As adults, we’re always thinking about wellness as a way to balance life and stay healthy. But we shouldn’t need to play catch up on creating habits. There’s a way we can help kids create habits early by introducing wellness activities for kids at a young age and having fun with them as a family.
We’ve put together a list of some easy and effective wellness activities you can introduce to kids of all ages. Most of these are free or low-cost and can be done all year round. Help your kids get a head start on their wellness journey and learn to prioritize their mental health and well-being early in life.
Encouraging Wellness With Adventures From Scratch
A tight family bond can set a strong foundation for children, and establishing that bond can be a lot of fun. Crack open Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition and find great wellness activities for kids to do at home or on the go! You’ll scratch off activities and get to know each other with conversation starters all while laughing together. Make some memories that will serve you all well.
Reasons to Focus on Wellness for Kids of All Ages
Before we get to the list of wellness activities for kids, let’s look at the reasons this should be a priority in your home. You’ll be giving them a headstart and incorporating healthy behavior early by including activities like these.
Build healthy habits early.
Childhood experiences greatly influence adult behaviors, so putting some energy into creating habits while the kids are young will pay off later. You’ll help your children find hobbies they enjoy by trying different things, and they are likelier to stick to those as they grow up.
Nature has mental health benefits.
Spending time in nature has more benefits than just some fresh air. Studies have shown that being outside can improve your mood, reduce negative feelings of stress, and improve self-esteem. Finding outdoor activities you all enjoy will make it easy to find the time to be more active. There are so many different options to choose from, so there’s no doubt you’ll find something for the whole family.
Physical activity helps them grow.
Regular physical and healthy activities will help children develop stronger cardiovascular fitness. Simply playing outside and running around will help kids build strong bones and muscles. It also reduces the risk of them ending up with a serious health condition. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children ages six to 17 years old receive around 60 minutes of exercise each day. Currently, only around 22% of children are meeting the recommended time.
It teaches independence.
As kids grow, they must learn to entertain themselves and enjoy independent playtime. By introducing them to different activities they can do on their own, you’ll be giving them the tools to revisit those activities. It’s good for children to feel comfortable playing on their own and spending time doing things they enjoy without the interference of others.
Kids get a boost in creativity and confidence.
Skill building is a great way to boost confidence in children. As kids start to master simple skills, like balance and jumping, they will become more confident in their abilities. The more they learn when they are young, the better they will be prepared for the schoolyard as they get older and play more with their peers. By encouraging wellness activities, you’ll be helping your children develop creativity and confidence as they grow up.
Relationships with family members improve.
Any time you’re doing activities as a family, you’re strengthening your bond. Changing up the routine and doing new things together helps widen your range of conversation topics and get to know each other better. Plus, you may find some hobbies and activities you can do together for years to come. Connection is essential for strong family bonds.
Wellness Activities for Kids
Fun activities can also be healthy and promote wellness in your children. If you’re ready to put some focus on the well-being of all the members of your family, consider some of the options on this list.
Go on a nature walk.
Screen time is taking over in many households, but by inviting the family to participate in more outdoor activities, you can help create some new habits. Nature walks or even neighborhood walks are the easiest way to get moving and enjoy some fresh air. Challenge everyone to spot a bird, notice what sounds they hear, or find a leaf or flower to draw when they get home. Just get everyone out the door, and you’ve accomplished the goal!
Make a playlist and have a dance party.
Dance parties and good music bring people together. By encouraging movement through dance in your home, you’re enabling your kids to tap into their rhythm and creativity. Introduce them to new music. Consider a music jar, where you add in 52 different artists you think your kids will love and let them choose one each week to explore. Your kids might be the next biggest Elvis or Dolly Parton fans if you just make the introduction and encourage them to have fun and get into it.
Try out a mindfulness meditation.
One of the most beneficial well-being activities is meditation. A simple but powerful form of self-care is just calming your breath and clearing your mind. It’s never too early to start practicing meditation, so involve your kids in this calming daily activity. YouTube has free options for kids; plus, apps like Calm and Headspace offer specific guided meditations for kids and families. Sit together quietly and practice that breath focus. It will definitely come in handy throughout life to be able to quiet your mind.
Pick out a fun coloring book.
Mindfulness activities come in all shapes and sizes, but one that has become especially popular (even for adults) in the last decade is coloring. You can find a huge variety of coloring books available now, from television show themes to abstract art. There’s also color by number, which requires extra focus and attention to use the correct color in the small spots. By focusing on a coloring book for a while, you’re able to give your racing mind a break, and it works the same for kids. You’re creating something without needing to think too hard about it. Find a fun coloring book for your kids and one for yourself and enjoy the calming activity together.
