Joining a gym is a great way to move your family into an active mindset, but it’s certainly not the only way to go. Thanks to the popularity of “exergaming”—video games specifically designed to be a form of exercise—and motion-tracking technology, kids don’t even have to leave the living room to get their hearts pumping and build core strength, balance, and flexibility.
Exergaming offers something for every type of young player: some games involve traditional sports, others encourage fitness through competition or adventure. Each option below is sure to get every member of your family off the couch and moving, regardless of their fitness level or skill set.
Kids can show off their killer moves in this virtual dance contest. Choose a song, then follow the onscreen dancer for points. Younger dancers can groove to tracks from classic films like Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast on Just Dance 1, while kids 11 and up will dig the pop-heavy track list of Just Dance 4, which includes Rihanna and
Nintendo Wii, PlayStation, Xbox 360, Kinect, $19.99-$29.99, All ages
Brooke Burke, co-host of “Dancing with the Stars” (and a mom of four),
guides players through more than 15 high-action sports games,
including boxing, volleyball, speed skating, and biking. Crank up the
adventure level by adjusting different settings that allow kids to compete underwater, on a farm, or in a foreign land.
Nintendo Wii, $29.99, All ages
Bike with Dora, then jump rope with the Backyardigans. Nick Fit is designed to get even the youngest kids moving, with inspiration from their favorite Nickelodeon characters. More than 30 games are available, and a special feature allows different activities to be looped together to create custom routines.Nintendo Wii, $19.99, ages 4 and up
Nintendo Wii, $97.95, ages 6 and up
6. Sports Champions 2™
Awesome 3D effects will make kids feel like they really are skiing down a snowy mountain or bowling for a strike. The six sports mini-games featured here, including high-energy boxing and more low-key archery, are a bit challenging at first, but that just means that players will keep coming back to try to score big.