Encourage your child to try one of these physical challenges before they sit down to work quietly and as a break between tasks that take concentration. Little kids will have fun doing these challenges — and they’ll find it easier to focus after they’ve got their wiggles out. In addition to being kid-friendly, exercises for kids are great for your child’s brain development.
20 great exercises for kids
The 5 ways to walk challenge
Try each of these for a minute!
#1 Walk backwards!
#3 Cross one foot in front of the other for every step.
#4 Inch worm (Put your hands on the ground in front of your feet. Walk your hands forward, then walk your feet to meet your hands. Then walk your hands forward again and keep going!)
#5 Commando crawl (crawl on your feet and elbows)
The jumping jacks challenge
Start by standing with your feet together and your arms by your sides. Jump so your feet are wider than hip-width and your arms are up in the air making a V. Jump back to the starting position. That’s one. Can you do 25? 50? Count them aloud as you do them!
The sprint-walk-skip-hop challenge
Find a space that’s at least 25 large steps from beginning to end. (If this is difficult you can double these exercises back in a small space.) Mark the starting and ending points. Start at one end and sprint to the other as fast as you can. Walk back. Now skip from the start to the end. Legs together, hop back. That’s one round of the sprint-walk-skip-hop challenge. How many can you do? 5…10…25? Use a paper and pen to mark down how many rounds you complete!
Dance along and pop the corn!
Sing and dance along to this kid-led ditty about corn, potatoes, bananas, and more.
With your knees bent, walk on your hands and your feet like a bear! Can you walk to the kitchen? The bathroom? Climb up on the sofa and back down?
Great big moose
Sing and dance along to this follow-along song and dance — and learn the truth about the moose and the juice!
Start by sitting on the ground with your feet on the floor in front of you and your hands on the floor behind you. Raise your rear end off the floor and start walking on your hands and feet. Now you’re crab walking! Where can you go and how fast? (Be careful as you move backwards!)
Clap stomp jump
Follow along as Eric and Zoe lead kids through an almost 4-minute routine of choreographed clapping, stomping, and jumping.
Squat down so your legs are bent and your hands are on the ground. Jump forward and land on your hands and feet at the same time. Before each jump, say, “Ribbit!” How many frog jumps can you do in a row? See how high and how far you can jump.
Be a butterfly and try yoga!
Check out this fun, age-appropriate 15-minute video that leads little ones through yoga stretches while having a good time.
Play freeze dance
Choose a song to dance to. While the tune is playing, you dance — but when someone pauses the song, you freeze in whatever position you’re in until the music starts again. Have an adult or older child control the music or follow along with this video.
Boom Chicka Boom
Sing and dance along to this popular camp song.
Head, shoulders, knees, and toes
Learn these lyrics, and practice singing the song. Then sing and use your hands to touch your head, shoulders, knees, and toes, etc. as directed! (Check this video for help with the tune.)
“Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes
Eyes and ears and mouth and nose
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes!”
Sing and dance along to this quick video that gets kids moving.
Start by standing with your arms straight up above your head. Raise your left leg straight out in front of you and lower your right arm and see if you can touch your toes while balancing. Now try the other leg and arm. Can you do this 20 times? More? How many can you do without losing your balance?
Do the gummy bear
Dance along to this fun video that gets kids grooving.
Crouch down so you’re standing on your feet, but your knees are bent and your body is as small as possible. Now jump up with your arms and legs out so your body is as big as possible. When you land, crouch down and get small again — and jump again. Can you do 20 starfish jumps? Count them aloud as you go.
Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart and your arms straight out to your sides at shoulder height. Keeping your arms straight and your legs only a little bent, touch your right hand to your left foot, then return upright. Next, touch your left hand to your right foot. That’s one windmill! Can you do 15? 30? More?
Jumping jelly beans!
Did you know jelly beans love to jump? But sometimes they fall (gently) down and roll. Go ahead and jump, jump, jump like a jelly bean… and every few jumps, gently fall down and roll in different directions. Have fun!
Lie on your back with your legs up in the air making a V. Cross your legs, alternating which leg goes in front of the other. Can you do this while you count to 30? 40? 50? Find out!
Check out these exercises for kids in third through fifth grade, too.