Grab a jump rope and jump around.
Jump ropes are simple and fun ways to develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It’s a perfect activity for kids of all ages. Practice starting out with just one foot at a time and graduate to full-on jump roping. Even five minutes of this cardiovascular exercise can be incredibly beneficial. If you’re having some screen time, break it up with jump rope breaks just to get the blood moving and energy flowing. Teach the kids that it’s good for your brain to take a break every 30 minutes or so to move around. Another easy way to jump around is on a trampoline. Even toddlers can jump on the mini trampolines and build up their balance.
Build a gratitude paper chain.
A paper chain is an incredibly simple craft project you can do with your children to help teach them gratitude. Just use small strips of construction paper or any paper you have for crafts and get out markers, crayons, and pencils. Invite your children to write or draw something they’re grateful for and add it to the chain. This can be a daily, weekly, or monthly activity. It’s fun to chat about gratitude and hear why the children picked what they picked. It also gives you a chance to share something with them. The paper chain serves as a reminder to think about these things and make gratitude part of your routine and daily conversation.
Enjoy family yoga classes.
Yoga is a fantastic wellness activity for people of all ages. Many schools are introducing yoga in the classrooms now to help kids get up and move around during the day in an intentional way. If you’re looking for a good place to start, check out this YouTube Yoga for Kids video. The instructions are easy to follow for little kids, but the classes also allow adults to stretch their muscles and work on balance. Starting this practice at a young age and making it a habit will be very beneficial as time goes on. Flexibility is a use-it-or-lose-it thing, so the more you move, the better off you are.
Cook a new recipe together.
Healthy eating is important for everyone, especially growing children. Finding ways to teach kids about healthy food and how to nourish their bodies is a big responsibility. You can make it fun by including them in the process of cooking. Sit with them and pick out one weekly dinner they will help with. There are great tools for kids that allow them to safely help in the kitchen. Watch them chop, prep, and mix! They would feel a lot of pride over their creations and be more likely to finish the meal if they could help put it together. Enjoy the process and mess created while you spend quality time together in the kitchen.
Get involved in a volunteer project.
Community service is great for allowing the whole family to work together and give back. Teach your children about life’s challenges and how they can give to those less fortunate or help protect things that cannot protect themselves. Choose your favorite park and pick up trash once a month there to keep it clean. Volunteer for a beach clean-up, walk dogs or read to them at an animal shelter, or serve meals at a homeless shelter to the people. There are so many fantastic organizations that thrive off of volunteers, and your kids will learn to be grateful for what they have and their ability to give back. It’s a wonderful feeling to help others.
Sign up for swimming lessons.
One way to get kids active and promote safety is by enrolling them in swimming lessons. This activity challenges them to do some physical activity while learning how to remain safe in the water. So many children complete swimming lessons and can comfortably play in pools and at the beach. If you live anywhere near water or your children may have access to open water, it’s a good idea to help them learn the life-saving techniques of floating and swimming. It’s such great exercise; most kids love splashing and playing in the water.
Learn something new together.
Learning activities promote the exercising of your brain and curiosity in kids. Growing up with the desire to keep learning will be incredibly helpful later in life. Consider adding in some fun educational activities when the kids are out of school that you can all do together. There are great online resources for science lesson plans during summer vacation. Conduct experiments as a family and have fun with it. If you want to keep it simple, pick up a chia pet or kit with all the materials and instructions to complete the task. As long as you’re asking questions and learning together, your kids will experience huge benefits.
Explore new neighborhoods and playgrounds.
There are thousands of outdoor activities and games you can enjoy with your family members. You can set up games like badminton, hide and seek, or even basic tag if you have a yard. It’s also good to change up the scenery a bit. Make a list of all the playgrounds within a certain distance from your home and visit a new one each week. The kids will love getting to play on different equipment at each park. The same applies to new neighborhoods, where you can walk and explore stores, attractions, or any type of interesting artwork in the area.
Listen to a podcast together.
Podcasts are fantastic tools for learning and can be a simple and effective wellness activity for kids (and adults). There are language options to help them listen and speak new languages, story options that promote good listening skills, and other fun topics that teach kids something new. Focusing on what they hear helps them develop a good attention span and stronger focus. Choose from one of the Common Sense Media lists for kids’ podcasts or ask your friends and other parents for recommendations. Set a few minutes aside each day to listen; you could even add it to your nighttime routine with the kids. Invite them to sit quietly and pay attention to the stories and fun facts and then chat about it with them afterward.
Practice daily affirmations.
