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A Fun Way to Get Kids Moving

These back-to-school days have been a whirlwind, but the one thing we’ve found that makes our kids consistently happy and grounded is movement. Along with Nike PLAYlist — a sports show, created for and starring kids, that lets them enjoy the fun side of sports by expressing themselves through activity — we wanted to share a little game we play…

I’m always suggesting to our kids that we take a walk, and they’re always dragging their feet. So! To make it exciting for them, we give them challenges.

For example, jump off something high! (And this Nike PLAYlist activity is all about jumping.)

Do a basketball move. This Nike PLAYlist video features LeBron James (!) playing a fun basketball game.

Climb up something (or you can use this Nike PLAYlist idea to help kids use their imagination and climb mountains indoors)…

Or do a cool dance with your feet! (This Nike PLAYlist video also has fun dances.)

We do challenges all over the place — on walks around the neighborhood, at the park, while waiting for the bus. My kids LOVE them. And, when we’re indoors, we can keep moving with Nike PLAYlist activities, like jumping around in the living room or doing a paper-scissors-rock workout game.

Another thing I’m grateful for are Nike clothes. Toby likes only soft clothing (he really hates anything scratchy or stiff), and these are soooo comfortable and well-fitting. Here, he’s wearing this sweatshirt, these pants and these shoes.

Anton is wearing this T-shirt, this sweatshirt, these shorts and these shoes. They’re also good for smoldering glances. :)

What outdoor activities do you do with the kids in your life? Have you tried Nike PLAYlist? (It’s going to be a lifesaver in the colder months.) I’d love to hear…

P.S. Going outside in the winter.

  1. Elise Anderson says...

    I’m very heartened to see the comments here about labor practices—and specifically those about labor practices in the context of China’s repression of Uyghurs, as I work on that issue professionally. I would love to connect COJ with some incredible Uyghur women working in human rights advocacy around the world, including on the issue of forced labor, because I think this could be a wonderful platform for their voices.

  2. M says...

    Wow kiddos are growing up so fast, anton on that fence is mega impressive!!
    Agree that this particular ad felt a little off from the usual COJ brand partnerships.
    If you read up on this crisis of uyghur muslim camps, it actually spans most fashion brands even HM, Zara, Gap etc. As well as major tech cos like Apple sony samsung etc. I think its so important to be an informed consumer and support local small busineses. I hope everyone here who is admonishing COJ for this parrnership will walk the talk and stop purchasing from these known offenders until those supply ties arr cutoff. Its very easy to sit in judgement of others but the only real gains are made when we turn the mirror on ourselves. I would love to hear about some such shops who ship internationally that we can support so we can actually take something productive away from this dialougue. Xoxo

  3. Erin says...

    I do support sharing ideas on how to keep kids (and ourselves) active. Some of things working for our family:
    – No screens during the scheduled break times, even for school work. Recess is recess, even if the adult schedules don’t allow for outside time.
    – Scavenger hunts / bingo games. There are tons on the internet. They will lose their novelty if overused, but I have a few on hand when they are particularly resistant.
    – Mapping apps. My kids really do go further when they can see their path at the end.
    – We are “walking to Grandma/Grandpa’s house”. I made a (stylized) map with 1-mile increments and family landmarks along the way, and they are tracking their miles. It’s been highly motivating for one of my three kids, who is the one most in need of motivation. If they walk together, the miles are multiplied, so she’s in turn a good motivator for the others.
    – When my kids were younger, “animal races” were very popular. They line up on one side of the yard, I call out an animal, and they race across as the animal.

  4. Jules says...

    1. Congrats, Joanna, on partnering with a huge brand. Cup of Jo is getting noticed more & more & that’s great!
    2. Others have listed the issues with Nike, don’t need to pile on.
    3. I think another issue with this is that people come here to learn about great, undiscovered, or not as big brands, at least I do & really appreciate it even if I can’t necessarily afford their items.
    4. Another thing to learn from this ad is that the incredibly obvious “NIKE” all over is a bit much. NIKE on the shirts, matching shorts, Nike shoes, “Nike playlist”, “Nike playlist”, “Nike playlist”. We know it’s an ad, but feels like a Nike punch in the face. Personally, I don’t buy things with brand names emblazoned across them. If you want me to advertise for you, you can pay me. ;-)
    5. Joanna, this diverse Cup of Jo community loves the blog & you. Even with these responses full of (constructive?) criticism that is plain to see. That’s a big deal, especially in the world today.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you so much for this feedback, Jules. And thank you to everyone who has weighed in below, I really appreciate it. We are thinking deeply about your comments and concerns. I always really, really appreciate hearing from you.

