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Fun Fitness for Kids: Getting Exercise in Unexpected Ways

Updated on May 29, 2012
He looks happy but NOT healthy
He looks happy but NOT healthy | Source

Get Your Child Active!

Some kids are naturally active and it’s easy to keep them moving. Take my own kids for an example. I have to try my hardest to keep them from bouncing off the walls, running through the living room, and turning the kitchen into a dance studio. But over the course of providing in-home childcare I have seen many kids who won't budge unless it's to make it to the restroom! I watched these "lazy" and overweight kids, who would rather sit on the couch staring into space than move their booties to a dance beat, with a heavy heart. I knew if I could ignite the spark in them and get them moving in a fun, creative way they'd learn to love it and lead a more active lifestyle. So I set out and made a fitness goal for my childcare center and I will share it with you today so you can hopefully get your own children moving and grooving and feeling healthier in no time!

Childcare Fitness Goals

My center's goals:

1. Get each and every kid moving for at least 35 minutes a day through play and fun games

  • The 35 minutes do not need to be consecutive minutes
  • Exceptions will be made for ill or injured children

2. Each child who participates in the 35 minutes of active time will receive a sticker to place on his or her Movement Mayhem Chart

3. At the end of a month the children get to vote on a reward for participants with a certain number of stickers (the number will depend on the total days of attendance at the center for each child)

Fun Kid's Fitness Idea 1 - Indoor Ice Skating

This is only an option for your center if you have hardwood or tile floors. AND safety must be the first priority and THEN fun at a close second for this little game.


Extra pair of men's-sized clean socks for each child
Can of dusting spray, furniture polish, or floor wax
Bicycle helmets and perhaps knee and/or elbow pads depending on your relationship with your clients
Tons of energy

Clean the floors the night before ice skating and remove any extra furniture or debris to minimize accidents. Just before activity-time spray the bottom of each sock with the spray you chose and slip the socks onto a child's feet. Set the kid loose to slide and glide across the floor in his or her new slippery footwear! If you floor is big enough you can set loose more than one child. But if it's a smaller area you may want to make the children take turns. I can let all three of my daughters skate in my kitchen because I only have myself to hold liable for any accidents. Please keep that in mind when choosing this activity. Although we want to prevent ALL accidents for the kids' sakes we also want to avoid any legal issues.

Children Dancing
Children Dancing | Source

Fun Kid's Fitness Idea 2 - Dance Party!

I know, I know. I JUST said I have to fight to keep my own kids from turning the kitchen into a dance studio. But what I really meant to say was "I have to fight to keep my own kids from hogging the kitchen that we turned into a dance studio." I simply forgot a few words. The supply list for a dance party is super short and easy.


Good speakers
Pumpin' music
Assorted dress up clothes for boy and girls

To have a rocking dance party you have to dress the part. Let the children dress up in princess dresses, old heels, floppy hats, top hats, and men's dress shirts (these can all be bought from a thrift store at minimal cost). Find some appropriate music and crank up the speakers. I have yet to meet any child who can hear music and hold still. Some of my favorite children's music CD's include Laurie Berkner Band and Dan Zanes. The songs are cute and light but not too babyish for the older children. And don't hesitate to jump in there and dance with the little ones! It's a great form of exercise for adults as well.

Fun Kid's Fitness Idea 3 - Scavenger Hunt!

This is one of my personal favorites. You can set up teams and/or times to keep the game moving at a decent pace. The kids are actually running around trying to find clues and you're sneaking in their 35 minutes of active time. To make the game more difficult place clues in areas that are far apart and watch the kids run back and forth.


Note Cards
Grocery sacks or baskets to hold collected items
Prizes/toys to scavenge
Overall prize 

Write clues on the note cards to lead the children to hidden items around your yard or home. Hide the trinkets in the specified areas and hand each team or child a sack or basket. Set a timer and tell the children that the first team or child to find all the hidden items gets the big prize. Any other teams or children who find all the items before the timer goes off get a second, smaller prize. This way all the kids can get a prize - even if you need to help the stragglers towards the end of the game. Prizes can be small trinkets or special privileges. For example, the overall prize could be the opportunity to wear the special winner's pin you made the night before or a small bag of pretzels. The smaller items could be stickers or small coloring sheets. The idea of this hunt is to get the kids moving, not to send you to the poor house buying prizes.

Obstacle Course
Obstacle Course | Source

Fun Kid's Fitness Idea 4 - Obstacle Course for Kids

Drag out the furniture to set up an obstacle course fit for any kid. Use regular household items to make things for the children to climb over, under, around, and through. Let the kids go through the obstacle course as many times as they want. They can race each other, race a timer, or try to beat their personal best time.


Laundry baskets
Dining table chairs
Any other household items you can play with!

You can add super silly things to the obstacle course such as:

  1. a high wire act by placing a jump rope along the ground for the kids to pretend to cross
  2. a balancing game where children must balance an egg on a spoon while running from point A to point B
  3. water balloon toss (good for hot days) where the kids have to move from point A to point B while tossing and catching their water balloons without dropping them

I hope you enjoy these ideas and use them in your home or childcare center. It's important for children to get into a healthy and active lifestyle starting at a young age. It's also important for the kids to realize exercise and physical activity can indeed be fun! Thank you for taking the time to read this hub. Here's a toast to healthier children!



