Fitness is not just for athletes.
Is spending quality time with the couch your fallback plan for down time? Playing video games, watching a cool show, texting your friends (check out how these boys used texting for good)—all that can be fun, but sitting around the whole evening not really doing much makes you feel…blah.
But what if you want to be more physically active, but organized sports and hitting the gym aren’t your thing?
Well, good news! You don’t have to be an Olympic sprinter or a champion bodybuilder to be active. There are fun, creative activities all around you that don’t require you to be an athlete to enjoy.
So step away from the couch and make some awesome memories! Here are 40 fun activities that are too fun not to try.
On Your Own
1. Be a tourist—in your own hometown!
Walk around your neighborhood and explore places you’ve never been before. Take pictures of the cool things you see. Bring along a family member or friend for safety if needed.
2. Master a new skill!
Perfect a swan dive. Try a new trick on a skateboard, figure out how to ride a unicycle, or learn a new gymnastic move or a trick on the trampoline (use a spotter for safety).
3. Learn a traditional dance from another country
There’s the Japanese bon odori dance, the Hawaiian hula, or the Russian tropak. You can find a dance class at your local community center or find instructional videos on the Internet. Then teach your friends!
4. Build something!
Learn how to make a bird feeder, a bookshelf, or another simple project. Sanding, hammering, and painting can really work up a sweat—and at the end of it you have something amazing you made! If you’re not sure how to go about it by yourself, ask someone to teach you or look it up online.
5. Leave the car keys at home
Walk or ride your bike someplace you usually drive or take public transit to (make sure the route is safe and that your family knows where you’re going). Your city will look so different! You can also listen to a conference talk while you walk.
With a Group
6. Play broomball
It’s like hockey but with brooms and a ball instead of sticks and a puck.
7. Do a photo scavenger hunt
Get together with your friends or Mutual group and make a list of things to get pictures of around your neighborhood—a drinking fountain, a dog, a green car, the number 9. Then race to see which team can get them the fastest.
8. Gather up friends for an evening of group games
Kick-the-can, red rover, hide-and-seek, sardines, capture the flag, etc. (Look them up online if you don’t know them.)
9. Tag something besides social media pics.
Play classic tag and then freeze tag, snake tag, reverse tag, friendship tag, and even make up your own version!
10. Join a recreational league
You can join through your local community center or city’s department of recreation. It’s a low-pressure way to learn or enjoy a sport—fewer games, low-key practices, and lots of beginners.
11. Have a ball playing kickball!
To cool off on a hot day, use kiddie pools as bases and a slip-n-slide to splash into home. Or instead of kicking the ball, bunt it with a bat or tennis racket.
12. Treasure hunts!
Divide into teams and make treasure hunts for each other by writing clues on sticky notes and placing them around your house, yard, or neighborhood. Then exchange the first clue and see who can find the treasure the fastest!
13. Do an activity scavenger hunt.
Make a list of things each team has to do, like singing a specific song to a stranger, blowing a bubblegum bubble, or finding a common last name at a cemetery. Then set a time limit and see who can do the most.
14. 30-minute dance party.
Break out your best beats and host a 30-minute dance party. Or 15-minute. Or 60-minute. Just get moving! (Check out the Youth Activities page for even more ways to get active with a group.)
With Your Family
15. Turn your yard or nearby park into an obstacle course
Time each racer and see how fast you can: hula-hoop 10 times, run to the tree, do five cartwheels, go down the slide, crab-walk to the swings, etc.
16. Make up your own sport!
Anyone up for a little LaFoosketball? (That’s lacrosse, foosball, and basketball combined.)
17. Build a fort
You know you miss forts. Build one for you and your siblings to enjoy. Grab some blankets and boxes for an indoor bunker, or take them outside for an outdoor hideaway!
18. Play charades backwards
One person guesses while the rest of your family acts out the clue.
19. Lend a hand with household projects.
Stain a fence or deck, paint a wall, re-caulk a shower, or help with another project. It’s surprisingly satisfying—and your parents will thank you. It may be more fun than you think, too.
20. Learn a game from another culture and teach it to your family.
You could start with Ampe, a game from Ghana, or Di Bi Di Bi Dip, a Korean game.
21. Have a water fight, liquid or snow!
Fill up water balloons, make snowballs, play in the sprinklers, or pull out the water guns.
22. Go fruit picking!
A lot of places will let you pick berries or harvest your own fruit for free. Eat what you gather, or learn how to make a pie or to can the fruit.
23. Explore nature!
Find cool waterfalls, scenic views, hikes, or walks near your area. On some hikes you can even set up camp and stay the night!
24. Release your inner architect!
Build a sand castle or a snow fort.
25. Plant a garden and take care of it.
It can be especially fun to plant vegetables—you get to eat the results of your exercise.
26. Don’t like getting hot and sweaty? Go swimming!
Learn how to dive, try out different strokes, or play pool games like sharks and minnows.
27. Pull out your old jump ropes for some great exercise.
You can learn to do new things, like jumping double Dutch, or challenge your friends to see who can learn the coolest jump-rope trick.
28. Take advantage of the Internet for exercise!
Find online videos for yoga, aerobic kickboxing, or other fitness activities that you like, and make your favorite exercise a regular part of your day. You could even create your own videos to help teach others your favorite exercise.
29. Rearrange the furniture!
See your bedroom or another room in a new way, and you’ll get a workout at the same time! Just make sure your parents are OK with it and that you get help if you’re moving heavy objects.
30. Keep doing what you’re doing—just add some multitasking.
Stretch a little while you’re reading a book or playing video games, or lift weights while watching TV. You can make your own weights by filling up water jugs or finding something else heavy to use.
31. Make bread by hand.
You’ll be surprised by how much you’ll work your muscles while pounding the dough.
32. Go to a museum!
You can actually do a lot of walking as you look around, and you can stretch your legs and your mind at the same time!
33. Add your own theme music!
Put on your tunes while you get ready in the morning or do your chores.
34. Race your friends up the stairs instead of taking the elevator!
35. Get out on the dance floor.
Take up ballroom, country swing, folk, or another style of dance. (One young man turned this into service by waltzing with the widows.)
36. Find simple service you can do locally.
Help someone elderly in your neighborhood with their yard, go pick up trash at a park (wear protective gloves), or paint over graffiti with the owner’s permission. If you’re with a group, try a service scavenger hunt.
37. Organize a mini Olympics for the kids in your neighborhood!
For instance, a decathlon could include events like a paper-plate discus throw and a relay race using a water balloon as the pass-off baton.
38. Walk the dog … doesn’t have to be your own!
Volunteer to take your neighbor’s dog for a walk, or visit your local animal shelter or humane society—they’re always looking for someone to play with the pets.
39. Help build stuff in your community!
Find service organizations, or find a way to help build new play areas in a park or school nearby.
40. Participate in a local fund-raising run.
You can challenge yourself and work up to run it, or even just walk it to help the cause.
Share your experience
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This article originally appeared in the May 2015 New Era.