Help boost self-esteem by practicing daily affirmations each morning on the way to school or when you’re getting ready in the morning. Have everyone in the family devise their own for the day or choose one together and practice repeating it aloud at least three times. Choose from this list of ideas if you’re struggling to come up with a few. Affirmations help develop and invite a mindset of growth and positivity. There’s a lot of power in saying things out loud. It can help shift your mindset and battle any negative feelings or emotions.
Discuss social media as a family.
Social media has completely transformed how we communicate with others. While it’s a tool that can be extremely useful and bring joy, it can also harm our mental health and become an addiction. Introducing kids to these apps and tools in a healthy way is important. You want to help them form a good relationship with screens and technology and understand how to limit usage and not overshare. Some parents set up accounts for their kids and allow them minimal, supervised access. However you decide to do it, make sure to discuss it as a family.
Participate in group activities with other families.
Social skills are developed by watching other people interact and then practicing those skills. Sign up for group activities, where your kids can see you introduce yourself to new people and start conversations. Encourage them to do the same with the kids in the group. You can find library reading groups and playgroups at local community centers. Use social media groups to find other families searching for families to hang out with. Meeting new people can be intimidating for everyone, so it’s a great thing to practice when you’re younger.
Start your own garden.
Getting enough fruits and veggies is important for a healthy diet, but sometimes, it can be hard to get kids to love their greens. Consider starting a garden. It creates so much investment in the plants and the foods that they bear. The entire process is good for the family, and everything can be done with minimal knowledge. Plant flowers for extra color and pick seeds for your favorite fruits and vegetables. You might not be successful with everything, but everyone will have a blast checking on the progress and watering the garden each week. You and your kids will also love eating your harvested foods when they’re ready.
Talk about feelings and emotions.
Emotional wellness is just as important as physical wellness. Children need to develop their emotional skills and learn how to deal with their feelings at the moment in healthy ways. The best way to promote strong emotional wellness is to be open and talk with your children about emotions. Set up a time each day where you reflect and list the emotions you’re feeling and invite your kids to do the same.
Study the human body.
One path to good behaviors and healthy kids is to help them understand the reasons for doing some of the preventive things we do to take care of ourselves. For example, with teeth, it’s good for kids to understand how brushing their teeth can help protect their mouths and keep them healthy. Health Powered Kids offers a 20-minute exercise that educates kids about the importance of brushing and flossing. There are also lesson plans that cover bones, muscles, stretching, and more. These activities are designed to give kids context behind these actions and help motivate them to choose healthy options when they can.
Organize a scavenger hunt.
Scavenger hunts are a fun way to get moving and get a little competitive. Use your house as a base or even your neighborhood and set up clues and puzzles for the family to solve. If you want to take advantage of something that’s already built, you can try Let’s Roam. There are customized scavenger hunts or options for most metro areas, so you can get the family out exploring together.
Make a choose-your-own-adventure fitness jar.
Have everyone in the family write a few of their favorite fitness activities on small pieces of paper. Add all the papers to a jar, and every day, have someone pick one item out and complete it as a family. You can include fun games, like tug of war, or simple exercise moves, like push-ups or sit-ups. By including everyone in the brainstorming, you’ll be sure to have a good variety of fun things, and it will be a daily surprise to see what you have to do.
Have fun with household chores.
Every household has a list of chores that have to get done. Instead of dreading that to-do list, find ways to make it fun and include the whole family. Kids need to learn how to take care of themselves and their household eventually, so include them in the work. Turn it into races to see who can clean their room the fastest or turn on a fun playlist while you clean up the kitchen at the end of the night. Getting an allowance for completing chores is a good motivator, but laughing with the family can make it fun for everyone.
Schedule daily recess at home.
Most children get to enjoy recess each day at school. It’s dedicated time to get outside and play with their friends. But what about the weekends and school breaks? Consider making recess a daily activity in your household. Don’t worry about the weather; just dress for it and get outside to do something fun for 30 minutes. Take a walk around your neighborhood or walk to run errands instead of driving. Play basketball or visit a park, just like the kids would do at recess. You could even just move a meal or snacktime outside. Just having it as part of your home routine will be beneficial to everyone in the family.
Final Thoughts on Wellness Activities for Kids
There you have it, a great list of things to do that will motivate, inspire, encourage, and teach them. The great news is that you can learn and create as a family while nurturing such positive habits. Looking for more ideas? Read up on “25 Mom-Approved Activities for Kids at Home.”
Get moving and start these habits today. Every member of your family will benefit, and you’ll all be able to try new things and grow together. Plus, each of these wellness activities for kids will help bring you all closer together.
Frequently Asked Questions
Try out a list of fun activities you can scratch off together. Consider Adventures from Scratch: Family Edition, which is filled with entertaining activities that will get you connecting and laughing.