How to Make Exercise Fun for Kids

Let's get fit as a family! Whether you're stuck indoors trying to limit screen time, or just eager to get outside and stretch your legs, these activities for kids will make exercise an enjoyable and engaging experience.

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio ©2016

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: VisitSavannah.com

Photo By: Anthony Tahlier

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Time Trials

Design a time trial course in your backyard or local park, and let your kids set their prescribed reps. Practice the same course – whether it's back and forth to a tree across the yard, or a lap around the house – and invite activity while also letting them celebrate improvements in their own personal record.

Take a Hike

Whether you've mapped an ambitious distance across varied terrain or want an easy walk down to the valley in the park, hiking and walking is a simple exercise. Make it more fun for kids by turning it into a nature scavenger hunt or a lesson in birdwatching and insect identification.

Put a Tent on It

Kids of all ages agree: if you must do gym class on the iPad, it's always more fun in a tent. Next time you're looking to get your kids active, suggest putting up the camping tent or building a living room fort in which they can do their workout. If they need a relaxing form of exercise, let them pick out a yoga video online, and lay the yoga mat down right in the backyard.

Clever Idea: Turn an Old Tent Into an Amazing Playroom

Master the Bicycle

Offer your children bicycles early in life; if you can do it every day for a few minutes, they'll pick up the know-how really fast. After practicing with only strider bikes (no training wheels to rely on), both of my kids started riding 12-inch two-wheelers in preschool. Athleticism and motor skills do play a part in this, but I also like to think that their low center of gravity and fearlessness contribute to their success. Once they conquer the ability to ride a bicycle independently, it's easy to include physical fitness in an everyday routine. Start with rides in your own driveway, around empty parking lots, and eventually, when their balance and ability to ride in a straight line is reliable, up and down neighborhood sidewalks so they can begin to learn safety protocols for being around pedestrians and driveways.

Clever Idea: DIY Bike Rack: Upcycle a Crib Rail Into a Bike Stand

List a WOD

Inspired by the Crossfit craze, a "Workout of the Day" can be anything you want. Make a list of exercises to keep kids active and challenged, and let them check their to-dos as they go. Let them time themselves on a stopwatch, as it can be motivating for them to try to beat their time the next day. Set achievable goals so your kids aren't discouraged, and offer a reward for a WOD well done!

Create a Scavenger Hunt

A competitive scavenger hunt is an easy way to get your kids active, whether it requires them to find items around the home, on a hike, or on a walk through the neighborhood. Build your own rules to make it most exciting for your family: how many items can you find in 30 minutes? First to finish is relieved of dish duty! Make it a challenge and give them a good incentive for getting off the couch.

Design a Chalk Course Challenge

Take sidewalk chalking to the next level by creating a long, motor-skill rich course in a safe area with plenty of foot traffic (such as a cul de sac, public sidewalk or a road without vehicle traffic). Kids and adults alike will enjoy the variety of activities you've outlined. Consider features that encourage balance, hopping, jumping both high and long, spinning, silly walking and lunging.

See More: Sidewalk Chalk Project for Kids

Try a New Sport

Share in new experiences that'll get you and the kids out of the house. Kayaks, canoes, paddleboards and paddleboats can often be rented, offering newbies the opportunity to get their feet wet exploring a new skill. (Pro tip: Pack devices in a zip-lock plastic bag if you must bring them along for the ride.)

Add Climbing Areas

Rock climbing can offer your kids a creative outlet both indoors and out. Rock climbing grips can be added indoors to walls and outdoors to a tree or on a secure playset.

read more: Kid's Bedroom With Rock Wall

Design an Obstacle Course

Keep your kids busy with a backyard obstacle course that challenges their abilities and allows them to compete with each other. Incorporate water features, inflatable objects and their favorite sports equipment, and then let them run around and test their coordination and precision.

See More: Summer Backyard Water Games for Kids

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