When the kids are babies we kept them busy and engaged by signing up for Mommy & Me gymnastics or Parent & Tot swimming lessons but somewhere along the way the activities you can do with kids seems to stop.
Or did we just stop doing activities with the kids?
I remember being young and swimming with my friends and the parents would watch us from the lawn chairs looking very bored. Now as an adult, I get it. We don’t always want to splash around with a pool full of kids – we like sitting – but finding activities you can do with kids is still an important way to connect with your kids as they get older.
In fact, I’ve noticed the activities we can do together get more fun as the kids get older. Family bike rides, family hikes, family ski days, family 1km or 5km races, family rock climbing, family golf. So many activities you can do with kids as they get older.
When kids approach the teen years it can be difficult to find common ground, doing activities together or taking an active involvement in a sport they excel at is a great opportunity for bonding. Not to mention important exercise to keep you young!
All to often I watch as parents take their kids to skating, to dance, to hockey, to gymnastics, to soccer or to basketball and then sit and watch from the sidelines.
When did we start letting the kids have all the fun?
Activities You Can Do With Kids
You may not be able to find a league to actually play basketball or volleyball with your kids, but why not volunteer to be a coach or get certified to be a referee? A great way to stay involved with kids as they get older is to offer to coach a school team or recreational sport you were good at as a child. Even if your kids are not on the team, it is a great way to give back, to get to know other kids in the community and perhaps your child could act as Assistant Coach. If they love the sport, there are many ways you can get involved even if it is just shooting some hoops with them in the driveway.
Lots of local parks have tennis courts free for anyone to use and tennis is an excellent activity for improving hand/eye coordination. Not to mention a great workout for parents chasing the wild serves when kids are just learning. Tennis is a great family activity.
One Fathers Day our family headed to a local indoor rock climbing facility with zero experience in rock climbing. We were able to try “bouldering” which is free climbing a rock wall designed to be scaled without ropes or any training. Turns out one of our children was a monkey. Climbed those walls and then some while there rest of us made it 2 inches off the ground. Not even kidding.
After that we learned a 45 minute lesson in Belaying would allow us to operate ropes so we could all climb the rope walls together. Since then we have been back many many times and all of us have gotten off the ground.
Why not get your black belt too instead of sitting on the sidelines? Most Karate studios offer Child and Adult lessons and some even offer Family Lessons so you can learn together. Its a great workout and teaches valuable skills for all ages.
Yoga is popular now for kids and adults. Many school gym programs have a unit in yoga and almost all yoga studios offer kids classes as well as family classes. I recently tried Arial Yoga with my 10 year old daughter and I am pretty sure I had more fun than she did. Some studios incorporate partner yoga so you can practice poses with your kids, while others and not just practice yoga beside the kids. Either way, it is a create family activity for the mind and body.
If you skied as a kid, get some rentals and take the kids out. If you have never skied before sign up for lessons with the kids and learn to ski or snowboard together. It is a great way to spend the winter and who knows, snowboarding might be your hidden talent.
Backyard trampolines are everywhere but so few parents actually take a turn jumping. Trust me when I say it is much harder than you remember as a kid. Being careful not to injure yourself, take a turn on the trampoline with the kids; share some laughs and get in a workout at the same time.
This one has to go on your family Bucket List. Laser tag is too much fun for kids and adults of all ages. I have convinced many parents to join us when we have taken a dozen kids to laser tag for a birthday party and everyone comes out laughing (& sweating).
Kids today roller blade, but how about taking them to a good old fashion roller skating disco night at a local roller rink. Test your skills and see if you still remember how to move and groove.
Stay with me for this one. Lots of us were gymnasts or dancers in our younger days, so what if we haven’t touched our toes in a decade! I will admit, even though I was an accomplished gymnasts in my high school days, it was a lot harder than I remembered to get back into cart wheels and hand stands. But it sure was fun trying during my 10 week Adult Gymnastics Class and my kids were so impressed. We even got to try front flips into the crash mats, swing on the uneven bars and do scary dismounts off the beam. Its not easy reliving your carefree kid days!
Trust me when I tell you, if you danced as a child, you will pick it back up so easily as an adult. Tap is just as fun in your 40s as it was when you were 10, especially if you know what you are doing. I was never a dancer, so am struggling bit more with the choreography than the other ladies in my dance class, but I love that I FINALLY get to do a dance recital and am doing something all my girls loved. Plus they have been a big help teaching me many of the tap steps that have been too complicated for me!
The driving range is open to all ages. Why not spend summer evenings showing the kids how to swing a club and practice on a real putting green without the distracting windmills! As they get older, sign the kids up for lessons and then you can enter as a foursome in the weekend tournament when they are teenagers.
This one is easy but so few families carve out the time to grab a ball and head to the park or an open field to play soccer together. Challenge each other to some two on two or create soccer skills drills around cones, races to a finish line or obstacle course and have some fun being active kicking a ball around together.
I hope I have inspired you a little to look for activities you can do with kids or find a way to get involved in a sport they love. The older they get, the more independent they will get and friends will pull them in other directions. Its nice to have some activities we can do together so they still enjoy family time.
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