Inspiring Children to Exercise

Over 28% of children aged six to 17 are physically inactive! Only one in four children receive the recommended 60 minutes of daily exercise. These startling statistics explain why parents encourage their kids to go outside! Today’s children, drawn to screen-time, need ideas to inspire their adventures in the great outdoors.  A parent can help foster a love of heart-pumping activities while spending time together with the children!


Welcoming the start of summer vacation lends urgency to the clever idea of creating a daily routine. Morning is the ideal time to let go of stress, increase energy levels, and get the day started right! Because it’s too easy to say, “Let’s start tomorrow,” a schedule will help adults and children stay on track.  Whether kids want to pick the day’s exercise (written on slips of paper), spin a wheel, agree the night before, or plan a week ahead, knowing the activity will help prepare the mind and body for movement.

Exercises to Consider:


Lacing a pair of running shoes and hitting the pavement, or sliding onto a bike seat require taking one step backward.  Parents sometimes forget the value of preventing injury through preparation.  As children sit for long periods, they need a means to reduce muscle tension, improve joint stability, and mobility.  Yoga stances are ideal in helping children enhance their flexibility while controlling breathing.  As concentration and a sense of relaxation improve, children develop a feeling of inner fulfillment. Start with a book or cards that offer detailed instructions on a child’s bow, cobra, and camel poses, seated toe touch, and stretches termed “cat-cow,” “overhead arm,” “crossbody shoulder,” and “butterfly.”

The “How Many” Game

Kids adore technological gadgets.  It’s the reason they have difficulty leaving the house; yet, with the handy-dandy pedometer, also known as a step counter, adults and children can create mini-challenges to get moving!  On walks through a park or in the neighborhood, ask, “How quickly can you take 100 steps?” or “How many steps to the park bench?” Mornings or late evenings can include estimating, calculating, and potentially beating old records.  Create a family chart to mark step counts at the end of the day!

The Obstacle Course

​A paced-out driveway and sidewalk chalk offer an exciting way to combine togetherness with exercise.  Kids would enjoy creating the circuit comprising beams to jump or crawl under, buckets to weave in and out between, bean bags to toss, six standing stones to build balance, and other items, such as bouncing balls, a hula-hoop, and a balance beam.  (Parents should consider creating a few permanent pieces for kids to use, including ropes, stepping-stones, and bars.)

Rainy Days

Walking with an umbrella in hand may not appeal to everyone; so, consider following a routine on YouTube, such as yoga or Pilates.  If families want a fast-paced cardio workout, consider a dance rhythm game called “Just Dance,” available on all gaming systems. Indoors workouts offer plush surfaces to teach children how to perform a stairway-, wheelbarrow-, and wall-push-up.  Try a game of “Mirror Image Challenge” by calling out poses and stretches and seeing which team can mimic twisting and stretching perfectly!

Pack an Adventure Bag

Exercise offers spur-of-the-moment opportunities, especially when on the road; therefore, consider packing a bag of fun, comprising kites, bean bags, Frisbees, sand toys, and beach balls.  Don’t forget to add sturdy walking and water shoes for everyone in the family.  You never know what destination will require delving into the adventure bag.

Studies prove the lifestyles learned in childhood tend to remain throughout adulthood.  Parents can make physical activity a family priority, whether it’s mountain biking and hiking in a nearby state park, learning about archery, or kayaking.  Every experience opens the door to building a solid foundation of lifetime health.








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