Fun Pedometer Games and Activities for Kids

Make the most of that step-counter with these fun kids' pedometer activities.

Take big steps with kids pedometer activities
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On its own, a pedometer can be an effective motivating tool for adults; but for kids, pedometer games and activities help make movement even more fun. And since simple step-counters are inexpensive and easy to use, they're an excellent choice for kids. You can also check out activity trackers designed especially for kids (many of which come with built-in games). If your child is hoping for a fancier fitness wearable, you might start with a simpler, less expensive pedometer and see how much he uses it before upgrading.

Once your kids are equipped, try these pedometer projects together. They'll appeal to that inner competitor—or data geek—in all of you to encourage more daily activity, whether together or separately.

1. Set a Daily Step Goal

We've all heard that adults should try for 10,000 steps a day. Did you know that for kids, a better goal is 12,000 steps (or about 5 miles)? Move those little feet!

If your child is just starting out with a pedometer or does not usually accumulate this many steps in a day, set interim goals first and work up to the ultimate goal of 12,000 steps.

Otherwise, she may get frustrated and want to give up too quickly.

2. Take a Trip

How long would it take you to walk to Disney World, or New York City, or Fairbanks, Alaska? Use your pedometer to find out! Chart daily steps on a graph or map and aim for a lofty, distant goal. (To add some math learning to this activity, measure your child's stride length so you know exactly how many steps he takes per mile, then convert the mileage to your destination into steps.) You can also use the free logging tools at PE Central's Log It site for an activity like this. You might want to celebrate exciting milestones like reaching your 100,000th, or even 1,000,000th, step, too!

3. Check Special-Occasion Mileage

Be sure to have your kids clip on their pedometers on days when you know they'll be doing a lot of walking: when you go hiking, visit a theme park or zoo, or even head out for trick-or-treating.

4. Set up a Family Challenge

Turn step-tracking into a family game. You can choose to compete against each other or work together toward a common goal—whichever one is more motivating for your crew.

5. Try to Win a Prize.

With many pedometers and associated programs, steps (and other physical activity) magically turn into both virtual and real-life prizes. Accumulating points or other bonuses could be a joint family effort.

6. Predict the Future

See if you can guess how long it will take you to go 1,000 steps, or how many steps it is from your front door to your favorite slide at the park, or whether walking, running, or some other activities earn you the most steps. Get creative!

7. Go Orienteering

Parents will need to do some advance prep for this treasure hunt-style activity, but kids will love it. Plot out a course based on step count and landmarks, like this: "From the starting point, walk straight ahead about 150 steps. Then turn 90 degrees to the left and walk 40 steps ... " Award a simple prize (like a sticker) for completing the course.

8. Find a Geocache

Geocaching is another treasure hunt option, one that doesn't require advance prep (except for downloading the free Geocaching app). ​​

9. Play Tag

Running around in a good game of chase will definitely earn your child a lot of steps. You could even set up a contest to see which kind of tag yields the most steps. Try making predictions beforehand and then comparing your results after the games.

1 Source
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  1. Tudor-Locke C, Craig CL, Beets MW, et al. How many steps/day are enough? for children and adolescentsInt J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2011;8:78. doi:10.1186/1479-5868-8-78

By Catherine Holecko
Catherine Holecko is an experienced freelance writer and editor who specializes in pregnancy, parenting, health and fitness.