Keeping Kids Active When They Don’t Play Sports

Youth sports help keep kids active and healthy, but what if your kid just isn’t much of an athlete? Or they’ve taken an interest in other activities like music or art, and don’t have time for sports in their schedule anymore? You definitely want to encourage an active lifestyle, but how do you do it when they don’t play sports?

Yes, it IS possible to keep kids fit, even if sports aren’t their thing. Here’s proof they can still be active and have fun, no uniform necessary.

Rock On

If your kids are anything like mine, they like to make things. But sitting down to paint a rock isn’t exactly a cardio workout. So we take it to the next level and go for rock hunts. How do I sell them on leaving their arts and crafts at home? I remind them that they’ve got to find the absolute BEST rocks for their projects. We take a bucket and shovel, and spend at least 30 minutes looking for rocks (if not an hour, which is the amount of physical activity the CDC recommends kids and adolescents get each day). Rock hunting’s a better workout than you might think – they will be using their legs (gross motor skills), carrying their bucket (more gross motor) and using a shovel to scoop (fine motor).

Build Something

What?! A child carrying lumber? You bet. Our 8-year-old wants anything to do with anything that isn’t a sport … even lumber! He gets wood from the shed, brings it to the garage and builds with it. Without hammers, nails and power tools of course! It’s more like playing with life-sized Lincoln Logs. Kids can also collect sticks, cardboard boxes or any number of other kid-friendly building materials.


There’s nothing like hearing yourself yell back at yourself in a tunnel. Echoes are amazing! And even better than yelling is playing music. Take your kids somewhere they can play music (or just drum on the ground or on a tin can) and hear it echo loudly. The key to fitness? Park far and walk there, and play as hard as you can to get your hearts pumping. That’s right kids, I said LOUDER.

Still in the Game

Games aren’t just something athletes play! Teach your kids all the games you played when you were young, like Red Light/Green Light and Red Rover. Let them chase you in a game of tag … and don’t let them get you. Give them a run for their money (and their heart!). Turns out good old-fashioned fun is also a pretty good workout too!

Skip to It

Is it just me, or do kids skip less these days? I guess it’s for the best, since skipping while staring at your phone isn’t the safest thing. Or maybe they could just put down those phones and skip to it! Play Hopscotch with them, or even a game of Twister.

Go for a Walk

If nothing else, walk! Walk around the house, walk around the neighborhood, walk up and down the stairs. Think about giving your kids pedometers – our kids LOVE theirs. It makes hitting 10,000 steps (or more) a competition, and even if they aren’t into team sports, most kids still love a little competition.

With anything, if you give a little, you get a little. Ask your kids to play outside with you and in turn, you will sit and draw with them. They want to spend time with YOU, so if you give them your time, they will give you theirs. And that’s time you can use to stay fit. Together!

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