Just a few generations ago it seemed like kids were outside using their imaginations and moving their bodies every chance they could. Now with the rise of digital media, the pull to stay sedentary is much stronger. If you’re worried your child might not be getting as much exercise as they need, try out some fitness games for kids to pull them away from their screens and get them moving.
First, we need to acknowledge why sitting inside on a screen all day is bad for kids. Depending on what your child is doing on their device, it could be damaging their self-esteem and mental health, though this can vary from child to child. What we know for sure is that lack of exercise is definitely damaging their fitness and development. Kids should be up and moving for at least an hour every day, ideally more. For more information, check out our blog How Much Exercise Do Kids Need?
So what’s the solution? If your child has no interest in sports or physical activity, there are still plenty of fun fitness games for kids that will get them off the couch and playing outside. By making exercise fun it will take the pressure off both you and your child and allow them to enjoy moving.
Tag or Red Rover
If you have a few kids, take them outside for a simple game of tag or ‘Red Rover’. Changing the rules spontaneously also makes it interesting like playing a few rounds where only skipping, hopping, sidestepping or jumping is allowed to escape from being tagged. Running around burns a lot of energy, gets the heart pumping, and is good exercise overall. This is why games like tag, Red Rover, and capture the flag are all great fitness games for kids.
If you’re trying to fit in some daily or weekly exercise for your kids, why not schedule in a fitness class? We run fun functional movement classes for ages five and up that focus on building strength, improving physical literacy, and living a healthy lifestyle. What’s more, our programming always includes an element of play which keeps it fun! Check out our Programs for more information.
This one takes a little more planning but is terrific to give your child’s mind and muscles a workout. Set up an obstacle course around your house, in your yard or at a park. Think about objects you can climb over like beds or crawl under like tables, things you can balance on, targets to throw a ball in such as clothes baskets, and opportunities to hang or climb in trees or on monkey bars. Add “checkpoints” along the way where they have to perform a task like 30 seconds of jumping rope or star jumps or dragging an object around the yard. The possibilities are endless and the greater the variety of movements the better!
Don’t have the energy yourself to play tag or organise a scavenger hunt? You will be amazed at how much a simple game from your own youth like hula hooping can occupy your child’s time. These old school activities such as hula hooping and hopscotch are easy to set up. They build your child’s coordination and balance, get them moving, and most importantly, are fun.
Remember when skipping ropes were common in the playground? Most of us learned to skip just playing around with skipping ropes at school – learning new tricks, skipping ‘doubles’ style or double dutch, and even playing chasing games through the rope. Skipping is a great cardio exercise that challenges aerobic fitness and coordination. Plus jumping movements are an excellent way for kids to develop strength and improve bone density. Often kids are reluctant to try skipping because they find it hard at first. This is a great activity you can do together. Remind them that the more they practice, the easier it gets.
Try out these fitness games for kids to make exercise fun. Remember that the key here is creativity. If you know your child has a particular hobby they love, incorporate it into the game to further encourage physical activity.
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