By Betty Francisco
Now that kids are settled back in school and sitting a whole lots more, keeping up their activity levels is a challenge. Kids should get about an hour of physical activity every day. Recreational and competitive sports are a great option. But if you find it’s a battle between Mindcraft vs. soccer, you are not alone. Finding fun activities that you can enjoy with your kids can be daunting. When kids are physically active, they learn better, are more confident and are healthier. Here are our top five drama-free ways to get kids active while taking advantage of the fall weather and activities in greater Boston.
1. Sign up for a road race. Kids enjoy individual competition just as much as adults. When you participate in a road race as a family, parents set a good example for living an active lifestyle. You can search for races in your area through www.runningintheusa.com or www.active.com. A few races we like are:
* Rodman Ride for Kids – September 26, Foxboro. A 25, 50, and 100-mile noncompetitive cycling tour (kids 12+).
* Reebok Canton Road Race – October 4, Canton. Offers a 5K, 10K and Kids Run.
* Sole Train 5K – October 17, Jamaica Pond. A 5K for runners of all ages, shoe sizes, and speeds.
2. Try an obstacle course. If your kids are thrill seekers, an extreme obstacle course or mud run may be more their speed. Some obstacle course races are just for kids. Mudrunfun.com makes it easy to find obstacle course races and mud runs in your area. Remember to train for these obstacle events. Reimagine Playoffers a boot camp for kids to get them in shape and ready for these challenges. Our top picks are:
* Extreme Field Day for Kids – October 11, West Newbury. Traverse 12 obstacles, run hard and get muddy.
* Great Amazing Race – October 17, Carlisle. Complete a one-mile cross-country course sprinkled with up to eight fun-filled outdoor challenges.
* Spartan Race and Spartan Kids – November 7-8, Fenway Park, Boston – The Reebok Spartan Sprint includes a run for kids with scaled down obstacles and mini festival area filled with games and children’s challenges.
3. Break out the wheels. Enjoy the outdoors while biking, roller-skating, rollerblading, skateboarding or riding a scooter. Try biking to school a few times a week. If you are a city dweller, pick a park with trails. The Arnold Arboretum offers bike/walking trails and an amazing plant collection. For hard-core skaters and bikers, stay tuned for the opening of the Lynch Family Skate Park (with half pipes and all) in East Cambridge later this fall.
4. Go on a farm adventure. This is a perfect time to try classic fall activities such as apple picking and pumpkin tossing. With more than 50 farms in the greater Boston area, you can opt to pick your own apples and try climbing a few trees while you are at it. Some farms offer corn mazes, hayrides and barnyard animal peeping. For apple picking farms click here. For corn mazes, click here.
5. Play Outside the Box. When the playground becomes boring, it may be time to jump off the walls. Specialty facilities like trampolining and rock climbing are cropping up and many offer something fun and active you can do with your children. Some of our favorites are:
* Brooklyn Boulders in Somerville offers 40,000 square feet of climbing, fitness, yoga, workspaces, a cafe, saunas, youth programming and community events.
* Gymja Warrior in Danvers is a gym with obstacles inspired by the American Ninja Warrior TV show and features gymnastics, parkour, freerunning and rock climbing.
Need more fitness inspiration? In honor of National Child Obesity Awareness Month, join the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s #Commit2Ten challenge to add 10 more minutes of physical activity to your family’s day. Sign up at commit2ten.org and receive a 30-day activity calendar, resources and motivation to commit to 10 more minutes of activity per day. All of the above count!