Kids are generally pretty active. As a stay-at-home mom and teacher, I can definitely attest to the incredible amount of energy my boys have. While we may have active kids that are full of energy, this doesn’t mean we automatically have healthy kids, so I’ve created some super fun, kinda silly exercises for kids to get them up and moving and to encourage a healthy lifestyle.
With the rapidly-escalating increase of electronics usage, screen time and non-stop busyness in our children’s days, it’s often difficult find the time, desire, energy, or knowledge to stick to a fitness routine. Kids may be full of energy, but sometimes that energy is used in ways that do not give children the full benefits of a habitual, purposeful, structured exercise routine.
While I will not give a very specific routine, since these should be catered specifically to your child’s needs, I do want to share with you some of our very favorite silly exercises for kids. My boys found these hilarious and exciting. They hardy realized it was exercise, yet we were able to make the time more structured and purposeful.
You can do the exercises below in any order you wish. My recommendation is to consider your child’s age and abilities before setting up the routine. Start with a stretch or two then add one to three of the other exercises. Do each stretch or exercise 5 to 15 times, depending on the type of exercise. I would not exceed a 10 minute total workout, at least with younger ages. Keep it fairly light for younger kids or kids who were not previously very active.
These exercises, while structured, are simply meant to get kids moving, following a routine, and into the healthy habit of daily exercise. They are meant to take something that often feels like a chore and turn it into a fun family activity for the kids to look forward to each and every day. Let’s make health a habit and a priority!
Your kids do not need to do these exercises exactly perfect. In fact (shhhh, don’t tell), my boys did not do half of these quite how I’d envisioned them while we were recording for the video. If your kids find a way to do these exercises that still gives them a decent workout, won’t hurt them, and gives them enjoyment, that’s totally okay. You can even make some of your own exercises up or rename traditional exercises with super fun names!
Fun and Silly Exercises for Kids
These are truly so much fun, even for the big kids (aka parents). Below you will find the name of our exercise, an explanation of how to do it, and a time stamp for where to find that exact exercise in our video should you want to jump to a specific exercise for instructions.
Hop Like a Kangaroo: make large, slow hops forwards. (00:04)
Jump like a Frog: squat down low and hop around. (00:13)
Hop like a Bunny: these are fairly quick, little bitty hops in place. (00:22)
Flamingo Jump: hop on one foot, then switch and hop on the other. (00:32)
Walk Like a Crab: this one is just the crab walk–have them walk forwards and backwards. (00:43)
Crawl Like a Bear: crawl on all fours. (01:02)
Caterpillar Butterfly Stretch: this one was my husband’s idea and based off of an exercise he said he did as a kid, so I cannot lay claim to this one; lie down on your stomach like a caterpillar then jump up and make an “x” shape with your body like you’ve emerged a beautiful butterfly!(01:12)
Ants in My Pants: wiggle all around, jump up and down, and try to get those imaginary ants out of your pants; be sure not to do this over an ant hill, or you may end up with real ants in your pants. Yikes! (01:25)
Toss the Pizza Dough: pretend you are tossing pizza dough up in the air; stretch your arms up high and lift your head to look up and keep an eye on your dough (so it doesn’t land on your head). (01:43)
Bake a Cake: pretend to open the oven, squatting down as you do it, pretend to place a cake in the oven by stretching your arms out forwards, then pretend to close the oven and stand back up. If remembering to pause and “place the cake in the oven” is an issue, try just reminding them to pause and check on the cake before standing back up (01:50)
Stir the Batter/Stir the Dough: put both hands in front of you and pretend you are stirring thick dough or batter in a large bowl, swirling your arms in a circle. Get your hips in on the action too by wiggling back and forth or spinning them with the “spoon”! If you can manage it, switch directions so your body gets worked out on both sides. (02:03)
The Blender (or Washing Machine Twist or Watering the Lawn): twist and shake your torso and arms to the right then to the left. (02:12)
Apple Pickers: pretend to pick apples from a tree; reach up high with your right hand, then your left, then your right, then your left again. (02:21)
Sweep the Floor (Or Row, Row, Row a Boat or Rake the Leaves): pretend you are holding a broom then sweep the imaginary dust into a pile and switch to the other arm. Do two sweeps at a time per side. Hint: you can try this with a real broom too…chores! (02:29)
Move the Laundry: bend over and pretend to pull the laundry from the washing machine, then squat down and push it forward like you’re putting it in the dryer. (02:47)
