12 movement activities for kids to stay fit
Updated: Sep 15, 2021
Summer is fast approaching and before you know it, the kids are home FULL FORCE again.
If you are like me, the preparation for keeping them highly engaged, with less screen time and more fun entertainment, will be needed to create the balance that our kids need. I am already looking at all the available options to keep them entertained for 2 full months.
Boy was it soo much easier when I was a little kid and had less access to televisions, cellphones, computers, and Ipads. Your only option in keeping active was to either help with chores or go outside and play with anything that you could find to play with.
If I ever told my mom that I was bored, she would quickly show me a tree in the yard and tell me to go and play with it. Fond memories of growing up!
Now that my kids are at the stage of childhood exploration, I have included activities that I have done with them that they find very entertaining. Some are actual games that I myself have played while growing up.
These activities will keep your kids fully engaged so that they can stay active and as I like to say, "burn off some of the wiggles". These activities also allow for more fun, exciting, and interactive play.
Here is a list of my 12 favorite movement activities and songs for kids to stay fit.
Have you also found any activities that you could share? Please feel free to add to my list, or ask your questions or concerns in our FORUM section. I would be happy to help you!
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“Some of my 12 favorite movement activities for kids to stay fit!”
1. HIDE AND SEEK Who doesn't love a good game of hide and seek? It's an old classic that I enjoyed doing as a kid. My husband and I have re-named it "time-out and seek". The kids hide and we go on a 5-10 minute break (our little secret). Here is how it's played:
Form two teams. The ones who are going to be hiding and the ones who will be seeking.
The hiders can then go and hide anywhere in their environment.
While they are looking for a place to hide, the seekers can count to 10 or a number of their choice.
Once the count is up, the seekers will go out and find the ones who are hiding.
The winners are the ones who can successfully find the hiding ones.
FYI: If the game is done with younger kids, the adults can choose to give clues (check the bedroom), should it get too difficult for them.
This activity helps with gross motor, communication, listening, and problem-solving skills.
2. JUMPING HULA HOOPS
Hula hoops were fun for me when I was a kid. Who didn't like hula hoops? I was clumsy with them but tried so hard to actually be able to do them.
My youngest sister was more active than I was and made it look so easy, while of course, I struggled with my clumsiness.
The hoops however can be used for so many different activities. My kids aren't "hula hooper" stars yet but, they can sure jump like frogs in a bunch of them.
You can purchase the hula hoops from the Dollar store or on Amazon, and have your child jump in several of them placed in a line or randomly all over.
This activity helps with gross motor (jumping and hopping) and problem-solving skills.
3. FUN MOVEMENT SONGS
There are songs that your kids can sing and then there are fun movement songs. The movement songs are not only fun to do but enable active movement and engagement.
These are songs that you actually have to listen to closely and follow the movements suggested. I love these songs because they also help to develop listening skills and concentration. A development that is needed especially at the kindergarten level.
This activity helps with gross motor, problem-solving, and concentration skills.
LIST OF SONGS
4. PLAYGROUND OLYMPICS
Here is another fun activity that I like to do with my kids. It's called playground Olympics.
If you have access to a playground in your community or backyard, then this is something different that they can do. I like to call it "instructional" Olympics.
Tell your child what to do as if it was an actual Olympics marathon. Say things like "climb up the stairs", then "go down the swing", then "crawl up the monkey bars", then "run up the stairs", etc.
They are not only exercising but also learning how to navigate through different obstacles by following instructions.
This activity helps with gross motor, communication (listening), and problem-solving skills.
*Image by Jon Tyson
Hopscotch was popular back in my childhood. I remember having so much fun playing this game with the neighborhood kids. Some of you may remember it as well. I still think it's a wonderful game for my kids to learn and play as well.
For those of you who are not familiar with this game, here's how to play it:
Draw squares and numbers with sidewalk chalk on the sidewalk or pavement (as seen in the picture above).
Have your child throw a small stone unto any square.
Then jump from square to square (except for the square that has the stone) until you get to number 10.
Turn around and start jumping back to number one (pick up the stone that was thrown).
If you are unable to keep your balance, then you have to try again.
This activity helps with gross motor( hopping and jumping), concentration, and problem-solving skills.
6. ONE-TWO-THREE REDLIGHT
One two three red light was one of my favorite childhood games to play. I love to teach my kids these games that I myself enjoyed. Here are the instructions:
Get a group of children or your family together.
Select one person as the leader.
