You made it through the shortest days of the year,

and now that the days are longer, take time to add more physical activity to your family’s day. Making a few small changes this summer can lead to big rewards through-out the year. Before you know it, your family will become a more active and healthier bunch. Parents are role models for their children. When your children see you eating right and being physically active, there’s a good chance they’ll do the same. Living a healthier, more physically active lifestyle doesn’t require expensive sporting equipment or memberships. There are fun, creative ways to improve your family’s physical activity habits. Start by monitoring your family’s daily activities for one week. Identify times when your family could increase their physical activity. Each week, add more activity into your family’s routine.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Physical activittyPlay a game of tag instead of watching television. The tag provides a fun and physical activity. Children love it! Especially if they can chase their parents. The added benefit is it increases everyone’s heart rate at the same time. Start a family garden. Begin getting the soil ready to plant flowers and vegetables. If you have limited space, try growing herbs in pots. Homegrown vegetables and herbs are great money-savers and ensure you’ll have something available for healthy summer meals and snacks. Fresh herbs are also a tasty alternative to salt when cooking. Go old school. Help your children draw hopscotch or four square courts on the sidewalk. Sidewalk chalk is a colorful and inexpensive way for children to create their own activity space. It’s fun to be creative and with this simple way to make art, it’s so easy. Plan a nature scavenger hunt. Pick up small nets and mason jars for kids to use to catch butterflies or interesting insects and “lightning bugs. Another idea is to collect wildflowers in the neighborhood or at a local park (if allowed by the municipality). Remember when collecting wild plants, don’t take them all, leave some to continue growing for others to enjoy Take small hiking excursions with your family. Bring healthy snacks and drinks to keep everyone energized. Or plan an outing with a picnic. Start with small steps to get your family to move more. Making little changes can help everyone maintain a healthy weight.