Parenting

Fun Ideas to Include Physical Activity for Kids in Your Daily Routine

Updated: April 26, 2024

By Samatha Botes, contributing writer

A lot of parents worry about whether their kids are getting enough exercise. Can you relate? 

For starters, kids are often stuck in front of screens for hours on end, and rarely get a chance to play outside, take part in physical activity, or participate in extracurricular activities that involve exercise.

While we all put the kids in front of the TV from time to time to get a little peace and quiet, this is no way to keep them active. So, let’s chat about how movement and yoga benefits children and what you as a parent can do to help your child stay active! 

Once we’ve covered these essential benefits, we can talk about fun ideas to include physical activity for kids in your daily routine! 

physical activity for kids

The Benefits of Exercise for Kids

Here are 5 ways exercise helps children stay active and fit, as well as mentally sharp:

  1. It helps build stronger muscles and faster reflexes
  2. It helps develop gross motor skills as well as fine motor skills
  3. Exercise can teach children critical thinking and decision making
  4. It improves cardiovascular function
  5. Movement builds stronger bones and muscles

How Much Movement Should Children Get in a Day?

The amount of physical activity that children get per day depends on their age and their individual personalities. But if you want to dive into guidelines for physical activity for adolescents, take a look at this guide put out by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

For the most part, however, children who are naturally ‘sporty’ want to be outside running around, while others may prefer to stay inside with a book. If your kids fall into the bookworm camp, they might need to be coaxed to play outside (hint: try encouraging them with yoga games for kids!).

The best time of the day for physical activities

Every person is different and every family is different.

Many people prefer being active in the early morning to start the day off fresh, alert and invigorated. Exercise is a great way to start your morning routine! 

Others prefer to end their day with physical exercise. This way they can burn off the stress of the day and maybe even fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. For tips on how teens and adolescents can get better sleep, check out our guide here! 

But what about kids?

Do kids need a morning or evening exercise routine like adults? Well, it certainly helps!

If you have young kids, perhaps they already get exercise at preschool during the day. Some preschools and teachers even include yoga for kids! Other schools incorporate gym classes at various times. And then, of course, there are the after-school sports and enrichment activities – some even offer yoga for kids!

If your children do not get enough exercise during the day, this is when you may need to add in some other physical activity, even if it means taking a family walk after dinner each night. 

Physical Activity for kids is Important

Regular movement is an important factor in a child’s development. When children get more exercise, their coordination, balance, focus and strength will hopefully improve.

While organized sports can help them develop social skills, individual sports and yoga poses for kids can also help them set personal goals and boost their self-esteem.

Changing a Child’s Attitude

Oftentimes, changing a child’s mindset is the most difficult part when it comes to exercise. While they may enjoy watching TV or playing video games for hours on end, they may put up a fight if you want them to practice animal yoga poses instead.

But, if you can work on developing exercise habits with your child early on, then it becomes second nature and their attitude will change too. Keep in mind that children model what their parents do – if you lie around on the couch all day, that’s what they will do. If you sit scrolling through your phone all day…that’s what they’ll do.

But if you go for a hike, or take the dogs for a walk around the neighborhood, even when you don’t want to, your kids will see that. And maybe, just maybe, your kids will become role models for you! 

Ideas on how to make exercise fun

physical activity for kids
  1. Create an obstacle course. If this means creating an obstacle course in your backyard, then do it! Print out a certificate for completion, or time them and challenge them to beat their previous time. Hold a parents versus kids challenge!
  2. Play yoga games. There are many games that children can play on their own, in pairs or as a group. Yoga games for kids are fun and improve overall body awareness.
  3. Have a family dance party. Let’s groove tonight! Get the whole family in on this and take turns selecting the music!
  4. Join the gym. And sign your kids up too! Some gyms offer special kids only areas where kids get to climb walls and take challenges. Get your child their own gym bag, sweat towel and water bottle – they love that sort of thing! Next time you go to the gym, take them along.
  5. Hula Hoop workout. If you don’t know how to hula hoop, take a class together. A hula hoop workout is so much fun! Turn up the music at home and challenge each other to see who can go for the longest time, or who can hula with the most hoops.
  6. Make it an outing. Get out of the house and try something new. Ice-skating, rock climbing, roller-skating, and mountain biking are all fun and a great way to burn off boredom.
  7. Challenge them to create yoga animal poses. With yoga there are some great animal poses you can practice with kids. By using this Pretzel Kids Animal Pose printable pack, you can even print out animal yoga cards, stick them on the wall (so you’re not looking at a screen), and see who can do which pose best. Make it more fun by imitating the animal you are trying to pose as! In addition, if the weather cooperates, go outside and try some new yoga poses outdoors! 
  8. Sneak in a little bit of exercise. After all, isn’t that what parents are good at (a.k.a sneaking veggies into muffins and cakes!) For example, don’t park as close as you can to the mall, park further away and walk there. Or, take the stairs instead of the elevator if possible. You can even turn this into a game by guessing how many stairs there are and counting them to find out who was the closest when you reach your destination.

Moms and dads – take warning! Be careful of the words you use. ‘Exercise’, ‘training’, ‘get fit’, ‘running’ – your child might just perform a disappearing act better than David Copperfield!

Instead, use fun words and phrases like, ‘Let’s play a game,’ or, ‘I have a great idea for a secret outing,’ or ‘let’s try fun yoga poses for kids!” Get them intrigued and half the battle is won.

If you’re really struggling to make exercise fun, we suggest taking it back to the basics with things your parents did that you should do today! 

Bringing it All Together

physical activity for kids

Besides encouraging your child to become more active, be mindful of what they eat during the day as this will also contribute to their focus, health, and energy levels.

Just remember that fun physical activities will help encourage your children to get moving! Plus, if you join in the games, your family can get fit together and create special memories for all of you to cherish. 

Are you ready to infuse a bit of physical activity into your kid’s daily routine? You’ve got this!

About Samantha

Samantha Bates is a mom of three living in Cape Town, South Africa. Being a single mom who is homeschooling two of her children as well as being self-employed, she understands the importance of keeping fit, eating healthy, and remaining calm – which sometimes can be tricky. She loves to travel and being on a safari in the African bush is her ‘peaceful place’. Writing is a great form of escapism, something which she believes everyone needs to have to stay sane in today’s fast-paced world!

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