Top 20 Kids Fitness Games To Keep Your Child Healthy
Fitness Games For Kids
Do you want your kids to grow up healthy, happy and well-adjusted? Of course you do; so why not spend more time playing with them? There are some great kids fitness games that are fun to do – and they’ll get them away from their computers and DVDs for a while too. And on top of that they are a great way to spend some real quality time together with your family.
It’s recommended that school age kids have at least an hour of physical activity each day, divided up into sessions of at least 15 minutes each. And pre-school kids need a little more than this. But children these days are just not getting that, and this is one of the factors that’s leading to a huge increase in overweight and obese children. And this in turn is causing a lot more health issues further down the line.
So here are 20 fitness games that you can play with your kids – or they can play amongst themselves. The first 5 are mostly for pre-school children, whilst the rest are a bit more advanced and primarily for kids of school age. Hope you enjoy them…
Fitness Games for Pre-School Kids
1. Animal Moves
A great game to help your children develop balance and coordination is to have them try to imitate the movements of different types of animals with you.
For instance you could hop on all fours like frogs. Or hop on two legs with your feet together and hands in front of your chest like kangaroos.
Then you could walk like chimpanzees with knees bent, legs far apart and arms swinging.
You could walk on your hands and knees, pretending to be kittens; or walk on your hands and feet like bears.
Play ‘Follow the Leader’, or if there are a few children present you could make a race out of one of them – or even a few of them together.
2. Balloon Batting or Kicking
Using an inflated round balloon and a cardboard tube show your child how to bat the balloon around the room, or bat it to each other while keeping it in the air. This helps develop hand-eye coordination and timing.
An alternative to this is to simply kick the balloon to each other, and if the balloon is kicked high into the air try to catch it with your hands.
3. Follow the Leader
Have your child lead you around the room (or the garden), over and under obstacles such as furniture or playground equipment. Encourage them to vary the pace and direction. Then swap over, and you lead your child around. This helps develop balance, coordination and speed.
Facing your child, make various body movements that he or she can copy (or ‘mirror’). Movements can include waving your arms, jumping, stepping, bending or running in place.
After a few minutes swap roles and you mirror your child’s movements. This is great for developing coordination and balance.
5. Walking the Tightrope
Lay a piece of string along the ground in a straight line. Then show your child how to walk along it heel to toe, with arms extended out to the side for balance. Have them try to walk all the way along it from start to finish without ‘falling off’.
You could also walk along the line backwards or sidestepping. Or have a few pieces of string on the ground and do a different walk on each.
More games, projects and other ways to connect with your kids
Fitness Games for School Age Kids
6. Balloon Tennis or Volleyball
Hang a piece of string up between two chairs, about a meter high. Then blow up a round balloon and hit it back and forth to each other over the string, using children’s racquets. If the balloon touches the floor the person on the other side of the string scores a point. First one to 10 points wins.
You can make your own racquets if you wish by simply taping a paper plate to a stick.
Alternatively you can hit the balloon back and forth over the string with your fingertips (like in volleyball). These games are great for developing hand-eye coordination and timing.
7. Baseball Batting and Catching
For this you will need a children’s plastic baseball bat and ball. Throw the ball underhand to your child so they can practice hitting it with the bat. Your child should stand sideways with their left food closer to you than their right foot (or the opposite if they are left handed) and with the bat held at shoulder height.
You could also throw a softball overhand to your child so they can practice catching it. Show them how to stand ready to catch the ball (hands at head height with thumbs side-by-side and fingers separated), and as their ability improves you can increase the distance you are throwing from.
8. Basketball Dribble
Using a large bouncy ball, show your child how to dribble with it (i.e. bounce it continuously with the palm and fingers of the hand). You can do this right handed, left handed or two handed, so practice all three.
You can then play a mirror game where your child copies the hand you are using, as well as the speed and height of the dribble.
9. Bowling Drinks Cartons
Set up a few drinks cartons or bottles (e.g. milk cartons), partly filled with sand or soil, as bowling targets either on your driveway or inside the garage. Then try to knock them over by bowling a large ball at them. Each carton you knock over is worth a point.
This is a great game to develop coordination, motor control and the ability to read distances.
10. Crab Walk
Show your child how to crab walk by squatting down, placing your hands behind you and lifting your hips off the floor. Then walk around using your hands and feet.
You can play Follow the Leader of have a crab walk race. This is great for developing strength, coordination and balance.
11. Dodge Ball
Here one player stands with their back to a fence or wall and tries to dodge a foam ball that the other player throws at them.
