10 Active Family Games You Can Play at Home
Staying active is an important healthy habit to teach your kids. But loading up the car, even for a quick drive to the park, isn’t always practical.
As adults, we tend to view “exercise” as the ideal approach to being active, but working out every day isn’t realistic (or necessary, see “How Much Should You Exercise Per Week?”) for most people either.
The solution is to find activities that are simple and fun for the whole family, and where you don’t have to change out of your comfy clothes to do it.
I have 10 suggestions…
#1 — Floor is Lava
We play this 2 different ways in our house:
1. Break up a lazy day at home with occasional spontaneous movement. Randomly yell “Floor is lava,” then scramble to get off the ground before the count of 5. Tip: If kids are on the couch, reverse the game by yelling “Couch is lava” to get them up and moving.
2. Make it similar to a game of musical chairs, but use pillows, blankets, or even sheets of paper that serve as rocks to protect you as you walk over the lava. Every time the music stops, remove a rock. (There can be many more “rocks” than people to make the game last longer.)
#2 — Bear, Cockroach, Plank
The positions in this game are all exercises for your core (see 5 more of my favorite at-home exercises here). Do it competitively by seeing who’s last to give up. Or do it cooperatively by running a stopwatch, taking turns, and going for a collective family record.
Watch the video to see how to play.
#3 — Balloon Game
You get as much out of this game as you put into it. You COULD just stand there and gently bop a balloon back and forth. Or you could make it competitive and hit it as far away from the other person as possible to try and make them “lose.”
Anything in between works, too.
#4 — Treasure Hunt
Take turns making (and going on) different hunts in your house. We’ve done this two ways:
1. Create clues to follow until you reach a “treasure” at the end. Tip: Keep the treasure simple so you can do this more than once without expectations of a grand prize.
2. Make it a “scavenger hunt” by creating a list (or google one) with descriptions of things you can find in the house and see how long it takes to collect everything.
#5 — Active Video Games
“Screen time” isn’t always for sitting! You can find your own favorites, but 3 suggestions are Just Dance (Nintendo), Arms (Nintendo - does involve fighting), & Dance Central (Xbox 360).
#6 — Dodge the Broom
This one will surprise you with how tough it is. It’s more of a workout than a game, but it’s fun enough that everyone will want to give it a try.
Watch the video to see how to play.
#7 — Dance Party
The other day our family danced around the living room like idiots for 20 minutes blasting Disney songs. Not only was it fun, I got almost 2,000 steps closer to my step count goal for the day.
If improvised dancing isn’t your thing, try learning a TikTok dance trend together!
#8 — Follow the Leader
We take this classic game up a notch in our house. Encourage your kids to intentionally come up with movements that are difficult for adults. (You haven’t lived until you’ve tried to follow your kids by rolling down a narrow hallway.)
#9 — Obstacle Course
Help set up an indoor obstacle course using pillows, couch cushions, etc. Use it as a sort of race course, or cooperate to get from one point to another. Remember to be involved with this—it’s not just for the kids.
#10 — Walking Games
If you did nothing else, going for regular walks is one of the best habits you could instill in your kids’ lives (and you can still wear comfy clothes—our kids have even done it in pajamas). Both of our kids went through phases where they resisted this, but creating different “games” made all the difference.
A few of our ideas were playing pretend (e.g. walking through the zoo or jungle), picking targets (e.g. a certain mailbox) and timing how quickly they can get there and back to you, and taking turns creating “silly walks” (you’re welcome, neighbors, for the entertainment).
It helped enough that now there are times where my kids sometimes complain when they DON’T get to come along on a walk. It’s a bummer when I want some alone time, but it’s a good problem to have. It means my kids have a healthy habit that’s easy to hold onto as they grow up.