25 Exercise Games and Indoor Activities to Get Kids Moving
Whether it's rainy, snowy, or even too hot to hit the park or backyard, exercise games are a great way to get everyone in the family giggling and away from the screens for a bit.
We've put together a list of 25 easy indoor exercise ideas to do with kids at home. It's a really simple way for a family to integrate movement and exercise into any day. Most of these can be done right in your living room, and will even work in tight city apartments (or hallways). We promise everyone will be tired and laughing after attempting just a handful.
Keep the focus on the fun and exercising won't be a chore—and maybe these ideas will inspire your family to devise more entertaining ways to get moving.
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1. Push-ups. These push-up challenges are sure to get everyone moving. Also try popcorn push-ups: 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.
2. Jump rope: If you have downstairs neighbors who complain, go in the hall or outside your building. For more fun, pick up a book of jump-rope rhymes.
3. Obstacle course: Create a furniture course in your apartment or take chalk and make a course outside. Add in specific mental or physical challenges to keep them guessing.
4. Bubble wrap attack: If you get bubble wrap in the mail, jump on it until it's all popped, or try one of these other bubble wrap games and activities.
5. Animal races: Hop like a bunny or frog; squat and waddle like a duck; and so on.
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Balloon tennis is a simple game that's fast and easy to set-up. Photo by Ally Noel
6. Balloon ball: There are endless ways to play with balloons indoors. Try to keep it off the ground or just play catch. Mix it up with balloon tennis!
7. Follow the leader: Add to the workout with energetic movements such as 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 begins 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 have them do 25 to tire out.
12. Parachute: This kiddie gym standby can be re-created at home with sheets. Each kid takes an end of the parachute or sheet and fans it upward while one of you runs underneath.
13. Wheelbarrow, crab, and bear-walk races: Holding one of these tough positions gives you a real workout.
14. Clean-up race: Set a timer or put on a song to see who can right the room the fastest.
15. Tickle tag: Chase your children. 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 such as "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 hardwood floors, put on socks to skate around. Try spins or hockey stops, or see who can slide the farthest. Make sure to move the furniture and watch for splinters. My kids also like to up the speed factor with a couple of pieces of wax paper under each foot.
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 parents: Plant your feet and see if the kids can budge you. If you move your feet, they win. Stand on one foot to make it easier for little kids.
25. Headstands: A great activity for your core muscles and to get blood going to the brain. Kids are often naturals.Photo via Shutterstock.
This article first published in October 2011, but is regularly updated.