Family exercise has positive impacts all around—from getting hearts pumping to making memories, sharing laughs, and bonding. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exercise can also ward off disease, keep bones strong, and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.
And yet, rallying tots, teens, and grownups around a shared activity is tough, especially if personalities clash. When one kid wants to race and the other kid wants to chase, disagreements can follow.
That's assuming you can get them moving at all. Too often, families don't get the exercise they need—which is about a half-hour daily for adults and much more for kids.
But believe it or not, you can peel kids off the couch while staving off backyard fights. It just takes some creativity to think up fun activities that will appeal to everyone in your bunch and instill healthy family habits.
In other words, use those unique personalities to your advantage.
The Personality Types
Personality-based games are a smart move for families because they engage each person’s interests with tailor-made activities.
Think about how your family members might fall into the following common personality types, grownups included.
- The Sports Fanatic loves the thrill of competition. Give them a finish line and they’re ready to play.
- The Team Player prefers collaboration. They have the most fun when they can do something as a group.
- The Fearless Performer entertains the crowd with their singing, dancing, and musical talents. They find their best inspiration in a song.
- The Wiggle Worm likes to be silly and find new ways to move their body and make everyone laugh. All they need is a fun game to get going.
- The Quiet Visionary uses their imagination for make-believe fun. You’ll most often find them reading a book or watching a movie—but they can enjoy themselves while moving, too.
Once you've figured out the personalities, you can get to the good part: Fun! Get inspired with this list—or create your own:
For the Sports Fanatic:
- Frisbee Golf: Set a par and aim at targets, like trees and bushes. This one helps wrangle kids’ focus and by the end, you’ll walk farther than you might have thought!
- Turbo Hide-and-Seek: Seekers must run to find their targets in 60 seconds or less. A fast twist on the old classic, it gives the whole family a chance to go from standing still to an all-out sprint in a flash.
For the Team Player:
- Tug-of-War: Grab a big rope or twist up a bed sheet for a tugging match. As a fun collaborative activity, it doesn’t single anyone out by physical strength.
- Keep-Up-the-Balloon: Join hands in a circle, and toss a non-helium balloon in the air. As it drifts down, use your legs and other body parts—no hands allowed—to keep it afloat within the circle.
For the Fearless Performer:
- Musical Chairs: Play a song, and set chairs to take away, one by one, at every turn. It adds fun for the music lovers with an incentive to be quick.
- Freeze Dance: When the song stops, everyone must freeze. It gives the dancers time to shine—while letting moms and dads show off their moves, too.
For the Wiggle Worm:
- Charades: Pick a topic, act it out, and try to get teammates to guess it. It’s a fun way to be silly while getting the wiggles (and giggles) out.
- Simon Says: Designate a Simon who dictates actions, but only when preceded with “Simon says…” It’ll keep everyone on their toes and ready for the next command.
For the Quiet Visionary:
- Improve: Pick a creative prompt to act out, like “a dog meets a bird in a grocery store.” It puts imagination in motion and is sure to get laughs.
- Moving Movie Trivia: Place questions around the house or backyard, so that teams run from spot-to-spot while answering them. It’ll test your trivia while giving brainiacs a fast-paced confidence booster.
From week to week, look for opportunities to engage everyone. For example, put each person “in charge” of organizing their event: Kids will love picking uniform colors or doling out instructions.
Before you know it, you’ll no doubt have found new ways to celebrate individuality while finding common ground. But most importantly, you’ll build healthy family habits that will last a lifetime.