Grade-schoolers need at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day (or a minimum of at least three times a week), so it's important to give your child lots of opportunities to get physical (and burn lots of energy) by running, jumping, climbing, skipping, and exploring his world. However, you may not need to take extra steps to make sure your child gets plenty of exercise. Kids this age are so active — with all the chasing, wrestling, and dancing they do — that they usually get the exercise they need just from going about their daily routine. Check to see that your child's school provides recess and plenty of space to run and play.
By now, most kids have grown out of their baby fat. If you're worried about your grade-schooler's weight, talk to his pediatrician. If you just think your child is too sedentary, replace quieter activities (playing computer games and watching TV) with more energetic ones (riding a bike or roller blading). And make sure you get active with him as much as you can. Play tag in the backyard, play kickball at a nearby field, or take a brisk after-dinner walk together.
On the weekends, make sure some family outings are active ones (for instance, hiking,swimming at the local pool, sledding in the park, or riding on a bike trail) instead of sedentary ones, such as taking a drive. Since kids this age love to be around their friends, invite some pals over to splash in the pool or run through the sprinklers. Or bundle them up to go sledding or have a snowball fight. Grade-schoolers still enjoy going to the playground with good buddies to slide, swing, climb, and chase each other. If your child seems interested in signing up for a team sport, go ahead and let him. Just make sure that the main focus is on making fitness fun and developing skills — not producing a world-class athlete or burying the competition.