Children’s exercise should be enjoyable. Consider it “exercise play” rather than “working out.” Ewunike Akpan, an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and associate manager for the mid-Atlantic area of BOKS (Build Our Kids’ Success), coined the phrase.
BOKS is a fun and games-based school-based exercise programme for elementary and middle school students. Kids arrive 45 minutes early to school and spend that time engaging in exciting, active play. It’s an excellent method for them to include fitness into their everyday routine. It also aids kids in performing better in school, both academically and behaviorally.
Here are some simple workouts for kids to do—movements and activities that they will love and profit from. These ideas don’t require any special equipment or a lot of outside area. They may be done in five- to ten-minute spurts, or you can thread multiple exercises together for a longer period of physical activity.
Warm up your muscles and heart with a few minutes of warm-up activities.
Running is one of the most basic forms of exercise, and it’s ideal for children’s apparently limitless energy and need for speed.
Children can run in a gym, along a corridor, or even around (and around, and around) a huge table. Running may be coupled with other exercises to create active games such as relay races.
Variate movement patterns by having youngsters alternate between running and skipping, or try running in place with their feet extremely near to the ground (this is called “fast feet”).
Kids can also do “butt kicks” or run with high knees (raising alternating knees toward the chest with each step) (kicking alternating heels toward the buttocks with each step).
Changes of direction (side-to-side or backward) engage both muscles and the brain, increasing coordination in children.
These simple exercises can help you get your feet up and off the ground. Jumps improve muscle strength, endurance, and cardiovascular fitness. Who doesn’t like competing with a buddy, sibling, or even an adult to see who can jump the farthest?
The following are some fun leaps for youngsters to try:
- Jump straight up, then cross one foot in front of the other; swap feet and continue on the next jump.
- Hurdle hops are when you jump from side to side or front to back over a fictitious hurdle.
- Jumping jacks: While jumping, stretch arms and legs out to the sides like a starfish; on the second leap, return arms and legs to centre.
- Lift one knee and jump on the standing leg alternately; one-foot hops (It’s also a good balancing challenge.)
- Tuck jumps are performed by bending the knees and lifting the heels high while jumping.
Turn exercise into a game for youngsters to make it more enjoyable. Here are some of Akpan’s suggestions.
- Divide the children into corners so that each has a personal space. Then have them run in a circle around the room. They must return to “home” on your prompt and complete a few simple activities (say, five jumping jacks or one 30-second plank). To give youngsters control over the game, Akpan proposes allowing children to choose which exercises to complete in each quadrant.
- Return and hit it: When the button “go” is pressed, the children sprint ahead in assigned lanes. Then say “back,” which tells them to go backwards. Finally, say “hit it!” to signal the addition of a new skill (such as a tuck jump or squat). Allow youngsters to choose the “hit it” skill once more.
- Kids should line up on opposite sides of the room, facing each other, for a squat relay. When the command “go” is given, all of the children rush to the centre of the room and meet in the middle. They must perform three squats, high-fiving each other with both hands in between each rep. They then return to the beginning and repeat the process. The high-fives and social engagement are the focal points. If you have a large group, you might have the lines between exercises shift sideways so that each child meets a new acquaintance in the middle of the room.
- There’s more going on on “the road” in this BOKS variant of “Red Light, Green Light.” At red and green lights, kids shuffle to the side, make bunny hops over speed bumps, link elbows and run with a partner for a “carpool,” and even gallop when the indication is “deer crossing.” Make some new movements with your children!
Indoor Ball Games
Ball activities, whether played indoors or outdoors, may provide excellent fitness for children. Aerobic exercise, balance, and coordination practise are just a few of the advantages. (Plus, children are drawn to any activity that incorporates a ball.)
The following are some examples of indoor ball games that don’t take up a lot of room:
- Balls are tossed into washing baskets.
- Using a household item to hit balls at a target
- Using a plastic mixing bowl to catch balls
- A ball is thrown, rolled, or kicked against a wall.
Dribbling, passing, and rolling a ball back and forth between partners are among more options.
Inside, parents should always provide a safe environment for their children to play with a ball (i.e., some place with ample distance from breakable items).
Inside, a soft ball, such as a squishy yoga ball, a foam ball, or even bean bags, is great for keeping activities safe and injury-free. If you’re using a little or hard ball, or if your youngster is still learning to coordinate, wearing properly fitting protection gear is an excellent option.
Skipping is a fun aerobic activity that may also test balance and coordination.
Here are some skipping games to try:
- Hopscotch: Set up a hopscotch board (a grid of numbered squares) outside or inside using chalk or masking tape (inside). There are a variety of methods to play, but they all involve throwing a tiny object (such as a beanbag) onto one of the squares. They then attempt to navigate the course without landing in that square by hopping, skipping, or jumping.
- Jumping rope: Jump rope for a set amount of time: Have your kids jump rope for a set amount of time. You may make it more tough by having them travel back and forth, or make it more competitive by seeing who can get the most skips in a certain length of time.
- Obstacle course: Set up a small obstacle course with things that are easily accessible, such as a chair to skip around and a pot to skip over. Then, set a timer and challenge your children to beat their previous bests.
- Skipping tag: Play tag, but instead of running or walking, have everyone skip to catch their opponent. Switch to hopping on one foot, all fours, or another mode of movement to provide variety.
Crab walking is a fun pastime that also helps children strengthen their core and arms.
Begin by teaching your children how to do this movement (torso and tummy up while moving using hands and feet on the ground with legs bent at the knees). Then, while your children are in this stance, put up exciting activities for them to do.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Balance act: Have youngsters balance objects on their stomachs (such as a teddy animal or a plastic cup) and see who can go the farthest without dropping it. Alternatively, while holding this stance, observe how many stuffed animals your kid can balance on their stomach.
- Obstacle course: Set up an obstacle course for the youngsters to negotiate during crab crawl.
- Race: Crab crawl to the finish line, ready, set, go!