Fun Workouts for Kids: Thinking Outside the Gym

Making sure your kids are exercising can be a real challenge. With the phone, TV, and every other indoor activity your child loves to do, it’s easy to think they might go a whole day without moving if you don’t remind them.

If you want to build more exercise into your child’s schedule, one important thing you can do is join in with them!

Studies have shown that children will develop much healthier attitudes toward exercise if they know it’s something their parents do as well.

Not only that but having a family workout means you get to kill two birds with one stone!

Let’s take a look at a few different exercises that will work well for both children and their parents.

Getting Started

Don’t strain yourself trying to keep up with your kid’s cardio, and don’t push your kid’s limits by giving them exercises they’re not yet ready for yet.

Also, be sure to show your kids the importance of stretching before exercise by taking a few minutes to do so each time you go out.

1. Sports

Playing sports like soccer is a fun way for kids to workout!

The simplest and best way to get your whole family exercising is to play a sport together.

Talk to your kids and get to know which sports they enjoy playing or would like to try out, then make a plan to play amongst yourselves the next time you’re at the park.

Some family favorites include soccer, kickball, and basketball.

Playing sports as a family helps foster a healthy level of competition and creates opportunities for conversations about fairness, winning and losing, and having fun.

When siblings have a chance to work out their rivalries on the field, things can get heated. Take this opportunity to talk about sportsmanship and being kind to your competitors.

2. Take a Hike

Hiking is a fun way for kids to workout without the constrictions of a gym.

Pack up a few healthy snacks with plenty of water and hit the trail! A  hike is a great way to get out and see some nature while also getting your heart rate up.

You can even turn this activity into a nature walk by bringing some binoculars and looking for different types of birds or animals on the trail.

Hiking is also a great way to disconnect from technology and talk with your children.

3. Bodyweight Exercises

Children are never too young to participate in a few bodyweight exercises. A good rule to practice with young children is for each person in the group to complete the number of repetitions that is equal to their age.

A few exercises to try include squats, jumping jacks, crunches, and even holding a plank. This way everyone gets in a good workout, the kids still feel included, and everyone gets to spend extra time together.

4. Playground Obstacle Course

Playground obstacle courses are a fun way to incorporate movement and workouts into your kids playtime activity.

Trips to the playground can be good fun for the little ones, but often the adults are left standing around chatting.

Get involved with the play by finding a short obstacle course you can all take turns going through.

Elements like the monkey bars are just as tough (if not more challenging I might say) for grown-ups as they are for kids!

Before giving this a try, make sure you understand any rules about adults being on the playground equipment. It may be helpful to invest in a few lightweight orange cones to bring along.

This way, if the playground equipment is overly crowded, you can make up a few relay races!

5. Everybody in the Pool

Workouts can be fun for kids, especially when done as a family and in a fun environment like the swimming pool!

There are lots of ways to incorporate great cardio into your time at the pool. Have a race or treading water contest. Get creative with pool noodles, rafts, and weighted toys.

A fun game for the older kids is to toss a dive stick or even pennies down to the bottom of the deep end and let everyone try to swim down and pick them up.

These are fun challenges that anyone can use for a great workout and a few laughs.

6. Dance Party

Dancing is a fun way to incorporate movement and workouts for your kids!

Some children won’t respond well to the idea of playing a sport, but a dance party might pique their interest.

Put on your child’s favorite music and put together a fun 30-minute dance party for everyone!

You’ll all get up and get moving, so this will be an excellent workout for you and the kids, and again it’ll feel more like a fun game than anything else.

This opens the door for creativity, too! Let your kids ‘choreograph’ a dance and lead everyone else through the steps they choose. Then, everyone can dance to the song together.

Keep it Fun

There are a million and one ways you can get your kids up and move, and you should make sure they have time to play games and socialize all by themselves. But now and then it’s essential to make time for the whole family to be active together.

You’ll show them that exercise is not just a chore they have to get through, but a lifelong passion they’ll enjoy well into adulthood.

Not only that, but the fun games and sports you play together make for treasured memories your little ones, and you, can always look back upon fondly. So get out there and get moving today!