When the first player is hit you can switch places. Or you can see how many times you can hit them out of a total of 20 throws. The player who is hit the least wins.
Kids playing hopscotch
How often do you play fitness games with your kids?
For this game you need a hopscotch grid; or draw one on the ground with chalk. You also need a stone or small bean bag to use as a marker.
Then you line up in front of the grid and the first in line throws the marker onto square 1. They then hop over square 1 and continue to hop through each of the other squares. At the end they turn around and hop back, pausing to pick up the marker, and then hopping back to the start. (Note: where there are two free squares side by side you land with one foot in each and then continue on one foot).
The marker is then thrown onto square 2 and they go again. This is repeated until they have done the entire hopscotch grid.
If a player touches any of the lines or steps into the square with the marker they have to start again at square 1.
13. Jumping Rope
Tie a long piece of rope to a fence or post (or if two adults are present each of you can hold one end of the rope). Then swing the rope in a circular motion so that each time it touches the ground your child can jump over it.
Start by rotating the rope fairly slowly and increase the speed as your child becomes more experienced.
14. Football Kicking
Make a soccer goal by placing two objects about 8 – 12 feet apart, preferably next to a fence or wall.
Then show your child how to kick a soccer ball, first with the instep (top of the foot) and then with the side of the foot.
When kicking ensure the toes of the foot you are standing on are pointed towards the goal, and as you kick bend your legs slightly. When kicking with the instep, point the toes of your kicking foot downwards as it comes into contact with the ball. And when kicking with the side of the foot, turn your foot outwards and make contact with the ball with the inner side of your foot
Then when your child can kick properly have him or her shoot at you in goal, and score points for any goals that are scored.
15. Golf Tossing
Make several ‘golf holes’ on the ground using hula hoops or pieces of string arranged in circles. Then place some pieces of cardboard as ‘golf tees’ where you will throw from.
Take turns with your child throwing small bean bags or balls underhand from the tees to the corresponding golf holes. After each of you has thrown your balls, go to where they have landed and throw them again. Continue this until you both get your ball into the golf hole.
Take note of how many throws it took to get your ball into the hole and then move on to the next hole. When you have completed all the holes, the one with the least number of total throws wins.
Later you can progress to having the tees further away from the holes, and to using overhand throws instead of underhand.
Stretch out a piece of string on the ground and designate one side of it to be the river and the other side to be the bank.
Then when you shout ‘river’ your child must jump to the river side; and when you shout ‘bank’ they must jump to the bank side.
Try to trick your child by shouting ‘river’ when they are already on the river side and the same for bank. Then let your child have a turn calling ‘river’ and ‘bank’. Or if there are several players you can make it an elimination game, eliminating anyone who jumps to the wrong side until there is only one left.
17. Running or Standing Broad Jump
On a flat open space with a sand or grass surface mark a ‘jump’ line on the ground. Then show your child how to do a running long jump, running up to the line and taking off with one foot. Mark the spot where you landed and then he or she can do the same. Try to beat each others jumps; and try to beat your own.
Alternatively you can do this from a standing position. Stand behind the line, bend at the knees, reach downward and back with bent arms and then throw your arms upwards as you spring forward.
18. Soccer Dribbling
Make 6 – 10 three feet wide goals on a flat, open outdoor space. Place these at odd angles to each other and then show your child how to dribble a soccer ball through the goals by using soft, gentle kicks, keeping the ball close to the feet.
After some practice make a competition of it and see how many goals they can dribble through in one minute.
This is one of the best kids fitness games as it develops speed, balance and coordination as well as being great for improving cardiovascular fitness.
In an open outdoor space, define a moderate sized area as the ‘tag area’. Then play tag with one person who is ‘it’ trying to tag (touch) the other players. When a player is tagged they become ‘it’ and the game continues.
Alternatively you can play ‘freeze tag’ where a player who is tagged has to stand still as if frozen. Another player can ‘unfreeze’ them by going under their arm or through their legs.
20. Target Throwing
Make a target on a wall or garden fence by taping up some paper and drawing a circular target on it.
Then choose a specific distance to throw from and throw some small beanbags at the target (you can make your own beanbags by filling round balloons with dry beans or rice if you wish).
You score a point each time you hit the target. Compete to see who can hit it the most times out of a set number of throws.
As your child's throwing ability improves increase the distance you throw from.
I hope you found these kids fitness games useful and that you have lots of fun playing them with your children. There are many more of course, and you can make up your own if you wish. You are only limited by your imagination.