Mindful parenting may be a wellness trend this year, but sometimes the best thing to do with children is just let loose and have some fun. And as the weather takes a turn for the colder (and the wetter), some of these playtimes have to go from the park or the playground, and to the living room.
The good news about this is — just like you do with hiding vegetables to get your kids to eat healthily — you can hide the fact that these activities are, in fact, exercise. You’re also tricking yourself into partaking in some exercise snacks. Really, everyone wins.
And we’re not talking about using your child as weights; there are household items that can double as weights for that. If your kid’s got a competitive streak (and let’s be honest, lots of them do) set these up as a friendly challenge — prizes are not mandatory… unless you win, of course.
Kids Exercise at Home #1: Running
It’s a pretty obvious one, but how do you take it inside? Playing tag is always a winner — just make sure to clear any potential trip hazards before you start. Chasing is another fan favourite. It literally involves chasing your child around the house, capture usually involves tickles.
Kids Exercise at Home #2: Bear Crawls
If you have dress-up animal ears around the house, even better! Mark two lines — with a toy, a streamer, some blue tack — get your palms and feet flat on the ground and race your kid. Whoever wins gets to let out the loudest roar.
Kids Exercise at Home #3: Crab Walks
Not a fan of bears? Flip it ’round, and crab walk. Have your kids sit with their feet in front and hands behind — then get them to lift their hips off the ground and hobble sideways. They’ll love the silliness of it; you will too.
Kids Exercise at Home #4: Animal Races
Adding to the above, pick your child’s favourite animal and get them to imitate it, while racing. Kangaroo jumps, frog hops, duck waddles… snake slithers? You’ll both be giggling by the end of the race, regardless.
Kids Exercise at Home #5: Jumping Jacks
Or star jumps — whichever name you use. Either way, this easy-to-do exercise can be turned into a competition very easily. Pick a number and see who can get to it first; it’s a way to get them to practice counting too. Or choose a time, and see who can do the most in that time.
Kids Exercise at Home #6: Obstacle Course
Kids love clambering on, over, and through things. This might be one you just have to oversee as opposed to take part in (there are some small nooks that only children can get through!), but it’ll tire them out while amusing you.
Kids Exercise at Home #7: Dance Party
This one’s easy. Turn on their favourite song — or if you’re sick of The Wiggles, turn on yours — and get to dancing! Easy to do, and really doesn’t involve much.