The stats are grim: Just a measly 7 percent of American kids meet the physical activity standards the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. And out of 50 countries worldwide, the United States slides in at 47th for children’s’ fitness levels, according to the Club Industry newsletter.
We can do better. Set your own kids in motion—and maybe their friends, too—with these four fun fitness tools. Bonus: Three of the four cost under $20.
Fila Exercise Dice. Keep these colorful foam dice lying around to pepper movement into your day. One die has time and rep parameters (20 reps, 30 seconds and so on), and the other features bodyweight exercises (jumping jacks, squats, a choose-your-own exercise option and more). Make a game of it by coming up with some family rules—say, each family member gets to roll the dice once per day and choose another family member to carry out the exercise. Or play a round each evening—each person rolls the dice once, and you all perform the action together. $9.99 for two dice, amazon.com
Playout The Game. Use this card pack to turn workouts into a game. The instructions provide various suggestions—relays, team games, point accumulations, timed challenges—but your imagination is the limit in the ways you can use the cards—each of which describes an exercise or a fitness challenge. Kick it up a notch with the OCR Training Card Game, which features creative exercises designed for people training for obstacle-course races. $19.99 per pack, playoutthegame.com
Fitness Factor Playground Ball. It’s probably been years since you played four-square, but your kid can refresh your memory (or click here for the rundown)—and probably school you at this entertaining game that can be played in your driveway (use chalk to draw the lines if you don’t already have squares from how the cement was laid). This can occupy your family to for anywhere from five minutes to an hour, all while sneaking in some motion. $16.95 for a 10-inch ball and a pump, fitnessfactor.com
DeskCycle Ellipse. Place this low-profile, legs-only elliptical under your family computer desk (requires just 2 feet of clearance) or keep it near where you watch TV. Choose from eight different tension levels, and use a 2-inch-wide desktop monitor to keep track of RPMs, calories burned and time in use. Warning: Your kids might fight over who gets to use it. $249, deskcycle.com