Since there is seemingly no end to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us are feeling the stress of such a drastic lifestyle change; unfortunately, it affects both adults and children. Spending so much time within the walls of our own homes is affecting everyone, but it affects children even more in many ways. To that end, many experts are recommending activities that can keep both our minds and our bodies more alert and active, and nothing is more effective at this than a good exercise program.
Why Exercise? Although Covid-19 has changed our lifestyles, this doesn’t mean that we can’t have some normalcy put back into our lives and make new discoveries that can add some enjoyment to our lives despite the crazy times we live in. And with one-third of all adults and nearly 20 percent of all children in the U.S. now considered obese, a good exercise program is not a bad thing to add to our lives. Children especially get bored staying at home most of the time with little to do but the following exercises are enough to get their blood pumping and their minds excited, not to mention that they’re a great way to pass the time. Yes, it's time to buy gym equipment for your home.
Best of all, these exercises are great for kids of all ages because they are not so difficult that kids won’t enjoy them also. They are both easy and fun to do, and they will have kids looking forward to exercising every day.
1. Animal Races
Kids have a natural competitive streak, and having races based around different animals satisfies that competitiveness and is lots of fun to boot. All they do is pick an animal, then “race” just as the animals do when they get around. For instance, if they choose to be a frog, they could hop through the race; if they choose to be a duck, they could squat and waddle the entire way. Whatever animal they choose, they just have to walk, run, or hop just the same as that animal would throughout the entire race.
And you don’t have to make the race necessarily long. Just map out a small area in your living room or basement and have that be the route for your race. You can have them play for a certain amount of time or a certain number of laps -- whatever is most convenient to you. It also allows children to express their creative side so it is both a physical and educational exercise. On any list of exercises for kids, there are going to be fun ways for them to act out their fascination with animals and this exercise is no different.
2. Bear Crawl
Kids love to act like different animals and in this exercise, they simply crawl on their hands and feet without their knees touching the floor. One of the best parts of participating in this exercise is the fact that it works the entire body so kids get a whole-body workout every time they do it. You can hold races and time them or simply have them “crawl” this way for a certain length of time. The bear crawl is a weight-bearing exercise that works their arms and legs, and it even helps them develop awareness of the space around them.
In addition to these things, it is a full brain and body exercise because it requires kids to think a certain way in order to crawl correctly. Good for both the body and the mind, this is a great activity that kids will likely want to do again and again.
3. Crab Walk
The concept is simple: kids sit with their legs in front of them and their hands in back of them, then they lift their hips up off the floor and walk like a crab. It’s a silly activity that is also a lot of fun, but guess what else it does? It can build up core strength, arm strength, and even their sense of balance. They don’t need a lot of room to do it and it’s a lot better exercise than you might think. To get them participating in the activity even longer, arrange to have a “crab walk” race in your living room or den!
And once they start to master this skill, you can go ahead and add a little challenge to it by having the kids balance something on their bellies as they walk and race. It could be a small stuffed animal or even a small package of snack cookies. Use something light and small that they can try to keep on their bellies as they walk or race along. The crab walk is fun and simple but a great exercise for them to enjoy for a very long time.
3. Dance! Dance! Dance!
Kids love to dance and you don’t have to make any dancing activity a formal or organized one. Just turn on some music and let them dance! You can even play stop-and-go dancing, which consists of having them dance as long as the music is on, then shutting the music off and having them stop their dancing and stand very still until the music starts again. You can also have them do something different for slow versus fast songs or make up a new game altogether. As long as the kids are up and moving around, they can follow any rules that you want them to.
Dancing is also great exercise so you can have them participate in this activity for as long as you like, and they’ll enjoy every minute of it! It can even be an opportunity to teach the kids some dance moves, which they’ll love every time! In fact, kids will quickly learn to look forward to this part of their day.
4. Hallway Bowling
If you can’t get out around people and bowl, why not just let the kids bowl in your hallway? You can take some empty water bottles, fill them up with water, and use any lightweight ball that you have around the house. Use the entire hallway to get the full effect of a real bowling game. You might want to fill up the bottles only halfway with water so that the ball is able to topple over those bottles easily. And whether you have official rules or just let them make it up as they go along, kids are certain to have a lot of fun with this game.
