Child holding box over head

Originally written by Sam Watson, functional movement coach with Teach Workout Love

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents have been struggling with ideas as to how to keep the kids off their devices and keep them active whilst at home. It’s important to make exercises to do at home fun for kids. It should feel more like a game than actually working out. The term I like to use is “active play.”

Try and get your kids involved in some kind of active play for at least 10 minutes a day.

This not only helps keep them fit and healthy but will also encourage good exercise habits. This means that they’ll be more likely to continue and participate in a regular fitness routine as they grow older.

1. Run Animal Races

Kids can have a ton of fun participating in races. Standard running races are fine if you have space. Just set a start and finish line (which could be the length of the hallway or a room) with enough space for them to decelerate. You can even switch things up too with different variations such as skipping, hopping on one leg, quick feet (running in small steps as fast as you can), and heel kicks (kicking alternating heels towards the bottom with each step).

If this isn’t fun enough then why not try something a bit different with some animal races. Start by selecting some different animals (demonstrating how the move if necessary). Then get your kids to race by acting out the movements of that animal (no running allowed!). Some ideas include waddling like a duck, hopping like a bunny, wriggling like a worm, and crawling like a bear.

If you have multiple participants involved, then you can turn the races into relay races with each runner having to complete a series of runs/movements as part of a team.

2. Create an Obstacle Course

Who doesn’t love a good obstacle course? Your kids will be delighted to see your front room transformed into their very own play course. Items like tunnels, hula hoops, bean bags, and buckets work great for this sort of thing. But don’t worry if you don’t have some of these at home as you can use any of your household items to help layout your course.

Try laying a blanket on the floor and have your kids army crawl underneath it. Lay out makers on the floor of areas where they are allowed to step to make it to the next obstacle. Or have them balance a bean bag on their head while walking across a path you created. Things like this. You can get as creative as you like.

Even if you only have a small space you can set up stages where a specific task has to be completed before they can move on to the next.

Some examples of things you can do include, throwing a ball into a laundry basket and catching balls with either the hands or in an item such as a plastic bowl. Stand on one leg for 30 seconds, perform 10 jumping jacks or have them dribble in and out of cones (or any time you have available).

3. Go on a Treasure Hunt

A good old treasure hunt is always fun and super simple to organize. Try hiding toys or your kid’s favorite treats around the house and send them off to search. If you want to go a step further, try writing out some clues or a puzzle for them to solve before they are told which are to look. 

4. Get Up and Dance

Another simple option that is fun for both you and your kids to get in your daily cardio activity. Just put some music on start to shake a leg. With dancing, the more the merrier, so why not get the whole family involved. You can even make a game of it by playing musical statues or musical chairs. Dim the lights, crank up the music and have your very own dance party (strobe lights and glow sticks optional).

5. Try Hula-Hooping

It’s a well-known fact that kids love hula hoops. I don’t know why but when one is in sight a child is compelled to pick it up. Mystical powers aside, hula hoops can be used for lots of fun activities besides actual hula-hooping (which is physically challenging and entertaining enough as it is). You can skip with them by jumping through the hoop and rotating it over your head, use them as a target for throwing games, or my favorite, use them to create a hoop maze.

This is where you lay a number of hoops out on the floor next to each other. You then draw a sequence to get through the maze on a piece of paper. The aim is to make it from the beginning to the end of the maze, using every hoop in the correct sequence that you created. If your child steps in the wrong hoop, they have to go back to the beginning and try again. Great fun and an awesome memory game. 

6. Follow the Leader

With this activity, you take turns with your kids being the leader. The leader is in control of the movements. Whichever movements the leader performs, the followers have to copy. This can be a fun way to exercise. Try movements such as star jumps, running on the spot, and squats to get your kids active. I’m sure the creative moves your kids will come up with will have you out of breath in no time.

7. Tag Me if You Can

Another activity that proves we enjoy the simple things in life is a game of tag. Tag can go on for far longer than intended with no one wanting to be left as the chaser.  I’m sure everyone knows how to play tag but just in case, I’ll explain. Start off by chasing your children. When you catch someone (tag them) they now have to do the chasing until they catch you or someone else.

If you have enough players a variation you can try is ‘Stuck-in-the-Mud’. The same rules apply but if you are tagged then you have to stand still with your legs open. If another player crawls through your legs, then you are free and can participate again. The game ends when the chaser has tagged all the players.

8. Unwind with Yoga and Stretching

Try out some different yoga poses with your kids. Yoga is a great way to help them stretch and experiment moving their bodies in different ways, exploring more ranges of movement than what they are probably used to. Some of my favorite poses include downward dog, child’s pose, cobra, and happy baby. If you’re not sure what poses you can perform just do a quick Google search for yoga poses or watch a YouTube video. 

Create different stretching sequences to perform with your kids working down from the head all the way to the toes. Once they get familiar with the stretching you can get them to lead the stretches and you copy them as they stretch.

9. Serve up Table Tennis

Table tennis is great fun and very good for developing hand-eye coordination. This is also a great option for those that have older children who may not be as interested in some of the other workouts and activities on this list. You don’t need a table tennis table either. A desk or table works just as well. You can get an adjustable setup-and-play anywhere net or just play without one. You will need bats and a ball though.

10. Have Fun with The Balloon Game

If your kids seem to have energy for days, try this game out. It’s super simple but extremely fun for little ones. Blow up some balloons and clear a space. Then throw all the balloons up into the air. The aim of the game is to keep as many balloons up in the air and off the floor for as long as possible. Once a balloon hits the floor, it is eliminated. Keep going until there is only one balloon left. Feel free to intervene and change the balloon’s path if things begin to get too easy.   I really hope you enjoyed these fun exercises and games and will try them out with your kids when looking to do some fun and engaging workouts at home.

Originally posted by Teach Workout Love:

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