10 Things to do with Your Active Child ...

Wondering what fun activities you can plan with your active child? Here are guest contributor Ashley Hardway's awesome suggestions!

Active children have oodles of energy and it can get difficult to keep up with them. Here are some activities that both you and your child are sure to enjoy.

1. Camping

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We tried for so long to take vacations with our active child but every time we tried to do something really structured and laid back we ended up with frayed nerves and upset family members. So, even though we did not have a family background in camping we decided to give it a try. There was nothing that my active child liked better than to be outdoors, spending time doing things like fishing, swimming, hiking, nature walks, and general exploring. There is no better way to make your active one happy and ensure that the rest of the family can enjoy the trip as well. The best time to go camping depends on the time of year and what part of the country you live in. We live in a state that has pretty warm temperatures year round but the summers can be stifling. We try to schedule our trips for early spring or fall or the nights can be pretty uncomfortable, unless of course you have an RV. We purchased a family size tent and went by the learn as you go plan. We learned early on that you can not leave any food out anywhere at night or you do not get much sleep and you lose a lot of food!

Camping is a great way to bond with the family. When we are at home we tend to do our own things and hang out in different rooms or head out in different directions for activities. Camping means you live together, eat together, play together, and are generally just together. Since you are roughing it in the great outdoors and are seeing and doing very different things than at home it has the benefit of bringing families closer. I was skeptical at first but over the years these trips have been the most memorable for us as a family.

2. Biking and Walks

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We figured out early on that we needed to help our active child expend some of that extra energy so we began taking family walks and bike trips every day after we got home from work. We found that not only did it give our child an outlet but it really helped everyone in the family as well. At first we found it hard to push ourselves out the door after work but after a week or two we began looking forward to it. We found that as our child expended extra energy we were actually gaining energy. We had a local park and that was our daily destination. When we arrived at the park we played on the playground and had races around the jogging track. There were perfect trees to be climbed and lots of other kids as well as adults to meet and greet. We often brought along snacks to tide us over until dinner time. Everyone looked forward to these trips to the park, especially our active child.

3. Outdoor Sports

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Setting up games of badminton in the back yard or street tennis matches can be a lot of fun for the whole family. Badminton is a fun and easy game to play with the entire family and it is not expensive or hard to set up. And believe me you can expend a lot of energy when you play!

4. Day Trips

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I started doing some online research about places of interest within a few hours of our home and I was really surprised at what I found! There are six thousand six hundred and some odd state parks in the United States and ninety three in the state we live in. Many of those state parks are in and around some pretty cool natural wonders. One place near our home has a huge rock formation that can be easily climbed by young children. There are areas for adult climbing as well. This is a wonderful way to spend the day with the whole family. They offer picnic areas and you can even stay and camp if you would like. They have great facilities and it is well maintained by the park rangers. After our active child spent a few hours climbing they felt like they had really done something huge and they had a great sense of accomplishment as well.

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We happen to live in a very large metropolitan city so we have a great zoo. We have found that it is a wonderful place to spend the day with our active child. There is so much to look at and even many hands on activities that the kids can do while they are there. They have a petting zoo inside our large zoo for the little ones and they also have a water area full of fountains where the kids can cool off. Besides that there is a train and a small lake with paddle boats. The zoo is located near a large city park as well and has a playground and picnic areas. If you live in a city or near a large city with a zoo this is a great place for the family including your active child.

6. Children and Science Museums

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This is another activity that sort of depends on where you live. Since we live in a large city we have several museums, one being the Children’s Museum which allows a child to explore and touch everything. It is not only fun for the kids but the adults as well because you can share in these activities together. The Museum of Natural Science also has many hands on activities and thousands of exhibits, many that are interactive.

7. Outdoor Theaters/Concerts

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Large cities and small towns alike have outdoor concerts, theater productions, fireworks displays, and other activities that families can enjoy together. It is a lot of fun to bring a couple of blankets or folding chairs along with a picnic supper and sit out under the stars and be entertained. No one minds if the kids run and play while the adults enjoy the show.

8. Water Parks

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All over the country there are water parks popping up even in some of the smaller cities. During the hot summer days these are perfect places to take the family to cool down. There are all kinds of slides, wave pools, kiddy pools, and even cool rivers of water you can float leisurely around on inner tubes. Some will even allow you to bring in a picnic lunch and just charge the price of admission.

9. Trips to the Seashore

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This can be easier done by some than by others. Of course if you live in the middle of the country this can be hard to do, but I see more and more mock beaches being built for those not able to make it to the seaside. We are blessed that we only live a little over an hour from the ocean and we found that this is a wonderful way to spend a summer’s day. Swimming, fishing, and building sand castles is very therapeutic and can appease even the most active family member.

10. Arboretums and Nature Parks

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If you live in the country you have access to many of the flowers and plants in your area of the country right at your fingertips. And your need for nature parks does not rank right up there at the top. But for us city dwellers arboretums and nature parks are often places of wonder and excitement. When we visit one of our cities largest arboretums we ooh and ah over all the beautiful plants and trees that we often miss living in the big city. And the nature parks are full of birds and animals native to our area but that are hard to see since we are surrounded by cement and buildings. These places are great for all children and the active child has room to run and explore. The nature centers even offer events that help children see nature in a more up close and personal way.

These are just a few things that our family found to do together that kept us close and kept our nerves intact with an active child. We went from a pretty sedentary family doing mostly laid back relaxing activities to being a family on the go. As we look back we are extremely happy at the way things have turned out. We have so much more energy and are a much closer knit family than we previously were. What are your favorite activities to do with your active child?

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