Building healthy habits at a young age can help set a foundation for children to continue living a healthy lifestyle into their adulthood. While fitness can be fun, those who have worked with children understand how difficult it can be to persuade some of them to participate in physical activity. This rings especially true in the digital age, as many kids prefer being in front of a screen than spending time outdoors and engaging with peers.
With the right strategies, parks and recreation organizations, community centers, fitness groups and more can help engage more kids and parents to participate in fitness-related activities, by making them more enjoyable. Here are some ways to make fitness fun for kids.
Give Them Purpose
While many adults can go for jogs, lift weights, or perform high-intensity interval training, children usually aren’t interested in these types of exercises. Fun activities that get them up and moving are often enough and it’s even better when they can be outdoors.
For example, sports are games with a goal in mind. This purpose can distract from the fact that they’re exercising and their competitive spirit can help them power through the tired moments. Building programming around this idea can help you create engaging programs for kids that can help inform your seasonal offerings for younger members.
Get Their Friends Involved
Most kids are social by nature and parks and rec groups and community centers can use this to their advantage and get more kids active. Creating a discounted buddy pass or trial pass can help bring in more business through referrals, especially when paired with a solid marketing strategy.
Friends joining can boost motivation, keeping kids on track to complete the program. It can be difficult for some children to look forward to activities, without anyone they know involved so this style of buddy system can help alleviate that problem. Furthermore, activities should be based around kids playing together, to help them gain social skills, in addition to the benefits of physical exercise.
Learn from Gamification
Many of the top games in the world employ strategies that make them addictive. Just like how game consoles use an achievement or trophy system to encourage users to complete tasks, parks and rec organizations, kids camps and other groups can employ this type of system to boost motivation.
Tasks can be split up into daily, weekly, or seasonal goals, and can range in difficulty, with harder tasks awarding more points. Instructors sign off on tasks that are completed and the results are tallied, once the program is over. There can be prizes for participants; for example, a grand prize for the first person to complete their task list and prizes for anyone who completes all tasks.
Use Technology but Sparingly
Parents may be looking at parks and rec organizations and local sports leagues to get their kids away from their computer and TV screens but, for some kids, technology can be a gateway into real physical activity. Parks are seeing the effect of social networks like Instagram on park visitation and behavior, while seeing the value in embracing new apps. Some parks even capitalized on the Pokémon Go phenomenon, encouraging young gamers to come to their national park to capture Pokémon.
Virtual reality and motion sensor games that require physical exercise are also starting to become more popular. After-school programs and community centers can use games as a last resort to get their kids active, but it still doesn’t beat getting outside to play.
Learn more about how our membership-based business management software can help take on all the challenges brought on by a fitness facility, whether it’s for kids programming, facility rentals, or anything else your community might need.