Image of kids dancing in their living room.

Indoor Fitness Tips for Kids

Updated July 2, 2020 . AmFam Team

Check out these great ideas to help your kids stay strong and exercised at home. We’ve put together a go-to list of aerobic, muscle-building and bone density-increasing exercises for the whole family.

Is gym class moving to your living room this school year? It’s key to remember that kids need plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy — especially if they’ll be at home learning all day, where cabin fever can set in quickly! So, whether it’s time for gym or they’re just getting antsy, we’ve rounded up some tips on indoor activities for kids that’ll help them release some energy so they can stay focused come time to learn.

Before beginning any exercise routine, be sure to check with your pediatrician and discuss your exercise plans. Ask your doctor their opinion on what they'd recommend for your kids. And most importantly, remember to make time for yourself with everything going on around you.

Ideas for Keeping Kids Active Indoors

Kids should have at least an hour of physical activity each day. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), school-aged children should have three types of active fun to help them stay healthy:

Aerobic fun

Although the kids should get their heart rate up every day, half of the week should be reserved for even more vigorous physical activity. Try these ideas to help your youngsters stay fit and active inside the house:

Make a painter’s tape obstacle course. Use a few different colors of low-tack masking tape to create two or three different routes on the floor in an open space inside. Make an X every time the kids need to jump and a T when they need to crawl across the line. Get creative with stuffed animals and other soft household objects for serpentine sections. Use a timer to encourage your kids to get that blood pumping over and over.

Throw a freeze dance contest. Fire up the Bluetooth speaker and play everybody’s favorite songs for a half hour freeze dance-a-thon. Before the fun begins, have a few small trinkets or prizes available to hand out after each round. It’s a good idea to break the party up into five-minute segments and remember to give everyone playing a chance to win a prize.

Play balloon volleyball. Be sure that you’ve got a clear area — free of any sharp-cornered objects or other hazards — before playing. Try inflating a party balloon and letting the kids smack it back up in the air to one another. Have them count the number of hits and make it a challenge to best their record. They’ll be laughing and out of breath in no time at all.

Muscle-strengthening activities

Daily routines that incorporate lifting, lunging, sit-ups and push-ups will help strengthen their core and develop muscle systems. Jumping jacks, bike rides and water bottle curls are great ways to help them get strong at home. Take a look at these great ideas for getting your kids' muscles moving:

Try mountain-climber push-ups. Have kids alternate doing a standard push-up with a knee push-up. Then have them try each again, this time switching with one foot off the ground. In addition to building core strength, they’ll also be focused on balance and coordination.

Officiate a bear crawl relay race. Designate a clear area for shuttling back and forth. With only hands and feet on the floor, time the kids as they bear crawl to and from a distant turn-around point. Encourage them to roar like bear to help keep them in the zone.

Motivate with high-intensity interval training. Push your youngsters to the limit with a star jump challenge. Otherwise known as in-the-air jumping jacks, set a timer to see who can do the most star jumps in one minute. Allow them a three-minute recovery break, and then fire them up to go it again.

Repeat that cycle for half an hour. In addition to great cardio, this exercise will push kids’ muscles and lungs! Chart their progress over time and reward them when they beat their previous record.

Get results with water bottle curls and squats. Save plastic water bottles after use, wash and refill them with water. Have your kids mirror you doing several sets of curls so they understand the importance of posture and positioning.

Start with eight ounces of water in each bottle, gradually increasing the weight over time. Do the same with squats, working on form: straight back, hands holding the bottles evenly at shoulders. Then combine the two exercises and have them do sets, lifting the bottles repeatedly overhead.

Bone density-building with diet and exercise

It’s commonly known that strength-building exercises, when combined with a diet rich in calcium and vegetables, can help increase bone density. Try out these bone-building ideas to help your kids thrive indoors:

Focus on calcium in meals and snacks. Because much of bone density building requires a good diet, try including the following into your kid’s meal routines:

  • Calcium-fortified orange juice
  • Yogurt
  • Calcium-enriched cereals
  • Daily vitamin D supplements
  • Meals with high-calcium protein sources like salmon and tuna

Assign daily tasks that require strength and endurance. Have kids carefully move laundry to and from their bedroom and take out the garbage every day. When they’re able, let them safely walk the dog for 15 minutes — or just go for a walk with them every day. Then, bump that up to a jog a few times a week when they’re ready.

Stream a kid’s yoga class. Look online for free kid’s yoga classes to fire up their core and build bone density. They’ll likely benefit from the mindfulness training that comes with yoga classes.

Enroll in hip hop lessons online. Similar to weight-bearing exercises, kids can increase bone mass by climbing stairs, dancing and practicing gymnastics. One great answer to the bone building question is to have them get up and dance a few days a week. Hip hop dancing instruction online — that you can stream right to your TV — is a great way to teach them coordination and timing while they’re getting in the groove.

Explore Optional Homeowners Coverages

Making the most of your home — especially when the kids are around more than usual — is a great time to revisit your coverage options and limits. Reach out to your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) and schedule a coverage review to be sure your home’s carefully insured. You’ll feel better knowing that you’ve got the protection your home needs, and that can translate into real peace of mind.

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