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    • Ardie profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Neverland

      Thanks for reading Simone! I know I'd STILL love to do the obstacle course and scavenger hunts :) I enjoy doing childcare because I am a great big kid and I have so much fun with it

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      I've found great success with obstacle courses and scavenger hunts in the past. Awesome advice!

    • Ardie profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Neverland

      Aaw, thanks so much Gypsy Rose! I try to keep things fun with the kids. I feel it is my duty as a mom :)

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      9 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      You've got some great ideas for kids Ardie. Passing this one on.

    • Ardie profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Neverland

      thebookmom - you snuck in there on my somehow and I almost missed you! Im always looking for easy and inexpensive. This day and age you HAVE to. Thanks for reading!

      Hi there Triplet Mom! You're such a great support. I just did the dance party/clean today and it was way more fun than grumbling through it :)

      Hi Made :) Thank you for the votes! My kids do have their down-time too - thankfully. My favorite time is to cuddle under a blanket watching a movie :)

      Hi PCC! I've decided I will call you a different name on every hub hahah I like the name treasure hunt better - its just sounds fancier! No more dogs this week. You will need to carry dog mace now.

    • poshcoffeeco profile image

      Steve Mitchell 

      9 years ago from Cambridgeshire

      Cool hub Ardie and a news bulletin at the end. Whatever next!. In this country a Scavenger Hunt is called a TREASURE HUNT.Scavenger to me conjours up thoughts of rabid dogs roaming round in bins for scraps of food. Oh no we're back on dogs again. Enough for one week.

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 

      9 years ago from Finland

      These ideas are very good. My kids are quite active. They can also sit in front of the tv for hours, which of course isn't that good, but sometimes that's good for a tired mum. :) Voted up, useful and interesting!

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 

      9 years ago from West Coast

      Great hub and awesome ideas!! I like the cleaning game personally....anything that gets them moving and my house clean at the same time is a true hit!

    • Ardie profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Neverland

      Hello RHW! My kids are like yours if they are stuck in the house for too long. They'd rather be in 5 feet of snow or rainy mud than sitting inside. Your scavenger hunt idea is great! I wish we could do that here but our houses are too far apart :P You should make a hub about it so I can link it in for people in close neighborhoods!

      Melovy, your teen might look at you a little odd if you start an impromptu dance party! But the looks alone might be worth it. Now I will admit something here and hope my pediatrician doesnt see it but I do NOT make my kids wear helmets. That was just added for the sake of anyone else commenting about the danger issues.

      Haunty, thanks for reading! Your brother was the fat kid with the candy stick hahah I wonder who your parents appreciated more...the fat bore or the fun hyper kid? I always prefer the hyper/active kids because they are entertaining

      Hi Sunshine and thanks! I saw that pic and couldn't stop laughing at the poor thing. I took your idea and I did Tweet this with #michelleobama, you're so smart - thanks!!!! My kids are all about competing too...Im still the fastest for now.

      Hello dear Tammy! I love dance parties. We hold them just about daily. Especially when Im cleaning the house. I dance and clean while the kids just dance!

    • thebookmom profile image


      9 years ago from Nebraska

      Awesome hub. Your ideas are fun, easy and inexpensive-love that. I can't wait to try the scavenger hunt and obstacle course.

    • tammyswallow profile image


      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Fabulous ideas! There isn't anything more fun that a dance party. These are wonderful suggestions!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      9 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Haha! I loved the photo! Superb ideas to get kids moving! I suggest you tweet this to @michelleobama she could use these tips for her Let's Move Program to help reduce obesity! Faith likes to beat me so we do alot of running races so she could "beat me":) ok some times she actually does! Haha! VOTED UP and AWESOME!

    • Haunty profile image


      9 years ago from Hungary

      Absolutely fabulous fitness ideas for kids, Ardie. It was a pleasure read, because when I was a kid I loved to run around in the house and crawl over things. My brother was the opposite, he was the fat kid with the candy stick in the picture. Your kids are the best kind, I'm sure they'll do all the above things together. Spontaneously. :)

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 

      9 years ago from UK

      Ardie, this hub brings back some great memories for me. I used to love polishing floors when I was a kid, because we ‘skated' with the polishing cloths! No helmets in those days, but our house wasn’t really big enough to get up a dangerous speed.

      My kids used to be very active, and the younger one still is, but the older one has had a lot of illnesses and is now less eager to exercise, so I’m wondering which of these great tips might work on a teenager. Hmm…

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      9 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Great ideas Ardie - the kids in our neighborhood team up and have the scavenger hunts where they go door to door asking for different items. They stay together and only go to the houses of people they know - very important! lol It is great fun - I will have to incorporate it into an indoor idea when it is cold though.

      We have the dance floor down stairs - with karaoke! lol

      My kids go crazy if they can't play outside for too long!


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