You can use other items as well to make this game unique; however, water bottles are cheap and easy to work with and most families will have several balls to choose from in their home, so it shouldn’t be difficult or expensive to get all of the items you need to make this game a success. When coming up with good exercises for kids, sticking with a familiar game like bowling just makes things easier.
Running is a lot of fun for everyone but especially for kids, and the best part is that they don’t have to run a marathon to get some benefit out of it. In fact, keeping it fun usually means having kids run for short periods of time or long periods of time sporadically. You can have them running in no time by having them join in on some common kids’ games including tag, Mother May I?, What Time Is it Mr. Fox?, and even some basic timed relays.
You can mark off a one-mile mark in your living room or den and have the kids run that mile two or three times per day, or simply take a walk around the house and have them do a “power walk” so they are almost running in order to get the most out of the activity. With running, it doesn’t have to be complicated in order to be good for them; it just has to keep them active for a period of time so that their heart rate gets up there for a while.
When you think about it, everyone loves to skip. It’s a fun and very simple activity that people can do for a very long period of time. But skipping is much more than a fun way to get in shape. It is also a great brain booster because it engages both the right and left brain so that you can enjoy improved overall functioning. You can also improve balance and coordination and enjoy an increased heart rate, much better core strength, and a total body workout.
Skipping usually causes people to get both an upper- and lower-body workout because while you skip, most people use their arms just as they do their legs. This is especially true for kids, who tend to put their whole body into an exercise. And if regular skipping seems a little boring, try that good old-fashioned exercise that is still everyone’s favorite -- skipping rope. Kids love to skip rope and this is one exercise that helps their agility, strengthens their bones, and allows them to get great exercise while feeling as though they’re just at play.
7. Sock Skating
If you have hardwood floors, this is super fun for the kids. Just let them wear some socks -- old socks, preferably -- and “skate” across the floors. It gets them moving and keeps them moving because the activity is so much fun for them. As with a lot of the other activities, you can create some races for them to participate in or you can turn on some music and let them skate back and forth while listening to it. In fact, you can get quite creative with this game, in part because there are no hard-and-fast rules to follow.
Just make sure that you move the furniture out of the way so they don’t accidently bump into it and hurt themselves. You also want to make sure that there are no splinters in the floor because that can hurt too. In other words, you want to be careful and keep them safe as they play this game. Other than that, just let them have the fun and exercise that they need and deserve!
To adults, squats can seem to be a torture device but you’ll likely be surprised by how well kids take to them. And as with squats for adults, you can do them in several different ways. There is even a kids’ version that allows an ottoman or stool to be placed behind them; every time they squat down, their buttocks hit the ottoman. But you don’t have to do this because kids tend to do a better job of executing squats than adults do. They just need the opportunity.
Squats are also very good for kids because they can help them build strength and endurance, not to mention make them more self-confident. And when it comes to exercises for kids at home, this is one of the easiest because you don’t need any special tools or equipment, nor do you need a whole lot of space to do them correctly. Easy to learn and fun to do, squats should definitely be added to the list of exercises that your kids can do to help them get more fit. Looking for squat machines? Visit our leg machines.
Most people, including kids, do not stretch enough. Stretching on a regular basis not only helps everyone, including kids, improve posture and flexibility but it also goes a long way in preventing injuries from doing other exercises or even while performing certain household tasks. Daily stretching is also easy to do because you don’t have to do anything difficult to make it effective. And it doesn’t have to be a complicated yoga or stretching move to be effective; in fact, you’ll want to make sure that it is not something difficult because you want the kids to be safe.
Just start with some simple, very basic stretching or yoga poses that all kids can do. Make sure that they each have a yoga mat and their own towels so it can be more fun for them. Start very slowly so that no one overdoes it. You can make the exercises a little more challenging as time goes on, but always start very slowly with very simple poses and stretching movements.