Ideas for Healthy Family Time | Ashley Varner
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Ideas for Healthy Family Time

If you have been keeping up with the blog or podcast at all, then you know that I’ve been going through this personal, physical journey of experiencing better health. I want that journey to roll over into my family. I want that to affect my family, and so my husband I and my boys have been really intentional about having healthy family time.

Don’t have time to read the entire post? Just check out the podcast, instead!

Awhile back we took a trip to Moab, Utah, which isn’t too far from where we live, but you might have known of it from the arches. There’s beautiful, beautiful landscapes there.

It was that trip that sparked this episode because Moab is definitely an active town. There’s so much to do. It’s almost all outdoors. There’s just so many activities that they have for families. There’s white water rafting, hiking, and zip lining, and there’s just so many things.

And it made me realize something important:

If you want to be active, if you want your kids to be active, there are fun ways to do that.

Sometimes we think that we have to go to the gym together or go for a walk if we want to have healthy family time, but activities and healthy family time can definitely be fun.

I’m going to give you a list that you can download HERE . Just start marking things off and having fun with your family.

20 Ideas for Healthy Family Time | AshleyVarner.com

The First Step to Healthy Family Time is Turning Off the TV

I understand that the television is here to stay. And I’m not going to lie, I enjoy watching TV. There are shows that I like to watch, but it’s okay to turn it off. It’s okay to have quiet time in the evenings.

There’s nothing wrong with family nights where you pick a movie and snack on popcorn, but the problem is when television starts to take over our lives.

If you’re watching TV while you eat dinner, just turn it off.

Let’s start to experience what it’s like to be with our loved ones, and to enjoy our families.

And on a side note, take time for date night because you and your husband need to have that time.

My husband and I, especially during the school year, try to have a date night once a week. My boys go over to my parents or my husband’s parents after school and we pick them up at church that night.

During that time, my husband and I take time for each other. We go to a restaurant, or we make dinner together. If we go out to eat we sometimes get a dessert because that’s just special time for us. We sit and talk.

Trust me, it’s important for your entire family for you and your husband to have a date night.

It’s also important for your entire family for you to be okay with this idea that people can’t get a hold of you.

There might be some things on my list that sound fun, but you worry about people not being able to get a hold of you.

I want you to know it’s okay if someone can’t get a hold of you for a half hour.

We live in this world where we think that we have to be able to be reached at any time by anyone. That’s not the case. It’s okay to turn your phone off. It’s okay to turn the screens off, and just go outside, and enjoy that time.

Related: Identifying Your Stress Triggers

Ideas for Healthy Family Time | AshleyVarner.com

20 Ideas for Healthy Family Time

Make and run an obstacle course with your family.

This could be an outdoor or an indoor activity if it rains a lot where you live or if it’s cold, whatever, you can make up and run an obstacle course. You could use string, furniture, or tires.

Whatever it is that you have just be creative.

Some of these ideas take some creativity, but it’s going to be worth it. It’s going to get easier too.

The first couple of times that you try some of these things it’s going to feel like you’re not very creative. But the more that you do it the easier it becomes.

Build and play your own mini gold course.

You can move things around. Someone has to go around a tree. All those different things to have your family together where they’re just having fun running, playing.

Have a nature scavenger hunt.

One of the things that I saw whenever I was doing some research for this episode was this nature scavenger hunt.

They had a paper bag.

The mom colored six different colors on the paper bag just to scribble with marker in a certain color, and sent the kids outside and they had to find things in nature that matched that color.

If she colored in a brown square they had to go find a leaf, or gray for rock, or pink for a flower, or whatever it was. That’s something that doesn’t feel like exercise.

It doesn’t feel like movement and activity, but that’s what’s happening.

You’re growing their minds.

They’re running around.

You’re having this family time, and it doesn’t feel like, “oh mom’s just trying to get us to be healthy.”

Get competitive!

Another thing that you could do is really to play on your kids’ their competitive natures.

You can play a game of girls against boys, or kids against parents, maybe it’s a game of soccer, or football, or capture the flag.

All these different things that play on their competitive nature then you’ll find that you’re going to have hours of healthy family time.

Ride bikes together.

