MISSION, Kan., Nov. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- (Family Features) Shorter days and crisp weather can only mean one thing: fall is in full swing. With pumpkin patches popping up and the smell of apple cider in the air, this season is full of celebrations for the whole family. But many of these activities aren't the most physically active.
It's important for kids to participate in active play all year round; not only does it lead to healthier bodies, but it also helps kids develop healthy minds. According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regular physical activity promotes psychological well-being and reduces feelings of depression and anxiety.
As families are busy preparing for the holidays and getting the most out of the season, they can incorporate small changes to make sure their autumn fun encourages the whole family to get up and move. Here are a few ideas:
Host a family cooking challenge. Whether you're hosting a fall holiday meal or prepping a tailgate spread, parents spend a lot of time in the kitchen this season. Get the kids involved and make a game out of meal prep. Create an ingredient scavenger hunt and challenge your sous chefs to find ingredients in the refrigerator and pantry within a time limit. You can even make a game out of cleaning up. Not only will this keep kids moving and engaged, but it could also inspire healthier eating habits and an interest in cooking.
Play ball. Get into the spirit of the season and host your own football tournament. Whether it's just for an afternoon or lasts throughout the fall, create a family football league in your backyard or at a local park. You can modify rules so they are appropriate to the players' ages and skill levels to ensure that everyone gets an opportunity to participate. Face off against families in your neighborhood and treat the group to a tailgate celebration after the big game.
Explore the outdoors. No matter where you live, fall brings about beautiful weather that begs you to get outdoors. Plan a nature hike for your kids around the neighborhood or at a national or state park. Play nature games during the walk to keep them engaged, like creating "leaf angels" in piles of leaves. The whole family will get a chance to be active while also enjoying the great outdoors.
Give back. The fall is a great time to teach kids about giving back to those in need and being grateful for what they have. Sign the whole family up for a local charity run or walk and talk to your kids about the cause and why it's important to help out. Nothing's better than a little sweat for a good cause!
For more information about ways to keep kids active and playing this fall, check out Let's Play, at LetsPlay.com. Let's Play is a Dr Pepper Snapple initiative to get kids and families active nationwide. The website has hundreds of play ideas that are searchable by season, age range and group size.
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