With more kids on their phones and tablets watching YouTube, stresses the fact that kids are not getting enough physical activity during the day. In the U.S. the percentage of adolescents affected by obesity has tripled since the 1970s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data shows from 2017-2018 nearly 1 in 5 school-age children and young people from ages 6 to 19 years in the U.S. have obesity.

While there are many factors that contribute to obesity, including genetics, metabolism, community, and neighborhood design and safety. As well as eating and physical activity behaviors, as parents, our role in helping children achieve and maintain a healthy weight influences our children’s overall health.

And while the neighborhood crime rates sometimes keep families from participating in outdoor play, I really encourage families to take an effort in creating a safe play environment indoors and in taking the time to explore nature and bring the outdoors indoors.

Today’s Parent Magazine has a list of 15 of their favorite indoor activities to help kids stay active

A report by the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute explains it is more important than ever to encourage our kids to incorporate physical activity into their day. Preschoolers need at least 180 minutes of daily physical activity. Older kids aged 5-7 need 60 minutes of mild to moderate exercise per day. As I have volunteered for a couple of years at the Children’s Hospital in Long Beach I definitely came across a lot of fun activities on Pinterest that were fun and easy DIY projects you can also dive into with your kids.

I suggest doing projects where you create a memory that will either last or a project that you plan to keep for keepsake memories. Therefore, not the kind of typical projects that end up in your trash can). Also, incorporate a learning curve so that you explore something fun while you play, and do your best to keep it simple. I, myself am exploring motherhood with a very active daughter who starts to panic when I start cooking. I have put the ABC magnets on the fridge, the crayons, and the paper on the table. Therefore it only keeps her active for a few minutes. I am not a huge believer to spend money on kid toys because it too only keeps their attention.

Your backyard is a wonderland

When she was the age of one, I noticed she liked collecting rocks from the backyard. Also, I decided to take what she was doing with the rocks and create an indoor activity where she could enhance her skills by using the behavior of putting things inside of other things. I started collecting the little cardboard box holders that hold jellos or puddings in place and put them aside.

One day we walked around our neighborhood and collected little pinecones. Before I started cooking dinner, I learned the practice of putting all of her toys away and leaving the little cardboard boxes and pinecones right there on the kitchen floor for her to see. And it worked so well, she immediately went straight to the boxes to see what it was and started putting the pinecones in the little holders. I was so impressed and is a 0-cost activity that kept her active during the whole time I cooked dinner. The first step of this child development project is collecting data on what sparked my child’s interest. Building a project and built off of my child’s interest for her to explore putting things inside of other things. Remember she was only at the age of 1. So imagine what your kid can do, at their age.