  5. .S. says...

    Echoing the concerns about Nike below and understanding that things have changed dramatically in the last six months, I wonder if the COJ team might consider/reconsider the idea of starting a Patreon? As a student I can’t always afford what’s being promoted (though I love the inspiration from apartment/house tours, Beauty Uniforms, and Week of Outfits!) and as a Canadian reader I’m rarely able to support the blog via affiliate links (ineligible for discount codes/sales/giveaways and often expensive shipping to Canada) but I would ABSOLUTELY contribute monthly to your Patreon. And I know from the comments sections of previous posts that there are a lot of folks who feel similarly about supporting the team directly!

    • WOW. Patreon is a great idea.

  6. Christina says...

    Joanna, I’m so disappointed that you are not addressing the negative comments here. Nike has been proven to exploit their workers, including children. This is hypocrisy at it’s finest. You constantly talk about social justice and human rights, yet you chose to partner with this company and then ignore your readers who call you out on it. It seems as though you only stand up for causes when it fits your political narrative.

  7. Chelsea says...

    I am so excited to share this with my boys! We have been struggling to find ways to keep them active in a playful way. Thank you!

  8. julie says...

    I agree. I don’t want to condemn you guys because I love this blog and I get you have to pay the bills, but I’m also a bit disappointed by this. I think an important part of anti-racism work is looking into the brands you support and get supported by. Racial oppression is unfortunately a very real thing in the Fashion industry.

    • Nadine says...

      Toby and Anton are very cute, and the pictures are great but I wanted to write with the same concern.
      The past months have been tough and I can’t imagine how hard it is to keep running the blog with the same frequency and thoughtfulness as before. I wish though that as Cup of jo you could screen and check your sponsors and affiliated links more. Nike has a long history of unethical labour that I wouldn’t want to support them. There are many more ethical brands that I’d rather encourage.
      Thank you for always listening to our concerns. xo

  9. Laura says...

    Anton and Toby are just adorable ( oh dear Anton is giant!) but NIKE Joanna?…what about labours rights?
    I just think you are great and I’m a huge fun of the blog through the years but I’m kind of miss your voice. CJ is so choral that I have to admit I miss the times of you and Caroline.
    Sending you a huge hug and thanks thanks thanks for all your love, good humour and sensitivity. You are one of a kind.

    • Jill says...

      I completely agree with Laura: As a long-time reader and big fan of this blog I miss Joanna’s contributions more and more. Regardless of how good the texts from the guest authors may be, the blog loses its ‘unique selling’ point due to the many contributions from different authors. This Nike-sponsored post shows me that the character of COJ is gradually diluted. If it was possible in the past to integrate advertising for selected products from ethically sound companies into an interesting article, this post with 16 links is very intrusive and all in all seems inconsistent.
      I realise that a lot has changed due to the Corona situation and that the blog has to switch to other sources of income. I also believe that good journalistic content does not have to be free and I for one would be very happy to pay for this blog. Have you ever thought about introducing a voluntary subscription or another payment system? You can see this more and more often in daily newspapers or other magazines: you are initially made aware of the possibility to pay for good content, but you can also read it for free if you cannot (or do not want to) pay. I would very much welcome this for COJ.

  10. Adrienne says...

    Only good thoughts for Toby and Anton, but wow, my first thought was they look so NOT like themselves here. Anton in Nike gear? I always loved that he wears cowboy boots and plays guitar. Totally get the need for sponsorship dollars. Just do not get this one. Kudos to Joanna for trying to make it work, though!

    • Hayley B says...

      Oh ya, I’d forgotten about their unique styles until you pointed that out! One other thing that I distinctly remember about Toby was how his dress sense was so awesomely old school — proper jackets, pants, fedoras/hats, and so on, especially in that post where he and Joanna went on their adorable “dinner date” together. You’re right, it did feel incongruous to see them in fitness wear. But I suppose children also outgrow their fashion phases, however adorable they might have been while they lasted.

    • Kathy says...

      I feel like telling a blogger that her children is not dressing “like themselves” is a bit presumptuous. We see Anton & Toby when Joanna is generous and kind enough to show them on the blog to the public. I don’t think we can presume to know what their style or fashion is as they’re both growing boys and tell their mother that she’s dressing them in a way that’s incongruous to their personalities. That’s a bit much in my opinion.

    • Adrienne says...

      Kathy, all due respect, but we’re seeing Anton and Toby here because Cup of Jo is sponsored by Nike, and we’re meant to buy Nike gear in response, not because Joanna is generous and kind enough to show us her kids. I wasn’t being presumptuous. I was just noticing that when the boys are depicted in more natural settings, they definitely don’t dress like this.

