25 Exercise Games and Fun Indoor Activities to Get Kids Moving

Kids Fitness Exercise Games and Acivities for Kids

Despite my best intentions, sometimes getting to a gym isn't in the cards. I realized my family needed to find ways to integrate movement and exercise into our everyday lives. While suburban kids can get out in their backyards, city kids don't have that luxury. A park or playground is a worthy substitute, but sometimes even making it down the block is out of the question. For those days, I've created a list of 25 easy indoor exercise ideas to do with kids at home.

Keep the focus on the fun and exercising won't be a chore. All you need is a willingness to get to work. Hopefully these ideas inspire you to think of your own entertaining ways to get moving.

25 Exercise Games and Activities for Kids

  1. Headstands: This activity is great for your core muscles and gets blood going to the brain.
  2. Jump rope: If you have downstairs neighbors who complain, go in the hall or right outside your building. To make it more fun, pick up a book of jump-rope rhymes.
  3. Balloon ball: There are endless ways to play with balloons indoors. Try to keep it off the ground or just play catch.
  4. Wheelbarrow, crab and bear-walk races: Holding one of these tough positions means you get a real workout.
  5. Animal races: Hop like a bunny or a frog, squat and waddle like a duck, etc.
  6. Obstacle course: Create a furniture course in your apartment or take chalk and make a course outside.
  7. Follow the leader: Add to the workout by doing energetic movements like jumping, stomping and squatting.
  8. Dance party: Turn on the music and shake your groove thang.
  9. Freeze dance: When the music stops, freeze in your pose and hold it until the music starts again.
  10. Scavenger hunt: Write up clues and hide them around the apartment. Kids can race to find each clue for a small prize at the end.
  11. Jumping jacks: Simple but good for coordination and they get your heart going. When my kids can't sleep, I make them do 25 to tire them out.
  12. Parachute: This kiddie gym standby can be re-created at home with old sheets. Each kid takes an end of the parachute or sheet and fans it upward while one of you runs underneath, around or to the other side. 
  13. Bubble wrap attack: If you get bubble wrap in the mail, jump on it until it's all popped.
  14. Clean-up race: Set a timer or put on a song and see who can right the room the fastest.
  15. Tickle tag: Chase your children and when you catch them, it's tickle time.
  16. Temper tantrum: Have a fit for the fun of it. Flail, stomp and scream.
  17. Carnival: Set up carnival games like knock down the milk cans (we used Tupperware).
  18. Hallway bowling: Fill up water bottles and use any ball you have.
  19. Hopscotch: Use chalk or tape to make a game on your floor or outside your building.
  20. Pillow fight: No explanation needed.
  21. Sock skating: If you have hard floors, put on socks and skate around. See if you can do spins or hockey stops, or who can slide the farthest. Make sure to move the furniture and watch for splinters.
  22. Bubble bashing: Blow bubbles and let your child try to smash them.
  23. Wrestling: Put down a mat, or play on a rug or bed. See if your kids can wrestle you to the ground.
  24. Pushover Mom and Pop: Plant your feet and see if the kids can budge you. If you move your feet, they win. To make it easier for little kids, you can stand on one foot.
  25. Popcorn pushups: Put a small bowl of popcorn on the floor. Lower yourself down and stick out your tongue to get a piece of popcorn with each thrust.

Figuring out ways to get the kids moving inside our city apartment is a theme for me. Check out this earlier post on exercise games that get kids moving for under $20.

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Photo courtesy of PLAY Greenpoint.

This post originally published in October 2011.