Physical education for independent study students can be a challenge. Though independent study allows families to do school in less time and from the comfort of your living room, kids may not always have the structure (or motivation) to get out and spend an hour a day to exercise. And let’s be honest, how many of us adults can find the motivation to go to the gym ourselves?

According to Let’s Move, “children need 60 minutes of play with moderate to vigorous activity every day,” and we all know the benefits of physical activity on our health, moods, and life in general, so here are some ways to encourage your entire family to get out there and do some P.E. activities.

1. Go On A Hike

We are fortunate to live in Southern California where there are countless trails, beaches, and mountains to explore. If you’re looking to get active as a family, go on a hike! Google “hiking trails near me,” or check out and locate hiking trails and ratings for wherever you are!

2. Post Dinner Walk

You know the feeling after you’ve eaten too much food? Alleviate the uncomfortable and stuffed feeling with a family walk. Have the kids grab their bikes to ride along side you or everyone grab the sneakers and take a long stroll through your neighborhood to help you digest. Even better, if you have a dog, take the pup for a walk. Dogs are very good at motivating their owners to get up and move a few times each day.

3. Jump on a Trampoline

Get everyone hopping on that trampoline that’s been neglected since Christmas and have a jumping session. Don’t have a trampoline? Get a few jump ropes and head to the backyard or the driveway and get your jump on. Add in some hula hoops and draw a hopscotch court on the sidewalk with chalk for even more fun.

4. Sign Up For A 5K

Nothing motivates people more than committing to a race. At least it worked for my 11-year-old. Last year, we signed up for the Disneyland 5k and it motivated us to hop on that treadmill a few times a week. The event itself was well put together (I mean, it is Disney after all), and we had a blast running through the parks and taking photos with the characters. Disney races are pricey and sell out pretty quickly, so if you’re looking for something more affordable, many cities host various charity walk/runs. Find one near you and get motivated to train for race day!

5. Do A Family Fitness Challenge

Fitness challenges are very helpful in pushing us toward our goals, especially when there is a prize involved. Set up a family fitness challenge and get creative! You’ll need a goal, a plan, and a prize. Let the entire family give their input on what the goal should be. Whether it is to eat healthier, increase physical activity or spend less time on the phone, make sure the goal is specific and everyone knows exactly what they are working toward.

A few ideas:

  • Stop drinking soda
  • Do 50 pushups
  • Reach a daily step total
  • Eat 3-5 servings of fruit and vegetables daily
  • Limit phone time to 60-minutes a day

6. Take On a Physical Family Hobby

Find an activity that the entire family can learn and enjoy together. Some other ideas include fishing, flying kites, golf, dancing, swimming, geocaching, golfing, volleyball, ice skate, roller skate, surf, tennis, gardening……the list is endless.

7. Put On A Workout Video

Instead of finding something to watch on Netflix, consider putting on a yoga DVD and have the entire family do some yoga (or other workouts). There are many free yoga for kids videos on YouTube or find a fun workout DVD geared toward kids (but be sure to join in on the fun!).

8. Go On A Bike Ride

In Southern California, where the weather is perfect nearly 100% of the time and endless beaches are just a short drive away, hop on a bike and cruise the day away as a family. Ride around the neighborhood or rent some bikes at the beach for some fun sightseeing; your quads will thank you.

9. Join (or Start) A Sports Team

Organized sports can teach a child many valuable life lessons, but why relegate parents and siblings to the sidelines? Find a family sports team or organize one for your neighborhood and play some team sports like flag football, softball, soccer, etc. Let the youngest family members join in on the fun as well.

10. Go To Disneyland

A full day of walking at Disneyland can make my FitBit sing with over 20-30,000 steps! Many of our families are fortunate enough to have annual passes and go frequently. You can meet with other independent study/homeschool students during the weekday when the park is less crowded – a benefit of having a flexible schooling schedule!

Physical Education for an independent study student can be fun and even more so when you make it a family affair! So gather everyone together and get active today, after all, it’s part of your child’s education!