Everyone else should form a horizontal line at the start.
While the leader stays at the finish line, they are to turn around with their backs to the others and then cover their eyes.
While their back is turned, they will say "one, two, three, RED-LIGHT".
The persons in the line will now move forward as quickly as they can towards the leader.
The leader will then turn around after saying the above words.
If a person is caught moving, after the leader turns around, they will have to go back to the starting line.
The winner of the game is the person who can reach the finish line first without being caught moving by the leader.
This activity helps with gross motor, personal-social growth, concentration, and communication skills.
7. STRETCHING EXERCISE
You can't go wrong with some good old fashion stretching exercises with kids. They just love it. You can play their favorite songs and just have them form different positions. My kids are fond of imitating different animal positions.
If you do have picture cards or books with pictures of animals, you can make it even more fun by allowing them to either pick an animal they want to imitate or have them pick at random.
This activity helps with gross motor, engagement, and character recognition (eg. recognition of animals and their movements)
8. TREASURE HUNT
Treasure hunt is another old classic fun game to play with family or friends. I like to do it a little differently, however, by giving my kids a list of items around the house or even outdoors to go and find. Here is my version:
Give your child a list of fun items around the house that they can find eg. brown teddy bear, silver fork, etc.
Once they locate the item, they can either report back to you or mark it off a list.
The person who locates all their items successfully has completed the game.
You can reward each child with a sticker or prize to make it more exciting.
This activity helps with problem-solving, recognition, and communication skills.
Click below for a FREE TREASURE HUNT LIST DOWNLOAD that you can write items for them to find at the park, beach, nature walk, etc.
9. KITE FLYING
I am old school if you haven't realized by now. I loved the outdoors with the boys. While the girls were playing with dolls, I was with the neighborhood boys chasing lizards. I was however fascinated with flying kites.
Growing up in the Caribbean, involved a lot of engagement with the outdoors. In the summer months when school was out for a break, my sisters and I would often visit our grandparents (no phone, computers, and limited television). That was where we learned how to build kites from outdoor bamboo trees and disposable plastic bags.
Those days were indeed fun! Now I want my kids to have the same experience of being outdoors as much as possible. We haven't tried to build the kites from scratch, but thanks to some really nice neighbors, we received free kites that they love.
The kites (Amazon, Walmart, or the Dollar store) came with four markers that the kids were able to personalize. We then went outdoors in an open field near our house and just flew their kites. I didn't know what was worst whether the kids or the grown-ups fighting kids for control of their kites. It brought back so many fun summer memories.
This activity helps with gross motor, communication (listening), and problem-solving skills.
10. WALK THE LINE
Maybe your kids like mine are not in any gymnastics programs as yet, however, you can do your own home or playground gymnastics. You can definitely watch a couple of gymnastics you-tube videos and then re-create some of those activities with your kids.
My kids are fond of the walk the line activity (shown in the picture above). Whenever they go outside and see a curb, they like to practice balancing on it.
This activity helps with gross motor skills (balancing and eye coordination).
11. WATER BALLOONS
Movement activities would not be great if I didn't add a little bit of water fun. Which kid doesn't like water anyway? Now that summer is approaching, I can definitely imagine the fun with water balloons.
Water balloons can be purchased at your local Dollar store or any store that supplies them.
They can be filled with water from an outdoor hose and then piled high into a bucket or garbage bag.
Everybody can then join in on the fun and get crazy with the balloons. The goal is to hit as many victims as you can. This can definitely be done in a backyard, open field, or park. It's so much fun for kids to do especially at birthday parties.
This activity will help with gross motor, communication (listening), and problem-solving skills.
12. RIBBON OR SCARF DANCE
Ribbons and scarves can be used to bring fun to any movement activities. You can start by cutting a piece of ribbon or party streamer into 6-foot lengths, or get colorful scarves from your closet as alternatives.
Your child can then move around with their ribbons or scarf in any motion they like. They can try loops or circles, form shapes, numbers, etc. Put on some music as well and have some "ribbon dance" fun.
This activity helps with gross motor (hopping and jumping) skills.
Overall, these are some of my top 12 favorite movement activities for kids that I know will definitely keep the computer, tv screen, or Ipad away for some more interactive playtime. I will update my list as I go. But for now, try a couple of these activities and see the excitement build.
Did you find the strategies listed in this article helpful? What were some of your favorite tips? How have they worked for you? Leave a comment below, I’d love to know what you think.
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