Want To Get Your Kids Moving? Try These 8 Simple But Fun Exercise Ideas At Home

So you’ve made sure your kid eats, sleeps, and plays well, but there’s just one thing they could use more of and that’s exercise. Well, dear readers, we couldn’t agree more. Exercise is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle, and starting the kids young can lay the foundation for good future habits. To help you get your child moving, we’ve rounded up some fun exercises for children that you can try at home. But first, we’ll break down the various benefits of exercise and how much exercise is appropriate for children.

What Are The Benefits Of Exercise For Children?

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Exercise is beneficial for both the physical and mental development of children. But more specifically, it can help:

  • Improve cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Build strong bones and muscles
  • Keep weight in check
  • Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and
  • Reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high-blood pressure, obesity, and osteoporosis.

How Much Exercise Is Appropriate For Children?

The amount of exercise (or more accurately, physical activity) that kids need varies according to age. Generally, the CDC recommends the following:

Age Preschoolers (ages 3-5) Children and teens (ages 6-17)
Physical activity required daily Throughout the day  

60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity

Recommended activities Any free play that requires physical movements such as walking, climbing, running, skipping, jumping, etc

 

 

Aerobic activity: walking, running, jumping

Muscle strengthening: climbing, push-ups, yoga, tug-of-war

Bone strengthening: skipping, jumping, running

Sounds like a lot? Don’t worry! Children may already be meeting all or part of their daily quota in school or during play time. If they aren’t, you can always engage your child in fun, age-appropriate exercises outside of school.

Fun Exercises For Children To Stay Active And Healthy

Here are eight simple exercises for children, plus tips on how you can make them fun for your little ones.

Running

running exercises for children malaysia
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The next time you spot your kids chasing each other at the playground, let them! That’s actually the easiest form of exercise for children. Running gets their heart pumping, and any rapid changes in direction mid-run strengthens the bones and trains coordination. Plus, it helps burn off some of that bottomless toddler energy.

Make it fun:

  • Red Light, Green Light: Yes, like in Squid Game minus the violence.
  • Tag: Played in a group, a person tagged as “It” runs around and tries to tag someone else as “It”. The process repeats until the kids are knackered.
  • Last One Out: Have at least three kids run as many laps as there are kids running (eg four kids, four laps). At the end of each lap, the one who finishes last is out. The person left at the final lap wins.

Related: The Best Smartwatch For Taking Your Runs To The Next Level

Jumping

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Which kid doesn’t enjoy bouncing up and down a trampoline or bouncy castle? Now they’ve got good reasons to! Because jumping is another fundamental motor skill that doubles up as exercise for children. Much like running, it builds muscle strength, cardiovascular capacity, endurance, coordination, and balance.

Make it fun:

  • Jump Rope: Like the photo above, have two kids hold each end of a jump rope while another jumps over the rotating rope. Jumping rope requires some practice, but it will sharpen your kid’s coordination and timing in the process.
  • The Floor Is Lava: Randomly place cushions (or floor mats) around the house. Then get your kid to jump from cushion to cushion without falling into the ‘lava’, i.e. the floor.

Related: 8 Indoor Playgrounds In KL & PJ For You And Your Kids To Have Fun Together

Skipping

skipping exercises for children malaysia
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Never knew something as frivolous as skipping could be a form of fitness? Neither did we. But it makes total sense since it’s essentially a combination of running and jumping.

Make it fun:

  • Freeze: When the music starts playing, have the kids skip around. When the music stops, the kids stop too. Those who are still moving are eliminated, and the last one standing wins.
  • Hopscotch: Draw a hopscotch course with chalk or use hopscotch rings. Get creative – combine single and double leg hops, forward and backward hops, or even sideways jumps!

Ball Games

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Ball games also make exciting exercises for children. When kids toss, throw, catch, or kick a ball, they’re inadvertently training their aerobic fitness, balance, and hand-eye coordination. Just make sure to play in an open space, away from the breakable displays at home!

Make it fun:

  • Ball Toss: Set up a few baskets at varying distances and get your kid to toss balls into the baskets.
  • Bowl Catch: One person tosses the ball, while the other catches it with a salad bowl.
  • Dribble And Score: Line up some football marker discs in a row and mark a goal at the end of it. Get your kiddo to dribble the ball in a zigzag manner then kick it into the goal.

Hula Hoop

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Another simple, low-tech way to make exercise enjoyable for children is with the hula hoop. This classic toy is especially great if your kid revels in a challenge. Though watching a tutorial might help them get the hang of it quicker. When they eventually do, it’ll help them burn calories, develop coordination and rhythm, and strengthen muscles.

Make it fun:

  • Hula Hoop Contest: Challenge friends and family to see who can hula hoop the longest.
  • Pass The Hoop: Just for fun, have everyone hold hands and stand in a row. Without letting go of each other’s hands, pass the hula hoop from one end to the other using only body movements.

Bear Crawls And Crab Walks

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Bear crawls are exactly what you think they are – crawling on all fours like a bear with the belly and knees lifted off the ground. More than imitating a furry beast, bear crawls are actually full-body movements that engage almost every muscle in the body. This makes it a very beneficial exercise for children to build core, upper, and lower body strength.

Crab crawls, on the other hand, are inverted bear crawls, with the hips and belly facing upwards rather than downwards.

Make it fun:

  • Crawl Race: Crab or bear crawl to the finish line!
  • Balancing Act: While crab or bear crawling, have the kids balance an object like a stuffed toy or pencil case on their back or stomach. Whoever goes the furthest without dropping the item wins.

Yoga

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Yoga isn’t just for adults. They’re also great for kids as a gentle form of exercise. Not only does it help improve a growing child’s strength and flexibility, it also regulates emotions through deep breathing. For kids who sit a lot, stretching out those muscles with yoga will do them a world of good.

Make it fun:

  • Role Model: Kids love doing what adults do. So when you practise yoga, roll out a mat for your kid and invite them to join you.
  • Follow Tutorials: Like Cosmic Kids Yoga or Alo Yoga on YouTube.

Squats And Lunges

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Squats and lunges are simple exercises for children to improve lower body strength and stability, both of which are vital for any sports. Start off by learning how to do a proper squat and lunge, then move on to variations and games. The same can be done with push-ups and sit-ups.

Make it fun:

  • Personal Best: Count how many squats or lunges your child can do correctly in 30-second intervals. Then slowly improve with practice.

Raise Active And Healthy Kids With Fun Exercises For Children

exercises for kids malaysia
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If your kid has mastered all eight of these exercises for children, why not combine all of them into the ultimate obstacle course? Parents can squeeze in some exercise and join in on the fun too. That will put everyone’s fitness to the test and bring out some friendly competition! Alternatively, you can incorporate these exercises as part of the kids’ circle time activities. However you choose to do it, have fun and exercise safely!