How to Exercise with Your Children

It’s every parent’s dilemma: how do you find fun ways to keep your kids fit? Television, computers, tablets, and more encourage them to stay sedentary. In addition, American diets are more and more laden with sugars and carbohydrates. So you have to keep those kids moving! Fitness expert Celia Kibler is here to show you how. She’s director of Fun Fit, where “fitness is child’s play.”

What the center does is bring families together to participate in great activities that will be fun for everyone. It teaches how to play together in fun and noncompetitive ways and what happens in the process is that everyone (kids and parents alike) gets fit together in the process.

What do you need?

There are a lot of things you can use that you already have around the house. Pots, pans, and kitchen items can be repurposed for fun and games. A beach ball works great when paired with a swimming noodle. A tablecloth, towel, or sheet will come in handy, and of course blowing up and using balloons is a time-honored favorite.

Warmup activities

Use songs for great warmups; everyone moves better to music! The warm-up Celia advises is a kids’ favorite song, The Wheels on the Bus. Make sure that everyone has a scarf in their hand, and use big gestures (that work more muscle groups) to do the wheels on the bus (circles), the wipers on the bus (side to side), the horn on the bus (shake hands and scarf in front), and the mommies and the daddies on the bus (give yourself a hug.

Running around like crazy

Make sure that the room is free of debris. The leader says, “Run around like crazy!” and everyone runs around like crazy until the leader calls, “Stop!” After running around like crazy, you can alternate with crawling around like lizards, flapping around like birds, sailing around like boats… you’re limited only by your imagination.

Fun with a parachute

This helps the arm muscles. A real parachute is best, but you can also use sheets, towels, or a tablecloth. Warm muscles up by shaking the parachute together. Add balloons and try and keep them on the parachute.

Making an obstacle course

Setting up an obstacle course in your home is a lot of fun. You want to make sure as you design it that it makes your body go in lots of different directions: crawl under some things, step over other things, slide sideways, jump, whatever works inside your house (and be careful of potential breakage!) to make sure that you’re getting your kids and yourself in lots of different positions and therefore working lots of different muscle groups.

Creating a marching band

A parade is a great way to play with the whole family! Gather up pots, pans, spoons, lids… just make sure that you don’t use anything sharp that could hurt someone or anything breakable. You don’t need additional music but you can put a nice march on in the background to help you keep a rhythm, and march around (or outside of) your house!

All these and more are great ways to engage with your kids, making sure that they see movement as something fun and desirable… and it’s great for the adults in the family, too!