Exercise can be more fun if you’re doing it in duo or groups. And who could be a more ideal exercise buddy than your own kids?
In this article, we offer kid-friendly exercise ideas that both you and your kids will find enjoyable, as well as beneficial for health. There’s no special equipment or workout space needed—just you and your kids spending time together while exercising and playing at the same time.
Here goes our list of 8 easy exercises for you and your kids:
Running is simple, fun, and lively—just how kids like it. Whether it’s outdoors or indoors, your kids will be more than happy to run around; but if you want to change things up, you can also do so in many different ways.
Depending on their age, you can try any one of the following tricks to get your kids to love running more:
- Switch up from running to skipping or running in place with the feet kept close to the ground. This technique can train your kids in varied movement patterns, which can help improve their mobility.
- Guide them to run with high knees, which involves lifting their left and right knees alternately toward their chest with each step. Or, you can teach them how to do butt kicks, where they kick their left and right heels alternately toward their buttock with each step. Now and then, ask them to change direction by running from side to side or in reverse to work on their body coordination skills.
Jumping exercises help build muscle strength, is healthy for the heart, and is a good way to develop physical endurance. Jumping jacks are common and popular among kids, but other types of jumping exercises can be equally fun. Here are some examples and how to do them:
- Tuck jumps—Bend the knees and lift the heels high while jumping.
- Hurdle hops—The idea is for you and your kids to jump over a hurdle in side-to-side or front-to-back directions, though you can also do it without an obstacle.
- One-foot hops—Lift one knee and jump on the other standing leg. Then switch to the other knee and leg.
- Criss-cross feet—Jump straight up. Then midway through, make a criss-cross by putting one foot in front of the other. Do it alternately on the next jump, and then switch it up again.
3. Crab Walk
Picture a crab walking, and mimic it. Sit on your buttocks, keeping the knees bent and the feet planted on the ground. Lean back slightly and place the hands on the ground behind you, with your fingertips facing forward. Then push your hips up and off the ground to start walking.
Crab walks serve as a full-body workout—shoulders and triceps support your upper body, your hamstrings and quads for your bottom half, and raising your hips work your abs and glutes.
You can also play games as you work out with the crab walk, this time, together with your kids. Designate a finish line, and whichever “crab” gets to it first wins the game.
4. Tree Pose
If you want to teach your kids how to maintain focus and balance, try this exercise.
You and your kids stand tall on one leg and twist the other leg open to create a kickstand with your foot. While maintaining balance, gently bring up the ankle and place the foot sole on the calf or inner thigh.
With toes pointing down, press the foot against the thigh while also pressing the thigh against the foot. Put the arms up to the air, like a tree growing its branches. You can take turns with your kids doing the tree pose so that one of you can snap some pictures of the other.
5. Boat Pose
The boat pose is a fun exercise, which is ideal for building core and spine strength among your children.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Ask your kids to sit facing each other, and have them touch feet.
- Guide them to hold hands with one another, while they keep their legs in between their arms. Then instruct them to bend their knees a little.
- Using one foot at a time, have them slowly push their feet together to lift one leg off the ground.
- Continue the exercise by having them lift the other foot the next time around.
6. Frog Pose
Fancy your kids practicing yoga with you? Do the Frog Pose with them to help strengthen the ankle, improve flexibility in the hip, and lengthen the spine.
Stand with the legs apart in a hip-width distance. Turn the feet slightly outwards while keeping a comfortable position. Next, squat down with the knees bent and the hands in between the feet. Then clap the hands together while pressing the knees apart.
7. Child’s Pose
Another yoga-inspired pose, the Child’s Pose or Child’s Resting Pose involves sitting on the heels with the toes positioned behind the body and with the knees kept apart.
Let the chest rest on the thighs, stretch the arms out in front, and press the palms to the mat. Then rest the forehead on the ground. At this position, you’re helping the body relax.
8. Exercise Games
Turn exercise into something that kids look forward to by mixing it up with games. Exercise games can be a great substitute if you can’t have the usual outdoor activities for kids, such as bicycling around the park, camping, or swimming at the beach.
Get an idea or two from these sample exercise games:
- Squat relay—This game exercise is good for fostering social interaction among kids.
To do this, ask the kids to line up on two opposite sides of a room, facing each other’s group. On “go,” all of them should run toward the center of the room. As they meet in the middle, each child does a couple of squats and give one another a high-five in between each rep. They then return to their starting point and repeat the relay.
- “Go Back and Hit It”—On your cue, the kids run forward in previously designated lines. But as you shout out “Back,” you wait for them to run backward. Then cue “Hit it,” so they can do an exercise skill—whether it’s a squat, tuck jump, star jump, and so on.
Just don’t forget to do the usual warm-up exercises before trying any of these activities, as you need to loosen up joints and to put everyone on game mode.
Jo-anne is from Spiralytics Philippines. She aspires to have a career in Digital Marketing, preferably in the Social Media sector. In her free time, Jo-anne likes to watch films related to history, indie and rom-com and sometimes Jo-anne would go to places and take photos of its architecture.