With the coronavirus pandemic showing little sign of ending anytime soon, more and more families are having to stay at home together 24/7. Just because gyms are closed and daycare isn’t an option doesn’t mean parents can’t exercise and children can’t run around and play. Now is the perfect time to start exercising with your kids, it will get you a needed workout and help your kids burn off some of their energy.
“It is enormously important that during the current crisis we all stay physically active at home- not just for our physical health, but also for our mental balance. It is crucial that our children stay active because staying confined is particularly challenging for them due to their excess energy. With a daily activity plan, we can turn this unorthodox situation into a positive one. Let’s see this as an opportunity, not as a burden. We have more time to stay active and to stay fit so that when this is over, we should all be the fittest we have been in years!” says Health Fitness Revolution founder Samir Becic.
Exercising games with children is more focused on exercise play instead of a traditional workout. Fitness with kids is all about fun and games! We have found 10 fun and easy exercises to do with kids, that the whole family can enjoy!
- Running: Running is the perfect exercise for kids and adults alike! It gets the heart pumping and blood flowing. It is also an exercise that can be paired with numerous games. You can have a relay race with your children, play tag, or even just chase each other around the house. You can change things up by changing the running pattern. Switch to skipping, high-knees, butt kicks, or even running in place with fast feet. Running in place is an option if you live in a small space and don’t have access to a backyard!
- Squat Relay: This is a great exercise that involves quick sprinting, squats, and motivational high-fives! Have each member of the family go to different sides of the room. Whenever you say the word “go!” everyone sprints to the center of the room and does three squats (you can increase based on ability). Between each squat, every family member has to high-five the person across from them. After the squats, everyone sprints back to their side of the room, then repeat!
- Penguin Shuffle: Shuffling is a workout that is both fun and effective. Everyone starts on one wall, then, with hips and knees bent, eyes forward, and your chests lifted, everyone side-shuffles to the other side of the room. Whoever wins gets to decide what exercise game to do next. To make it more difficult or just to switch things up, have everyone hold a pillow (or any item) between their legs and see who can shuffle the quickest without dropping the pillow.
- Musical Creepy Crawlies: Branching off of the classic game of musical chairs, musical creepy crawlies is a fun way to stretch your limbs and get your heart pumping. You can either download a musical chairs player, look one up on YouTube, or assign someone to start and stop the music. While the music is playing, everyone is laying on their backs, wiggling and kicking their arms and legs as fast as they can. When the music stops everyone must jump up. The last person to jump up is out.
- Jumping: Jumping is a great way to build muscle strength, increase exercise endurance, and exercise the heart. Kids love to get their feet up and off the ground. Have a parent be Simon and play a fun game of Simon Says. Start with hopping up and down, then switch to any other type of jumping exercise. Some ideas include jumping jacks, one-foot hops, tuck jumps where you bend your knees while jumping, criss-cross jumps where you cross your legs or feet while jumping, and hurdle jumps where you jump forward and backward or side-to-side jumping over an invisible hurdle.
- Traffic: This is a BOKS version of “Red Light Green Light.” Instead of just running and stopping, this includes other exercises and variations. Choose someone to lead the game and then teach everyone the movement rules. In the beginning, it may be easier to shout the movements along with the traffic call.
- Red light = Stop Moving
- Green Light = Run
- Yellow Light = Side Shuffle
- Speed Bump = Bunny Hops
- Carpool = Find a Partner and Run Holding Hands
- Deer Crossing = Gallop
- Dance: Involve the family in dancercise! Make a playlist of everyone’s favorite song and let each person lead the dancing to their favorite song. You can also just dance together and have fun! Exercising doesn’t have to be a chore and doesn’t have to involve classic workout moves. Taking time to get your body moving and heart pumping is a wonderful way to exercise.
- Play Cards: A fun way to involve games and kids in exercise is by incorporating them all together. Pick your child’s favorite card game (face-cards, uno, or other) and assign each suit, color, or number an exercise. Every time a 3 shows up, everyone has to do 3 jumping jacks or every time a red shows up, everyone has to do 5 burpees. Mix and match with exercises everyone enjoys and everyone can participate in.
- Corners: Divide everyone up so they each have a designate home corner. This can be done with music stopping and playing as with musical chairs or you can have a designated person to say “Go!” at any time. When the music is playing, everyone is running around the room in a circle. When the music stops, everyone runs to their corner and does an exercise until the music starts up again. Let each corner decide what exercise they would like to do to give them ownership over the game.
- Stretch: Take time to work the muscles and help them increase flexibility and range of motion. Stretching also reduces the risk of injury, promotes blood circulation, and reduces muscle soreness. Hold an impromptu yoga class with your family. Lead them in simple yoga exercises and stretches. Remember the importance of breathing. Lead them in breathing exercises as well. This will increase mindfulness and calm down the minds and bodies of your family.