whether it’s an hour or half the day – and do something fun as a family. Go for a hike, go for a bike ride on a trail, go geocaching, discover a new park – just go. Do something. You can even let the kids decide – chose between a hike or bike ride. Go for a walk after dinner. Just get out together.

Keep in mind, this isn’t your time to get your daily exercise in. You’ll get too frustrated if you’re focused on “miles” and the kids are wanting to look at the pretty flowers by the side of the road. It’s about them. It’s about spending time together as a family. Let them discover their world and enjoy re-discovering the world through their eyes. And, if you’re hearing them complain, “It’s too long to walk! Are we there yet? Why can’t we play our video games!” that’s actually a sign they’re bored. So think about how you can keep it fun. Play a game of I Spy. Make up stories. Do some research and find out the history of the place before you go.

That said, remember kids do need breaks. Kids younger than 5 usually need a break every 15 minutes. So if you’re planning an hour hike, that could easily turn into a two hour venture. For elementary age kids that usually turns into a break every half hour. You know your child best, but aim for under-doing rather than over-doing. Trying to do too much can make it a frustrating experience for kids, and one they’ll not want to repeat.

When you’re thinking about what to do, remember they may not like everything you try so expose them to a lot of different things – biking, hiking, ice skating, roller skating – you never know what might click. And help them remember it’s not about doing things right. It’s about having fun and laughing. It may be challenging the first time the family tries things, but that can also help create fond family memories (“Do you remember that time dad tried roller skating?). And, it’s also a good way for kids to see even adults have to practice and work at an activity.

And, you’ve heard it before, but it’s always a good reminder to use sunscreen and sun protection, and any safety equipment like helmets you may need.

So, what are some ideas you can try? Check out Wisconsin’s State Parks, find out what’s going on around Wisconsin, learn some simple things to do around home or explore our Exercise for Kids Pinterest board.

They’re only young for a fleeting time so enjoy every moment of it while you can. When you make a family habit of doing things together when they’re young, they’ll continue to enjoy doing family activities as they grow. And, there is a special bonding that takes place when you’re active together. A simple walk with the dog can turn into an hour spent laughing and learning more about what’s going on in your child’s life. It’s a gift for the whole family.

Smiling Sun

Enter this week’s giveaway

Leave a comment below with your favorite place for a family hike or bike ride.

Prize: 1 – Picnic package including a picnic blanket, water bottle and sunscreen.
Rules: Giveaway closes on Sunday, July 27, 2014 at 11pm CST. Open to Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois residents only. One entry per email address is permitted. The winner will be selected using random.org and announced on the following Monday as an update to this post. Winner will be notified via email and asked to provide a mailing address to receive the prize; if the winner does not respond within 7 days, the winner forfeits the prize and another winner will be selected. Subscribe to the blog and you’ll get new posts delivered to your inbox as soon as they’re posted.

Posted in Activity, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , ,
About Judy Hilgers, RN, BSN and Ellen Heiser, MS
Judy is a clinic nurse with the UW Health Pediatric Fitness Clinic. Ellen is Clinical Exercise Physiologist at the the UW Health Pediatric Fitness Clinic.
View all posts by Judy Hilgers, RN, BSN and Ellen Heiser, MS

Comments

  1. Pam says:

    We love to go for picnics and Governor Dodge State Park. The family enjoys swimming, hiking, and using the paddle boats there too. Such a good time!

  2. Christine Weihing says:

    I care for my 7 grandchildren during the week and one of our favorite places to visit and “hang out” is Devil’s Lake State Park. The park is beautiful with so many trails to hike on. The Nature Center is also a favorite and the Park Rangers are always ready to get out the binoculars and take the kids on a walking and learning adventure. On a nice summer day, you can’t beat Devil’s Lake!!

  3. Lynsey says:

    We enjoy riding our bikes to a nice big park that is a bit too far for a regular walk.

  4. Wendy C says:

    Our boys love to mountain bike at Quarry Park – a hidden gem on the west side of Madison. It’s also nice for hiking and we’ve seen wild turkeys on the trails.

  5. Marty says:

    My kids love hiking the Tumbled Rocks Trail at Devils Lake State Park. We also bring our kayaks there. With no boat traffic, it’s a great place to let them paddle.

  6. Gina Dwyer says:

    My family likes to hike together at Parfrey’s Glen. (Devil’s Lake area) The scenery is so neat that it makes you forget that you are actually doing exercise!

  7. Nancy says:

    The city we live in just put in paved paths throughout the entire city so we love to ride our bikes to the Dairy Queen for a treat!