Vacuum the Floor: step forward with your right foot and bend a little at the knee while pushing your right arm forward like you’re vacuuming the carpet, then switch and do it with the other side. (02:57)
Pick Up Toys: bend over and pretend to pick up four toys at your feet first with your right hand, then your left, then your right, then your left, then stand back up. (03:10)
Wash the Car: this one is similar to “Catch the Football,” but instead of reaching up with your arms, just move one hand in a swirl motion–right hand swirl with left leg out to the side, left hand swirl with right leg out to the side. (03:28)
Catch the Football: stretch your arms to the right and lift your left leg like you are jumping to catch a football, then switch to the other side–stretch your arms to the left and lift your right leg.(03:38)
Jump an Invisible Rope: pretend you are jumping with a jumprope…forwards and backwards!(03:52)
Swing Seats: you will need to do this one sitting in a chair; pretend you are swinging–stretch your arms and legs stretched out far, bend them back in, stretch them out far, bend them back in. (04:11)
Ride a Bike on the Ceiling: lie down on your back, lift your legs in the air, and pretend you are pedaling a bike; you can do this with your head raised, arms raised, head down, or arms down, whatever is easier for you. (04:22)
Skip Invisible Rocks: pick up some imaginary rocks then pretend to skip them across a pond; lean in to one side and toss with a sideways motion then switch to the other side and do the same thing. (04:37)
Recycle the Paper: bend down, pick up the imaginary paper, then pretend to toss it into the recycle bin…”Buckets!” (05:01)
Scissor Shuffle: we did scissor runs and scissor walks in school, so this is the exact same thing; cross your legs over each other while running or walking sideways, then switch it up and go the other way. (05:11)
Snorkelers: touch your nose with one hand, raise your other hand over your head, then wiggle and squat down like you are snorkeling; switch sides. (05:32)
Firefighter Ladder Climb (or To the Treehouse): save the people by climbing a pretend firetruck ladder. (05:50)
Pitch the Hay (or Shovel the Snow): pretend you are scooping a pitch fork forward to pick up the hay, then sweep your arms backwards to throw it over your shoulder; switch arms and do it again. (06:01)
Grab a Star: this one is similar to “Apple Pickers,” but here you will want to reach one hand as high as you can, until you “reach the stars,” lifting the opposite leg slightly into the air and standing on your tippy toes on the side with the outstretched arm–right foot tippy toe, right arm stretched high, left leg slightly lifted to the side so you can reach as far as possible; switch sides. (06:24)
Check Out My Muscles: similar to the actual exercise, “Cherry Pickers,” stretch your arms out to the sides then bend your arms in at the elbow and touch the tops of your shoulders. (06:33)
This Big!: pretend you are telling the tale of a fish you caught, stretch out your arms as far as you can to the sides and tell them, “It was THIS BIG!” (06:47)
I Dunnos: shrug your shoulders up and put your arms out a little to the sides, palms up, like you are telling someone, “I dunno.” (My kids love this one.) (06:55)
Pencil Triangles: these are just generic jumping jacks–the instructions “pencil” and “triangle” help the kids figure out the correct body form. (07:03)
Toe Touch: bend over and touch down to your toes for a few seconds then stand back up. (07:15)
Treadmill Jog: jog in place. (07:25)
Sit on a Chair: this one they can literally just sit on a chair (it works best with other exercises that include bending down or stretching high) or they can sit on an invisible chair against the wall. (07:37)
Ankle-B-C’s: sit down on the ground with your arms behind you for support and your knees bent and ankles in the air then pretend to draw the letters of the alphabet with your feet. Alternatively, you can lie down on your back with your arms behind your lower back, lift one leg up slightly and write your ABC’s the best you can, then switch legs and do it the best you can with the other side. (07:46)
A Bonus exercise included at the end is the “Super Exercise Kid.” It’s a bird…no, it’s a plane…no, it’s Super Exercise Kid! Have your child run around a chair while flapping his arms up and down like a bird’s wings and hopping a little. After a lap-and-a-half or so, ask him to run even faster with his arms stretched out to the sides like an airplane. Once he has completed these laps, he can jump with one arm in the air like a super hero and be proud of a job well done.
Ways to Incorporate Kid Fitness Into Your Daily Routine
These exercises are fun, but how will you implement them? Here are a few fun ways to add exercises to your healthy lifestyle:
Work it into your after school routine (check out my upcoming post for a fun idea)
Get the wiggles out in the morning while waiting for the bus
Have a family exercise party (yes, parents, you need to get involved too!)
Burn off some energy before bedtime (follow it with a calming bath or bedtime story to transition into sleep mode)
How will you incorporate exercising into your routine? Have any other fun exercise ideas to share? I want to hear from you!