  11. Kelly says...

    Oh. My. Goodness. Your little boys have grown so much. And are so handsome! I haven’t seen them in a while and I literally out loud said “what precious boys!”. It makes me excited to see how my boys will grow (currently 2 and 5). I love seeing your family!

    • Hayley B says...

      I know, is that even Anton?! Like suddenly the little boy look (when he most resembled Michelle Williams) is gone. And Tony is SO long-limbed!! It’s insane how much they’ve grown up.

  12. Capucine says...

    We do Challenges too when out and about or waiting for the school bell to ring in the morning but I always give three instructions at once so they’re working on some thinking skills too. Like: “Touch a telephone pole, two things made of metal and something blue.” Then they run back and we high five. I teach kindergarten and do this with my kindergarten class in the gym too. They never tire of it!

  13. Tyler says...

    Hmm. Have been trying to put my finger on why this is so off-putting, especially when you’ve done sponsored posts featuring your children before and I haven’t had the same reaction. And I understand Nike uses child models so I suppose it’s no different. It’s more aggressively corporate I guess than what I’m used to seeing here.

    • Hayley B says...

      I wouldn’t call it off-putting exactly but I agree this post *does* feel more hurried and much more like an unabashed straight-up ad than the sponsored content of the past, which felt much more like their organic lifestyle posts. I guess maybe they didn’t have enough time to come up with a more creative angle?

      Also this is just conjecture on my part but I’d venture to guess that the heavy emphasis on the boys here might be an unpleasant reminder of the old mommyblogging days (before they started calling it social media influencing) and controversies of the past, when more than a few mommybloggers blatantly and often forcibly monetized their kids (even against their will) in service of the almighty ad dollar.

      In Jo’s defense, I’m not saying she’s doing the same or has ever done so before, but to me this post does fall a bit short of the high bar of authentic, thoughtful and genuinely engaging content that CoJ posts have set in the past.

  14. Lena says...

    I love this idea! My boys do not enjoy going on walks either but they sure do love jumping off of things and getting their zoomies out. My three boys are all about their Nike gear – sweatpants, dry fit shirts, socks and shoes are the favorites in our house.. I have purchased other brands for their shoes but they seem to fall apart sooner than the Nikes.

  15. Bets says...

    I love this blog and read it daily.
    I’m so disappointed you have chosen to partner with Nike, which is using the forced labor of Uighers (a Muslim minority group in China). I urge you to stop your partnership with Nike and bring attention to this human rights issue.

    • Bridgette Stone says...

      Agreed!

    • Karissa says...

      Great idea!

    • Christina M says...

      Absolutely! How sad that this isn’t something that is talked about more. And Lebron James fights for social justice (in the US) but willingly exploits this group. Shame on him. I guess it really is all about the money.

  16. JessicaD says...

    So, I know the last thing that everyone is looking to do is to encourage MORE screen time, but geocaching with kids is such a fun way to get them on the move outdoors and there seems to be a geocache just about anywhere you’d want to go — urban or rural; forest or city! My kids are just beyond the age where they’ll go out with me to treasure hunt, but it was such a fun activity for a really long time!

    • Reh says...

      We have just started geocaching with out boys- such a fun activity and one they have taken to with great enthusiasm. We have even hidden our own few caches which has been a great project to work on at home together. Can recommend!

    • Meg says...

      We LOVE geocaching! Sometimes it’s been hard for us to find something equally challenging and interesting for our 7 year old and 14 year old.

    • Amy says...

      Ooo great idea! What’s the age range for peak family geo-caching?

  17. Mallory says...

    We just brought home an e-bike that I can ride and my girls (4 and 7) can sit on in the back. The best part is that I can tow/stash their bikes and scooters, so together we can all ride on the big bike to someplace new and fun that their legs couldn’t otherwise make it to, and then we can all walk/scoot/ride once we get there. So much more fun than driving! We live on a huge hill in SF and even with electric assist, I get pretty sweaty making it to the top, so it’s more movement for everyone.

  18. Agnès says...

    I’ve learned that “let’s go for a walk” is never welcome! So I’ve used, during quarantine: let’s go for a treasure hunt; you have to find a list of things: something tiny, something blue, something from nature, something sharp, something soft, etc and you carry the treasure with you, like chocolate or something. Your children look really healthy!

    • Heather says...

      Oh this is so smart!

    • Meg says...

      We do this too! And when they bore of it I have them announce what I have to find! (It can be legit hard.) They think it’s so silly haha.

    • Lizzie says...