  8. Wendy C says:

    My family and I take walks at our neighborhood parks, but out favorite spot to hike to is Picnic Point in Shorewood.

  9. Jen says:

    Hiking at Devil’s Lake is awesome! It is on our “must” list for this summer. For everyday, we hit the captitol city bike trail and head toward Downtown. An icecream stop at the Union keeps kids motivated to the end.

  10. Shelly says:

    We like to bike ride on the Glacier Drumlien Ice Age Trail near Cambridge

  11. JEANNE says:

    Fort Atkinson bike trail with a side trip to Frostee Freeze!

  12. Philip Musgrave says:

    My two girls (3, 5 years old) and I camped for a week at Peninsula State Park over the 4th of July this year and we hiked from Nicolet Beach to the 4 story lookout tower! What an adventure. This was by far the longest the girls had ever hiked and boy were they tired after…but they really enjoyed themselves and we saw so much. It was great!

  13. kathy says:

    We love to take our 4 grandkids (and daughters if they are available) and go hiking in Horicon Marsh. There are several trails to hike on including one long bridge built out into the marsh waters where you can see turtles, snakes, geese, ducks and birds in the marsh. After hiking, we always have a picnic at the marsh. The kids love it and learn a lot about the marsh and wildlife!

  14. Jaime says:

    We like hike out near Indian Lake and bike on any of the Madison trails and especially like the Ride the Drive events.

  15. Sharon Blohowiak says:

    My family loves to hike and bike in our own backyard. We live very close to the Badger State Trail and Sugar River Bike Trail. Both trails are well groomed and go through the most beautiful parts of Green County.

  16. Eric says:

    We love going up to Devil’s Lake for the day!

  17. Lisa Johnson says:

    So many places!! But one of our favorites is Horicon Marsh

  18. Barbara Dittrich says:

    Our family loves to hike (and cross-country ski in the winter) at Lapham Peak State Park in Delafield. The hilly topography makes for a good workout for all of us.

  19. Sarah K. says:

    We love to walk or bike around Watertown (often resulting in a stop at Schuette’s for ice cream). When we want to make a day out of our adventure, we drive to Jefferson and ride the bike trail to Lake Mills to swim at the beach before heading back.

  20. Heather says:

    There are nice trails right in our neighborhood, or sometimes we just walk to the playground close to our house.

  21. Stacy T says:

    Right now our little guy loves to just run up and down the sidewalk while pushing his firetruck around! Otherwise we had off to Fond du Lac County Park or the Horicon Marsh and take a hike on the forest trails :)

  22. Albi says:

    Owen park and creastwood neighborhood in Madison.

  23. Elizabeth says:

    We love to hike and swim at Lake Kegonsa State Park! Quiet, beautiful, and great trails!

  24. Cathy Gurnee says:

    We like to go to the beach and hike any nearby trails. We have read about geocaching and would like to try that yet this summer.

  25. shaunie says:

    We love to go to our local parks

  26. Dorrie Turner says:

    Our favorite spot is Blue Hole, Rawley Springs, Virginia.

  27. Jason P says:

    Having four kids 12 to 2 easy hikes in state parks mixed in with a picnic is always a family favorite!

  28. tammy medley says:

    robers cave st park in wilberton Oklahoma been taking my family there for twenty years now

  29. andrea says:

    Cycling along the Chippewa River bike trail!

  30. Shari. Nelson says:

    We love to hike through Devil’s Lake, Parfrey’s glen, & Pewit’s Nest.
    All 3 kids have a blast! They are 13, 11, & 5

  31. Kay says:

    Our family likes to picnic at Oak Street Beach in Chicago! We love the beach.

  32. June Snyder says:

    My favorite place to hike is the natural trail at the Oahe Damn.

  33. Pamela says:

    I live right by the Manassas Battlefield National park and that is ideal! Would love to win! Thanks for a wonderful giveaway!

  34. Rachel O says:

    I love hiking at the state park if we can’t make a trip out to the mountains!

  35. Carl Todasco says:

    Family loves to bike

  36. Rosemary Romito says:

    Carlsbad state beach is great for picnics,@walking on the beach.

  37. Dana Cerrito says:

    We love to go to Kensington Park in Michigan. We hike, picnic, and swim there. Its lovely

  38. angela smith says:

    We love to picnic when we are up at the dells so that would be our favorite spot . especially after a long day at the water park .

  39. Kassie Brown says:

    My husband and I love to go out to Fort Pickens in Pensacola, Fl. It is a great place on the beach to walk around and explore.

  40. Megan Peterson says:

    By far the best place to take a hike is Devil’s Lake! Beautiful views and great for little kids.