My boys are learning how to ride their bikes, and just being outside with them, teaching them, really seeing them learn how to do that.

Then once they catch on and you all can ride together.

Those are all memories that are being built around activities, around movement.

Think about it, how many memories do you have as a kid just sitting and watching television? These fun and active memories are the memories that are going to go along with your kids the rest of their lives.

Clean up the environment.

Clean up litter along hiking trails, so when you go hiking you have a bag and you’re cleaning up the area around you.

Run for a cause.

You can participate in a run, or a walk for charity as a family. That doesn’t mean that you’re striving for your personal record or anything like that, but maybe you’re doing a run with your kids.

Maybe you’re doing a walk because maybe they’re too small to run, things like that.

It’s not about even their skill set or how fast they run.

It’s about being together creating memories that are centered around movement.

What this is going to do is create memories for them that are centered around movement and activity.

Movement and exercise will becomes a natural part of their life, and this what our goal is for this healthy family time.

Old Fashioned Hide and Seek

If it’s cold outside or it’s raining you can play an indoor hide-and-seek.

You can build a blanket fort and play in it.

Get out the blankets, pull the dining room chairs into the living room and get creative!

You can make cardboard boxcars and race them.

I know in our area there’s a cardboard recycling place where people take their boxes. You can find really clean boxes and make all kinds of stuff, make cardboard boxcars and race them around.

Play music and do a freeze dance party.

You’re playing the music and as so as it stops everybody has to freeze in whatever position that they’re in.

That’s something that doesn’t take a lot of thought. You can just play some music and go for it.

Play follow the leader.

This can be inside or outside. Really do things to spark their creativity.

Every kid loves to be the leader.

I know when my boys come home from school, if they were the line leader for that day it’s like the best day ever.

So let them be the leader. Maybe you get down and do a jumping jack, or you get down and do a push up, or something like that, and they follow along.

You can incorporate movement into these fun games for them.

Charades

Head to pinterest to come up with ideas for a game of charades!

Rake the leaves and jump in!

Another thing that you can do is rake your leaves, and then let them jump in it. You can rake them up again and let them jump in it!

You might think, “I don’t have time to do that,” or “I have stuff to do,” or “this is a chore.”

But if we want our kids to value movement and exercise than we have to create moments for them to learn the value of that.

Be intentional about creating these times for your kids.

There’s some simple things like:

Walking the Dog

Plus, the pooch needs some exercise too!

Washing the Car

These are things that you can do and help them to move their bodies, and to get exercise.

Summer should be the time when kids have way more activity and way more movement, but it ends up the opposite, where they just end up in front of the television, or in front of their iPads. So make sure that you are coming up with these ideas for them.

Plant a family tree.

If you all work together, you’re digging, you’re picking a tree. They’re watering it. You’re teaching them about the world, but also that’s something that requires a lot of activity.

You can scale a wall at a rock climbing gym.

You’ll be so surprised by the skills of different family members!

Play laser tag.

Again, make it a competition!

Play on a playground that your kids haven’t been too before.

All of those things can create healthy family time for you, and for your kids, and remember, it doesn’t take a lot.

The other day, I went in to check on my boys. They were supposed to be cleaning their room, and it was one of those times where it’s really quiet and you know something’s wrong, and so I went in.

I got on all fours and I crawled in, and acted kind of like a lion.

They’re cleaning up and I kind of scared them a little bit, and that turned into a little wrestling match.

After we had played for a little bit and I started leaving and then my younger son said, “Mom, just keep playing with us.”

I thought, “What do I have to do that’s more important than this?” So I turned back around and we played some more.

We were playing and I realized, this is the kind of movement, this is the kind of exercise and activity that they need to be having. And I can give them that as their mom.

It takes some effort, but there’s nothing that’s worth it that doesn’t take some effort.

Make sure to download the printable list  and check out the activities, and check them off. It’s my prayer that you’ll have fun with your kids.

Work to be intentional about having healthy family time, for your sake, and for your kid’s sake. I will talk to you next time!

20 Ideas for Healthy Family Time | AshleyVarner.com

Don’t forget to grab a copy of 20 Ideas for Healthy Family Time HERE !

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