During the past few months when we have all been staying home more than usual, do you find it difficult to motivate your kids to get up off the couch and do something? Exercise activities for kids are very important to their overall health – physical, mental and emotional – and especially during these trying times, keeping active is vital.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have projected that, if the current trends continue, more than 70 million children will be obese by the year 2025. Here are some ideas and activities that you can use to encourage your kids to become active at home and to make exercise fun!
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Home Exercise Activities for Kids:
Play “Follow the Leader”
This classic game is classic for a reason – generations of kids have enjoyed playing it. You don’t need any special equipment in order to play Follow the Leader, either.
Let each child take turns being the leader, telling the others to match their moves. Encourage activity and exercise during this game, such as skipping, hopping, squatting and crawling.
Go On a Bear Hunt
Whether or not you choose to sing the song, “I’m Going on a Bear Hunt,” you can still play this fun game. Pretend you and your children are camping outdoors. Have your kids act out all of the motions in the song, such as swimming across the lake, climbing up a tree and stomping across a bridge.
Go for a Nature Walk or Hike
This also encourages kids to explore their outdoor surroundings. Pick a trail and explore the outdoors with your kids. Note all of the nature you see, such as plants and animals.
This can easily become an educational activity that qualifies as exercise!
Play a Clean-Up Race
If you have more than one child, you’ve likely played this many times. Encourage each of your kids to pick a room and see which one can clean up their chosen room first.
Do Wheelbarrow Races
Come up with funny wheelbarrow-like positions and have your kids race each other down the hall or across the backyard.
Have a Good Ol’ Pillow Fight
This timeless activity is still loads of fun. Use pillows that aren’t filled with feathers, unless you want to play the clean-up game afterwards!
Play “Red Light, Green Light”
Another classic children’s game, Red Light, Green Light is best done when you and the kids have lots of room to move – say, in the backyard. This not only encourages kids to exercise but also to follow directions.
Play “Push the Parent Over”
If your kids are much stronger than you, don’t attempt this one. Stand as firmly on the ground as you can and have your kids try to push you over, one at a time. This works on muscular strength (theirs and yours) and can incite lots of giggles!
This fun activity gets your muscles moving and blood flowing to the brain, and is usually much easier for kids to do than adults!
Draw on the Driveway
Grab some sidewalk chalk and create a maze or other type of active game on the driveway. Then let your kids navigate their way through it, as fast as they can!
Use Wii Fit
Wii Fit is a great way to get kids active while in front of the TV! Whether you choose Just Dance or other exercise games, get your kids active and having fun!
Find a large area in your house or backyard and jump rope. You can even jump rope along to rhymes (or make up your own).
Play Balloon Ball
Playing with balloons indoors can be lots of fun. Play catch with balloons, play balloon tennis, or play a game in which kids try to keep the balloons from touching the ground.
Make an Obstacle Course
Create your own obstacle course indoors, using household items. Pillows, couch cushions, pots and pans, and other objects can be set out for kids to navigate in an obstacle course pattern.
If you have hard floors in your house, have your kids put on socks and slide around on them. (This can also be a way to help you clean the floors!) Pretend that you are professional ice skaters, but be careful not to bang into the wall or get splinters in your socks!
Similar to the wheelbarrow races, these animal walks can become races as well, in which each child pretends they are a different animal and races the others to a finish line.
Do Jumping Jacks
These “oldies but goodies” are the perfect exercise to get your kid’s heart rate going and muscles moving. It can also help to tire them out before naptime or bedtime!
Create a Scavenger Hunt
Hide objects all around your house or backyard and give kids clues to find them. You can create moves that they must do before finding the next object, just to make the game even more active, like “Make up a funny dance,” or “Do four cartwheels before moving on.”
Have a Dance Party
Put on your kids’ favorite music and start dancing all around the house like no one is watching! Make up some elaborate or silly moves for your kids to follow.
Play Bubble Wrap Attack
Save bubble wrap when you get it in packages in the mail. When you want a new game for your kids to play, bring out the bubble wrap and have kids jump on it until it’s all popped.
Play Freeze Dance
Play music and let your kids dance. When the music stops, your child must freeze their pose and hold it until the music starts up again.
If you have a sheet handy, use that in place of a parachute. Have kids hold the parachute up off the ground while one of them runs underneath it to the other side.
Play Tickle Tag
Chase your kids around the house or backyard. When you catch one of them, tickle them!
Play Temper Tantrum
(Play this at your own risk!) Tell your kids to have a fit, just for the fun of it. Have them jump up and down, stomp, flail around and scream. This will help them to get some of their pent-up frustration out and become active at the same time.
Set up small carnival-like games for your kids to play indoors. This could include bowling, with water bottles and balls; knock down the pitchers (use plastic ones), and more!
Use chalk or tape to set up a hopscotch game indoors or outside for your kids to play.
Play Bubble Smashing
Blow bubbles and have your kids try to smash them.
Put a mat down on the floor, or a rug, anything to cushion the hard floor. Have your kids try to wrestle you to the ground. (Again, this works best if your kids are smaller and not as strong as you!)
Do Popcorn Pushups
Put a small bowl of popcorn (or your child’s favorite healthy snack) on the floor. Tell your child to do a pushup, lowering themselves down, and stick their tongue into the bowl, grabbing a piece of popcorn each time they lower themselves. (Make sure they only get one piece each time so they don’t choke!)
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