We all remember doing jumping jacks and sit-ups in gym class, but exercise for children doesn't have to feel like calisthenics. Whether your kids like to spend time indoors or outdoors and prefer individual or group activities, there are so many ways to get kids moving.
It's beneficial for kids to develop strong exercise habits at a young age. Not only can it give them a solid foundation to build upon as they get older, but physical activity can also support multiple areas of growth. According to the Mayo Clinic, improved muscle strength, endurance, and bone health are all aided by physical activity. Improved cognitive function in kids ages six to seventeen is also associated with regular exercise.
Below are a few examples of exercise for kids that are fun for the whole family and can be modified to include most age groups.
1. Freeze Dance
Freeze dance is a classic game that is fun for the whole family. All you need is a radio, smartphone, or speaker system and one person to start and stop the music.
The rules are simple: Each player will show off their best dance moves as the music plays. When the music stops, the dancing stops. Whoever keeps moving during the silence is out. The last dancer standing wins the game.
2. Obstacle Course
A challenging obstacle course is a fun way to exercise your body and mind. These courses can be created inside or outside with common household supplies (couch cushions, lawn chairs, garden hoses, etc.). They can even be made to emulate your family's favorite reality show competitions.
3. Movement Video Games and Fitness Apps
Who says that playing video games requires sitting in front of the television like a bump on a log? There is a wide variety of games available that promote physical activity. From dancing to bowling to athletic competitions, getting exercise while playing video games is as easy as picking your favorite activity. There are also games specifically designed to educate players on exercise with easy tutorials and satisfying challenges.
Fitness apps for kids are also fun as they often track progress and help little ones set achievable goals.
4. Walk the Dog
Sometimes, the best way to get kids to exercise is to not mention the word exercise. Taking the dog out for a walk is a fun way to get some fresh air while encouraging physical activity for children. If your child is new to long walks, start short so you don't discourage them. Then, you can slowly add to the distance with each new outing.
5. Family Yoga
With all of its fun poses, yoga is a natural draw for young kids. Setting time aside for family yoga sessions will help your little ones develop a love of exercise at an early age while also becoming familiar with mindfulness practices. Add even more fun by sounding out meows and moos while you do the cat-cow pose with your little ones. Teens may enjoy a more serious practice, so check out fitness centers in your area or look for advanced routines on YouTube.
6. Family 5K
Not only are local 5K fun runs exciting exercise for children, but these types of events can also help kids fall in love with a regular workout routine. Once you sign up for the 5K, you and your family can go for daily training runs, setting up small goals as you prepare for the big day. Teens may want to sign up with their friends, and even toddlers can be pushed in strollers at many community fun runs.
Exercise for kids builds muscles, as well as a positive association with physical fitness that can last for years to come.
Check out more ideas for fun activities with kids on the @tomsofmaine Naturally Crafty Kids Pinterest board!
The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Tom's of Maine.
Why It's Good
Exercise for kids supports muscle development, endurance, and cognitive function while building a positive association with physical activity to last for years to come.