Physical Activity Ideas for Your Kids

Sarah Cowgill (Burnie/Somerset)

Sarah has extra training in paediatric physiotherapy and shares some of her ideas to keep your children’s activity levels up, as well as continuing to promote their physical development over this time.

During this uncertain time when many children are home from school, school sports have been cancelled and weekend activities are limited, it can be hard to find ideas to keep our kids physically active. It is also made more difficult by the weather becoming colder and days getting shorter.

It is important for our children to not just continue with activities such as running and walking, but also to try activities that involve building strength, coordination and additional skills they would otherwise be learning at school.

Below are some ideas to help parents out in this challenging time. These exercises are better suited to primary school aged kids.

Try and think about what a normal school week would involve and try to replicate this at home if possible. i.e. recess and lunch, daily PE, PE classes, after school/weekend sports and training.

  • Inside obstacle course
    • Put together a collection of things to climb on or under, things to balance on, things to jump over, or items to carry.
  • Hopscotch
    • The good old fashion hopscotch is great for those aged 5/6 and over. Get your child to throw a stone into each square in sequence and must hop up to that square, pick up the stone and hop to the end. You can make adaptations to jumping squares (instead of hopping) for those younger.

Children's hopscotch game on the pavement Premium Photo

  • Balloon in the air game
    • Blow up a couple of balloons and get your kids to keep hitting them to keep them up in the air. Great for hand eye coordination and gets kids running around.
    • You could also set up a rope across your lounge room and play balloon volleyball. This one was a hit when I was younger.
  • Climbing trees
    • Climbing trees is such a great skill for balance and strength.

Little girl to climb a tree

  • Skateboard swimming races
    • Race down the driveway lying down on a skateboard and using your legs to push off. Great for back and neck strength.
  • Skipping
    • Kids in late primary school should be able to skip over a rope. Use a small rope for 1 person skips or a large rope and have the kids all skipping together. Great for coordination and leg strength/balance.
  • Hurdles down the corridor
    • Set up toys/books/sticks on the ground and kids must run or walk and step over each item.
  • Long jump
    • Practice running down the corridor or outside and jumping over several items as far as they can. Or put sticky tape on ground.
  • High jump
    • Sticky tape a balloon on a string to your doorway and kids must run and jump up to try tap the balloon. If they are taller, they can try touch the top of the door frame
  • Simon says exercise class
    • Try playing Simon says but use basic exercises as the instructions i.e. ‘Simon says jump 10x on the spot’ ‘Simon says skip to the other side of the room and back’
  • 4 square
    • Great for playing outside with 2 or more people. Use a ball suitable to the age group. Helps to improve ball skills and hand eye coordination
  • Non running races
    • Try a range of races that don’t just involve running. You could also make them to be as slow as possible which is great for posture control.

      • Egg and spoon race
      • Crawling race
      • Frog walk race
      • Skipping race
      • Walking just on toes or just on heels race
  • Outdoor sports
    • Set up some cones or rocks in backyard and play some soccer or football
    • Play netball or basketball with a ring
    • Practice some dance routines
    • Play on swings and slides if you have them
    • Run around and play tag or 321 home.
    • Jump on the tramp

Father and kid playing with ball Free Photo

  • Fun exercise routine
    • Make up an age appropriate exercise routine.

      • Here is an example

        • 10xstar jumps
        • 10x high knees
        • 10x push ups
        • 10x hops on each foot
        • 10x throw and catches of ball
        • 10x squats
        • 10x side steps each way
        • 5x 10m sprints
  • Rolling down hills
    • Enjoy the mud-covered clothes as winter comes
  • Bike rides and walks
    • Remember to distance yourselves form people not in your household
  • Fit ball soccer
    • Use your fit ball as a large soccer ball outside
  • Backyard tennis
  • Set up a rope along the backyard to try hitting the ball to each other but it is not allowed to bounce at all
  • Kids yoga
    • A lot of kids love copying what their parents are doing. Get down on a mat together and get them to copy some yoga moves while you do them. There are lots of videos out there on some routine ideas. This is great for flexibility and balance.
  • Wii fit/movement computer games
    • There are a range of games out there that involve the kids having to move in order to play the game

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more exercise ideas in the coming weeks and months. There are some good exercise ideas for adults too.