My first organized exercise experience was in 1985 (I was 12 years old), and my mom brought me to Jazzercise with her! I actually remember the facility clear as it were yesterday. The Olivia Newton John records were playing and all the housewives wore leotards with tights and leg warmers! Ha ha.. formal exercise sure has evolved over the last thirty years. And these days it’s more fun than ever!
The opportunities for kids to be active today would make any kid have a hard time agreeing that they were actually exercising- in fact, I guarantee they would just say they had a blast being active! It was easy to find crazy races for naked people, extreme distances, and all you can eat donuts, but I wanted to find some for my kids! Adults shouldn’t have ALL the fun!
- The Idea: Zombies chase participants through obstacles, in the dark- and hopefully under a full moon.
- Is it fun? Yes (mostly for pre-teen boys).
- Is it for kids? Yes, The Zombie Chase has a race specifically for kids that is cheaper, shorter, and less scary. The regular zombie race still is a 3 mile run, and if you choose to run in the dark, you may have kids that will be too scared for this. If you are concerned, definitely go for the kids version!!
- The one we are doing is THIS SATURDAY! If you want to sign up, use the coupon code superhealthykids for $10 off the regular registration. Registration for the kids race is only $12.
2) The Dirty Dash (or other Mud Runs)
- The idea: Race through an obstacle course filled with mud puddles and climbing apparatuses.
- Is it fun? Yes! (unless your kids have an aversion to mud- which some do!
- Is it kid friendly? I saw kids of ALL ages there! The 5K “race” had a ton of walking. It really didn’t feel like a race at all, more like an “event”, considering you had to take turns through the obstacles. It was slow moving, which was a perfect pace for my kids. And I love that they had a photo booth so we could get this picture below!!
3) The Foam Run
- The idea: Race through an obstacle course filled with foam.
- Is it fun? Holy Cow! Just watch the promo video! My kids watched that and are freaking out already about going to it! They’ve got a ton of locations all over the United States, but they have some as soon as this weekend, so sign up right away.
- Is it for kids? Their website says 9years old and up! They really need a shorter course for kids 9 and under! I think it would be HUGELY popular!
4) The Color Run- Color Me Rad
- The Idea: Regular running race while huge clouds of colored corn starch are being thrown at you.
- Is it fun? If you have a mirror or a camera, I think the kids enjoy seeing how they look!
- Is it for kids? Kids are encouraged, there are many, and 7 and under run for free!
- The idea: Regular triathlon events: Swimming, bike, and running, but usually super short. The one we did was 1 lap in the pool, 1 mile bike ride and 1/2 mile run. All races will vary. (this is the one we did, back in 2009)
- Is it fun? An all kids triathlon is a blast! The atmosphere is not competitive, but instead just fun!
- Is it for kids? Only for kids!
6) Running for food &The Chocolate Run
- The idea: I had a reader ask on facebook one day how I get my kids to participate in races, so I asked them. You know what my oldest said? For the food! Ha ha.. Sometimes, it’s just bananas and oranges, but sometimes we find some fun ones, like a cookie run (cookie buffet at the end), and although we’ve never been, there is a chocolate run! I also found in my googling: Twinkie run and Krispy Kreme run- Barf- I can handle cookies, but Twinkies and Donuts makes me want to throw up!
- Is it fun? My kids think it is!
- Is it for kids? The Chocolate run does have a Mini Chocolate Race for kids!
7) Glo Run
- The Idea: Run, at night, in the dark, wearing glow bracelets, clothes that glow when you run through black lights, and all sorts of neon stuff.
- Is it fun? Yes! If your kids can stay up late enough, they will love the atmosphere of these runs.
- Is it for kids? Yes- there is no age limit, walking is allowed, however strollers are not allowed.
8) Costumed Races
- The idea: Dress up in crazy costumes and run! There are Halloween races, Turkey trots, Princess races, Disney races, super hero races, even Santa races!
- Is it fun? Meh- it’s fun to see everyone’s costumes, but generally it’s just a run.
- Is it for kids? Depends on the race, I wouldn’t take my kids to the underwear race!! But I have taken them to a Halloween one!
9) Race for Charity
- The idea: Help kids be aware of needs around them! We love to run local races to raise money for our school, raise money for cancer, or other noble charities. It’s a great opportunity to talk to your kids about giving and giving back!
- Is it fun? YES! If you make it fun!
- Is it for kids? You can find ones that are. Our elementary school obviously has a distance specifically for kids!
10) Adventure Races!
- The idea: Combine everything! Obstacles, scavenger hunts, and challenges and you have an adventure race. The Urban Dare, Vail Kids Adventure Race, Spartan Kids!! (didn’t know they had this!), Racing Humans, Hero Rush Jr
- Is it fun: Oh man- if I could afford this one, I think it would be a blast!
- Is it for kids: YES! The ones I linked above ARE for kids!
So step outside your comfort zone this year! Teach your kids from a very young age that exercise is not drudgery, boring, or horrible. Kids who participate in fun adventures like these are the ones who grow up to be active spontaneously and for FUN!!
Do you know of any more? I KNOW there has to be more fun races, but I’ve googled every way I could think of to find these… PLEASE COMMENT!!
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie