Try these fun games the next time you take the family to the park.

Fun Outdoor Activities to Keep Kids Active

In modern American life, its way too easy for kids to end up spending all day on the couch, or glued to their various screens. But with rates of childhood obesity more than double what they were in the last generation – and quadruple for preteens — it’s more important than ever to keep kids active and energetic. Not to mention the need to get them outside; fewer than 2 out of 5 American kids say they spend some time outdoors even once a week according to a survey.

Sound familiar? Give these fun activities a try, and see what sticks. You never know what might become your family’s next summer tradition.

Fly a Kite

This age-old family favorite has been made even better by the recent availability of many more styles of kite. Some are designed to be easier to fly, others are made to maneuver, dance, even fight. One of the easiest kites to fly for beginners is the super stable “delta” kite, with a triangular airplane-like design that requires only the gentlest of breezes to stay aloft. For even more enjoyable family togetherness, buy a kite-building craft kit and make one together.

Row a Boat

Kids love boats of all kinds, so this is one kind of fitness you won’t have to fight with them about. And boating is big on variety; you can try kayaking, canoeing, rowing, or sailing, and see what proves most popular. Day camps teach sailing, kayaking, and other types of boating skills, and can offer a great introduction. One of the best ways to introduce small children to boating is to take the family out on a paddleboat, which can be rented cheaply at many town lakes and ponds.

Shoot a Rocket

Nothing gets kids excited like the idea of shooting off a rocket. And rocket launching is no spectator sport – they’ve got to watch it, follow it, and run to pick it up. Start easy with a toy like Stomp Rockets, which you can buy from any toy or general store like Target or Walmart. They’re super simple to use, and they have the additional fitness benefit of being “kid-powered”  – you have to jump on them to make them go! Kids also love building rockets themselves. You can buy a kit, or even make rockets from soda bottles and other supplies you already have around the house.

Play a Running Game

Inspire your kids to run, leap and jump with games that make it fun. Bring a jump rope or hula hoop to the park for some fun that’s serious exercise at the same tim. Or introduce your kids to do-it-yourself rhythmic gymnastics, one of the hottest new summer sports. You don’t have to have special ribbon sticks; you can use  scarves, crepe paper streamers, or cut long strips of lightweight fabric. Your kids will love trying out their own moves, or you can watch a video to learn the basic moves.

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.