5 Fun Games to Get Kids Running

School’s out for summer and that means there are no more daily PE classes to keep your kids active each day. But worry not! There are plenty of other ways to keep little (and big) ones active and free from boredom all the way until the fall.

Whether they are at a birthday party, summer picnic, or in your own back yard, games are a great way to involve kids of all ages and abilities in physical activity. Plus, games are fun and they won’t even realize they’re getting exercise!

Here are a few games that are designed to get kids outside and moving. With these activities, they’ll be off and “running” in no time!

1. Kick the Can: This old-school game is super easy and doesn’t require any equipment other than a large can. Simply place the can in a large open area like a park or playing field. That serves as the home base. One person is designated as “IT” and counts to 50 while all the other kids hid. When “IT” sees one of their friends, he/she calls their name. Then they both race to the can and try to kick it first. If “IT” kicks the can, the hider is caught and placed in “prison,” a pre-selected area. If the hider kicks the can, he/she and all the players in prison are freed and “IT” must count again.

2. Water Balloon Relays: This game is easy and a great way to cool off on sticky summer days. You’ll need one plastic Frisbee and one lawn chair per team along with a bucket filled with water balloons. Mark start and finish lines 20 feet apart. Kids form teams of five. The first child in each team grabs a water balloon from the bucket, balances it on the Frisbee, runs to the lawn chair, places the water balloon on the chair, plops onto the balloon until it pops and runs back, handing the Frisbee to the next child on the relay team. All players race the same way to the finish line. The first team to complete the relay wins.

3. Capture the Flag: Simple to set up and fun to play, Capture the Flag is a classic childhood game that pits two teams against each other in a battle to capture a flag from each other’s territory. Usually, the territory is made by splitting a playing area in half with cones, trees, or other markers. Your team tries to take the opponents’ flag and bring it back to your territory before they find yours. For detailed instructions on how to play, click here.

4. Hula Hoop Roll: For this race, you’ll need two hula hoops. Set start and finish lines 20 feet apart. Each team lines up with half of the team at the start line and half at the finish line. The first child on each team runs as fast as possible while simultaneously rolling the hula hoop out front. At the finish line, the child rolling the hula hoop passes it to a waiting teammate, who then rolls the hoop back to the start line. The first team to complete the relay wins.

5. Hop to It: You’ll need 10 empty shoe boxes. Mark start and finish lines 20 feet apart. Set up two parallel obstacle courses with five boxes on each course, evenly spaced between the start and finish lines. Kids form two teams. Each child runs as fast as they can, hopping over the boxes along the way to the finish line. Then they run back, hopping the boxes again and tag their teammates. The first team to finish wins.

Another easy, everyday option for your kids is to simply have them wear a pedometer. We use pedometers to keep track of how active we’ve been, so why not do the same for kids? Give them a pedometer, explain how it works, and make a game of it! Set up rewards for every milestone number of steps they reach, or even make it a competition between family members to see who has been the most active each day. The Nike+ Sportband lets kids track their steps hands free.

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