Kids love to move. After all, playgrounds provide an infinite source of exercise in the form of play. And most outdoor games require some form of exercise—often running—like tag, hide and seek, and hopscotch.
Regular exercise for kids has a host of health benefits, not unlike those for adults, including stronger muscles and bones, decreased risk of chronic health conditions, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and improved mood, according to KidsHealth.org.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that children ages 6 to 17 years old do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
To get (or keep!) your kids excited about regular exercise, we’ve rounded up our favorite items.
What kid doesn’t love a good competition? The FitBit Ace 2 tracker makes it easy for little ones to hit that 60-minute daily activity recommendation with a customizable goal. In addition to movement reminders, sleep tracking, and kids-only view on the app, FitBit Ace 2 has active incentives like virtual badges, to stay moving and compete with friends.
No more “but it’s cold and rainy” excuses for staying inside all day, thanks to the Patagonia Baggies Jacket. It’s light enough for running and other outdoor activities, while still fending off rain and wind. Like adults, kids have stuff to carry and the Baggies jacket has hand and chest pockets for the essentials.
The perfect hoodie for little runners (and their friends).
“Let’s race!” How many times have you heard kids yell that to each other? Whether they’re logging miles at recess or playing in the yard, these running shoes deliver on speed, comfort, and durability. Adults love the Fresh Foam line from New Balance, making them the perfect option for active kids. (Unfortunately, adults don’t have the option for lace-less in rainbow colors.)
Socks can make or break good, hard play. Ditch the worries for blisters or sweaty feet with Bombas youth socks. The calf and ankle variety pack means different sock lengths for comfort and activity.
Daily Calories Calculator Bobbi Gibb, the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon (as an unregistered runner), disproving the notion that girls and women can’t run long distances. Kids of all ages will love this book with gorgeous illustrations and a catchy mantra.
It’s probably no surprise that there was a time when women were scared away from riding a bike just as they were from running long distances. Girls and women who rode bikes were at risk for “bicycle face,” a made-up condition said to be caused by overexertion, the upright position, and the effort to maintain balance.
This children’s book tells the story of a girl who sets out to disprove “bicycle face” and show girls everywhere that they can do anything the boys can do.
Active kids need nourishing, tasty fuel. Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars are made with whole grains and real fruit for a snack that will keep little ones moving. One serving is a two-pack bar. But like all things sweet—these have 14 grams of added sugar—enjoy in moderation and balance with other healthy snacks like fruits and veggies.
As we continue to live in a Brave New World of mask-wearing, it’s important kids have comfortable, breathable masks for their activity. Boco Gear is a top-rated mask for running and the Colorado-based company makes kids sizes, too. They’re lightweight and come in fun designs. For additional protection, Boco Gear masks also have an interior pocket for filters.
For toddlers who are starting out on the bike, fellow test editors with kids highly recommend Woom (for helmets, too). Unlike other balance bikes, Woom has a handbrake to help kids get comfortable going fast and slowing down. Once your kiddo gets moving, have him or her ride alongside you while you log miles on foot. Win-win!
Keep hair back with this simple headband thanks to its gel underside (no slipping!). Bonus: It comes with a hair tie.
Pack a healthy lunch whether it’s for the cafeteria or a backyard picnic with this trendy bento box, made with food-safe ABS plastic and without BPA or phthalates. The silicone lid creates a leakproof seal (but won’t contain liquids like soup). The latch is easy to open for small hands, and the removable tray makes it effortless for grownups to clean.
Let your littlest kids take charge of their hydration with a mini CamelBak that holds 50 ounces of water, perfect for bike rides and hikes. Just like the grownup version, the mini pack is comfortable, easy to use, and has plenty of storage for gear and treasures.
Good gear means a good workout for kids, too. These no-frills mesh shorts are breathable and come in colors other than pink—refreshing, right?
For warmups, workouts, or an old-fashioned game of tag, kids will love these slim-fit training pants that won’t impede movement.
Athletes everywhere love Aftershokz headphones, which sit above the ears and transmit sound through bone conduction. That means they don’t block your ears and make it easy to hear sounds around you. The mini size is good for smaller heads, while still delivering crisp sound.