Sunday, January 5, 2014

Family Fitness BINGO!

I feel as if I am constantly fighting a battle to get my family off the couch, away from their electronics and on the move.  Eating healthy is an entirely different battle - one that frustrates me to my core!  As a result, I am always on the look out for creative fun ways to get my family active and eating healthier.  Inspiration struck after reading the January Challenge for my Moms Run This Town group (Thanks to our great leader - Melanie Fleming!) . . . Family Fitness BINGO!

 Simple, Fun, and as inexpensive as I wanted to make it!  The goal: Keep you family moving and thinking, at least a little bit, about making healthy choices.  Here is how it works:

1) Create individualized BINGO cards for each member of your family.  Post them somewhere in your home where they will seen often. 

In my family we are all at very different fitness levels so there are activities on each card that can be done as an individual, but also ones that can be done together.  For example, my son JJ is currently playing in two basketball leagues.  There are squares on his card that say "Have 2 basketball practices in 1 day."  My daughter Ellie is much less active.  There are squares on her card that say "March in place during the commercials of 1 TV show."  My husband Jamison and my cards have activities that match the kids - "Shoot free throws with JJ" and "Kick a ball with Ellie."   There are also family squares such as "walk around the block."  I included healthy eating on the cards, too - "Eat fresh fruit," "Drink water ALL day" and "Have carrots for a snack."  It did not take me long to create the cards.

Close-up of Ellie's card.
I posted my family's cards on the side of a kitchen cabinet.

2) Come up with prizes.
This is where you can make this as free or expensive as you want.  My family is on a tight budget so I actually spent more time thinking about the prizes then creating the cards. 
Normally, I try not to use food as a reward, but in this case I am.  My family LOVES ice cream!  My husband and I had talked about not wanting to have ice cream in the house that much seeing as it is such a HUGE temptation for everybody, so an ice cream treat is the perfect reward.  I made coupons redeemable for one ice cream treat.  When you get your first BINGO, you will get an ice cream coupon.  (I bought the ice cream at the grocery yesterday.  It is wrapped in a bag and hidden in the back of the freezer.  No cheating Jamison!)  I did not keep this prize a secret.
I also created a prize for when my family covers half of their cards to help keep them motivated throughout the entire month.  Each of them have special things that they enjoy that we don't do often due to our tight budget.   For Ellie, I stopped at our favorite frozen yogurt place and got a $5 gift card.  JJ loves Little Caesar's Hot-n-Ready Pizza so I got him a $5 gift card to Little Caesar's for a pizza to share.  Jamison loves Chinese food so I got him a $10 gift card to our local Chinese restaurant where he can treat himself to fried rice for lunch.  These gift cards and a homemade certificate of accomplishment are in individual sealed envelopes that can't be open until the goal is achieved.  (I have to confess that as I am typing this I am cringing a little bit - my prizes are not that healthy!)
Finally - the GRAND PRIZE!  I am SO excited for this one.  If all FOUR of us can cover our BINGO cards by the end of the game, we are going to play LASER TAG!!  I have a fourth sealed envelope that already has the money set aside with money for 6 people (The kids can each bring a friend.) to play laser tag, hit the arcade and get a snack from the snack bar. This will be a HUGE treat for my tight-budget-living-family (and hopefully I am correct that none of them read my blog - otherwise I just blew it.)!   

There is so much room to be creative with your prizes.  They can be free - play your favorite board game, watch the movie of your choice, winner picks the dinner menu.  Completely non-food related - a manicure, new socks (This one may sound silly, but JJ is constantly asking for a new color of Elite Basketball socks!), trip to a movie.  It's up to you how you want to organize the prizes.  It's also up to you if you want to keep the prizes a secret or let your family know what they are working toward.  My family is driven by the anticipation of not knowing what is in those envelopes!
3) Determine your time frame.
I am giving my family four weeks plus one day to completely fill their BINGO cards - January 4th thru February 1st.  That's 29 days to complete 24 activities so there is obviously room for missed days.  I think we can handle that!
4) Introduce the BINGO Game and the rules to your family.
The rules are simple:
1. Complete all 24 activities on your BINGO card within the given time frame.
2. You can only check off one square a day even if you do more than one activity.
3. The fact the you already crossed off a square should not stop you from completing an activity listed in another square on that same day (Ellie tried to find a loophole and not eat the cut-up apple I gave her with dinner since she had already crossed of "Eat Fresh Fruit" when she ate an orange with her lunch.).
All that is left to do is dive in and have fun.  Your enthusiasm and dedication to the project will set the tone or you entire family. 
If all goes as I think it will, you'll hear us shouting BINGO I'll be sharing pictures from Extreme Laser Storm in four weeks!

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