      Man, kids these days are very lucky in how much effort some parents go to to keep them entertained. I’m jealous! In my entire childhood I never had a single personalized play activity conducted by my parents (ie. a treasure hunt.). I guess church or camp provided those things for kids as groups, but my parents sure didn’t.
      It seems super, super fun for the kids, but I also wonder what it’s like for parents to take on the responsibility of preventing their child’s boredom. I think that for me, as a child, sitting with the ordinariness of daily life (and certainly not complaining to adults about it) might have helped further develop my internal world. Or at least helped me understand that good times and entertainment aren’t my birthright.

      All this said, activity playlists seem like a fantastic way to get out and move! I just love this idea.

  19. Laura says...

    My son (age 8) asked for a grabber for his birthday. He was gifted one and loves to go on what he has dubbed “trash walks.” It’s pretty much as it sounds — we bring a trash bag and he uses the grabber to pick up trash! It’s great fun for him, an easy / kid friendly community service project, and an opportunity to talk about caring for the environment and taking pride in the place we live. He gets pretty excited to go on these walks, especially if he walks in to the woods a little and unearths a bottle, etc. Ha!

    • Mallory says...

      I love this and want to adopt this idea with my girls!

    • margaux says...

      i love this so much.

    • Ellen says...

      That is so funny, my 19 year old son ordered one of those for himself before heading back to the city apartment where he is living while distance learning. I’ll have to text him and ask if he’s made much use of it!

    • Allie says...

      Haha, this is exactly what my 88-year-old grandmother is into these days! She tells me about the trash grabber every time we’re on zoom (she doesn’t realize she’s repeating herself, so I think of it as ultra-honesty;)

  20. Anna says...

    So is this sponsored? I couldn’t tell for sure ?

    • Adrien says...

      This is the best comment. I laughed out loud.
      Thanks xx

  21. Sonja says...

    So fun! I’m going to check this out.
    To make our son (almost 5!) more excited for walks (which he LOVES once he’s out the door and then makes us break a sweat because he’s ready to run a 5k at all times) we make a list of things to look for: a yellow car, a cat, a fire hydrant. First one to spot it, wins!
    Also, because I have a bougie baby – bath bombs. He loves to take baths with bath bombs so we tempt him with them, “When we get home you can take a bomb bath!” Works like a charm.

    • Shelley says...

      Haha yes my boys both love bath bombs as well. Or at least color tablets! But a bath bomb is even better. They have to switch who gets to toss it in each day.

  22. Natasa says...

    I’ve just heard today that because of pandemic the children obesity has increased for 20% over the last year. The regular movement is so important!!

  23. Kiana says...

    Such sweet faces to brighten our day! My daughter (4) loves anything outside but my son (8) is also a foot dragger. I come up with challenges too: you must find something shiny/ two identical things/ something that you can use to attack a monster etc. If that doesn’t work, we always have Pokémon go :)))
    Also try go noodle videos on YouTube if you can’t go out.

  24. Sara says...

    Two words: Cosmic Kids Yoga. Wait… :)
    Regardless, my kids LOVE it and I’m planning on leaning on it HARD during the winter months indoors. You can find videos on You Tube and there is a subscription option if you’re looking for more (I wanted to support Jaime because I basically love her).

    • Melanie says...

      I second this. My kids (4 and 5) are mesmerized by Cosmic Kids.

    • Sarah says...

      I work for Nike so i love this post. I also LOVE cosmic kid yoga and so does my 3 year old. Been using it regularly since covid lockdown started.

  25. Abbie says...

    This is such a helpful topic! We are struggling with movement for our kids right now. It’s still so hot in Florida and they’re on the computer all day :(.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      it’s so tough! I get it! we have the same problem in the colder months.

  26. Jess says...

    Anton’s blue steel moment in that last photo! Gah!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha he held that pose for so long! loved it. :)

  27. Maryann says...

    I love this idea. Last spring, inspired by her teacher, my 11 yo daughter organized a “Family Olympics” with events ranging from balancing on one foot, hula hoop, scooter, hop scotch, rock-paper-scissors, who can send a text the fastest, etc. We all participated and kept score of who won which event, and the parents versus kids aspect was funny and intense. It was epic, and kind of like the real Olympics with triumphs, underdogs, cheating scandals, and injuries (all minor!). Not to brag… but I won silver overall.

    • K says...

      Love this. As a kid we had “kid olympics” with our neighborhood friends. The kids organized all the challenges and at night all the parents came over to sit in lawn chairs and watch the competition.

  28. kiki says...

    the t-shirt tucked into the basketball shorts is about as East Coast as it gets. I LOVE it! So cute!

  29. Kat van der Hoorn says...

    I find it very disconcerting to have children advertising Nike products, when Nike has a known history of child labor, and still has abhorrent labor practices, still paying poverty wages to it’s employees while paying millions to their spokespeople and maintaining a revenue of $37.2 billion in 2019. It’s so easy to say “other people’s children” but there is no such thing in my book. I am a devoted, daily reader of COJ and have been for many years, and have largely stayed out of commenting on sponsored posts, as I understand your need to pay your employees and I fully support you in earning a joyful, abundant revenue. But of all the companies who are out there truly trying to do good, or at least not actively cultivating harm, to choose a brand like Nike to partner with brings up feelings of disappointment and sadness.

    • Bets says...

      Yes! I agree completely. Thank you for posting this.

    • Emma Brett says...

      I completely agree with this comment, thanks for raising it. I understand the need to have sponsored posts, but this one feels very uncomfortable. These posts are a form of advertising and I’d be more supportive if they highlighted some of the many companies out there trying to make a difference, and not causing harm through their practices.

    • Sarah says...

      Hi! I’m a Nike employee. I had nothing to do with this post at COJ, but it made my day to see it! I’d love to challenge your perception of our company. Please check out this site. https://purpose.nike.com/ And if you have time, Phil Knight’s autobiography Shoe Dog was great and engaging. I can honestly tell you that we truly care about doing the right thing and making the world a better place. I’ve worked here 10 years so far and I’m incredibly proud of what we’re doing.

    • R Donnelly says...

      Thank you for articulating my disappointment so eloquently.

    • Meg says...

      @sarah – thanks for chiming in! I really appreciated your note and hope to be more educated on the topic.

    • Pamela says...

      Absolutely agree. This post was a big needle scratch. What the … why? I’m noticing responses to many comments and questions, but not to any of the ones expressing disappointment.

    • SARAH says...

      @ Em – you might miss the response from Nike about this. https://purpose.nike.com/statement-on-xinjiang. Again, I’m just a normal employee whose worked here for 10 years and can say with 100% certainty that this company, made up of diverse passionate people, deeply care about the world and the people that inhabit it.

    • SARAH says...

      @Meg – :) Thanks for taking the time to acknowledge what I dropped in here.

  30. Sophia Kiser says...

    Oh my gosh, they have gotten so big and are SO CUTE. Ahhh. My heart. ♥️

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I know!!!! Sob!

  31. when we go for walks, I play red light, green light with my 4 year old. He still loves it and asks to play all the time. We also add other ‘colors’ or lights to keep it interesting:
    yellow = go super slow
    blue = walk backwards

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Love that :)

    • Karleen says...

      We play this all the time too. My favorite light that we added is, “disco light”, which means you’ve got to stop and dance!

  32. Laura says...

    LOL at the smoldering glances! I came here to say Anton is such a heartbreaker with those sweeping blonde locks!!

  33. celeste says...

    Our little hometown health club’s indoor pool is basically deserted, so we go once a week. There is something about lifting up your kids in the water that’s bonding. (No judgment, please, I want to support them with my dues and they sanitize a ton.)

    I just bought my son a yoga mat for YouTube workouts too. Love how you personalized this sponsored post and hope the boys are doing well!

    • Marcy Cameron says...

      Celeste, no judgement and I get it. I went swimming with my family a few months ago and as soon as he saw the pool, my 7-year old nephew shrieked with joy “Water! Water!!! WATER!!!!!!!” Even the lifeguard laughed. I didn’t realize how much he had missed it, and the normalcy of a summer activity.

    • Kelli says...

      Yes to the magic of water! Our community pool is allowing small, bubble family group bookings. We have been going every Sunday in September with a few neighbours and all of the kids have a blast!

  34. Lora says...

    My brother works for Nike so we have a few sets of their clothes for our daughters. They are always the favorite outfits in terms of comfort!

    Also, wanted to note that Yoga with Adrienne started a Yoga PE series for kids/pandemic life and it has been fun for my little girl! Another option for helping kids move around if they are stuck inside more than they (and you) want to be.

    • Jess says...

      Yes, I love yoga with Adrienne! I tried cosmic yoga with my little but we like Adrienne’s more gentle pace (plus Benji the dog). In August, missing the games and tired of a bleak tv landscape, I started rewatching some Olympics events on their youtube channel. Highly recommend! It’s somehow both calming and inspiring to see people at the top of their game, doing what they love.

    • Anna says...

      Ooh, this is so good to know re: yoga with Adrienne! Cosmic Kids is too frenetic for us, too.

  35. Christina says...

    My sons have kickbikes, which makes going for walks a lot more fun – although I might prefer not to watch when they both ride together on one, or jump on and off whilst moving…… (the boys are 12 and 15).