What’s inside this article: 15 fun workouts for kids that require little or no prep, require little space, can be done inside or outside, and benefit children’s physical and cognitive development in various ways.
Did you know that experts recommend children get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day? Their research suggests this much physical activity is necessary for optimal physical and cognitive development.
Long-term, daily exercise reduces the risk of heart disease, obesity, and some cancers. It also helps your body manage blood sugar and insulin levels, and improves bone density in children and teens, while also slowing the loss of bone density as we get older.
Some benefits of exercise for children?
Physical Benefits of Exercise for Kids
- Gross motor development
- Improved balance
- Improved flexibility
- Increased endurance
- Better motor planning
Cognitive Benefits of Exercise for Kids
The physical benefits of exercise are great but it’s actually the cognitive benefits of exercise that make it worthwhile to do a morning workout with your kids.
- Improves self-regulation
- Reduces hyperactivity and fidgeting (especially in children with ADHD or ASD)
- Improves focus
- Decreases anxiety & boosts mood
- Better learning
Basically, exercise positively influences neurotransmitters in the brain (it reduces cortisol and adrenaline and increases dopamine and serotonin).
This improves the brain’s functions which heightens the ability to process new information (learn) and improves sensory integration.
There really is no reason to not exercise.
Except, what do you do when your kids just don’t like sports? Find workout routines boring? Can’t get outside due to weather? You need to find a way to make it fun.
Fun Workouts for Kids
Ideally, exercise will be fun and tailored to your child’s interests so they are just being active and enjoying themselves. Exercise shouldn’t feel like a chore, especially when you’re young.
Some kids are naturally drawn to playing team sports, biking with their friends, climbing and swinging at the playground.
But some kids are shy and anxious, struggle with bilateral coordination, sensory integration, and social skills. The activities mentioned above aren’t fun options for them.
So, here are some fun workouts for kids you can try at home. Hopefully there is something here for everybody to enjoy. Choose workouts that match your child’s interests and get involved, too!
By the way, you may notice that a lot of these workouts aren’t very long. That’s because it’s easier for kids to get their 60 minutes in over several short sessions rather than expecting 60 minutes of exercise all at once.
Animal-Themed HIIT Workout for Kids
I created this fun animal-themed HIIT workout a couple of years ago and it’s been my most popular creation by far.
The workout was designed to help meet sensory needs and improve self-regulation. If you’re interested, you can read how that works here.
This workout has been downloaded over a million times now and has received positive feedback from parents, occupational therapists, gym teachers, and, most importantly, kids!
You can download the poster below, and read the instructions here
Tip: Want to make this workout even more fun? Make the animal noises as you do the animal movements. I promise your kids will be laughing.7 Minute HIIT Workout for Kids
Fun Dinosaur Themed Workout for Kids
If you have a child who loves dinosaurs, this is the workout for them. Each movement in this workout is named after a dinosaur and mimics their movements in some way.
The free download includes printer-friendly instructions and an illustrated poster. You can also read more about this dinosaur workout here.Dinosaur Workout for Kids
8 Minute Kids Workout
This is another animal-themed workout for kids, the moves are all completely different from the first HIIT workout.
These moves target sensory integration, core strength, and bilateral coordination. This is a great option if your child is a sensory seeker.
Download includes printer-friendly instructions and an illustrated poster. You’ll also find details instructions here.Morning Workout for Kids
Cosmic Kids Yoga
This is a YouTube channel with over 500 yoga videos for kids. What makes these workouts for fun for kids is that they are themed around popular games, movies, and TV shows.
The instructor tells a story, while using yoga movements and faster paced movements, while the video’s animations immerse you into their favorite game or TV show.
A personal favorite of ours is the Pokémon Yoga.
Some other notable videos include:
Would You Rather / This or That Workouts
These kids workouts started popping up on YouTube when schools went virtual and gym teachers had to find fun ways to keep kids active at home.
These are the most fun when you’re doing them with a couple kids, or you at least join in with your kids, because it gives a choice or a would you rather question, and the exercise you do depends on your answer.
There are a ton of these out there that are tailored to popular children’s interests you can check them out by searching on YouTube but here are a few we’ve tried and had fun with at home:
- Fortnite Dance Off
- This or That Family Workout
- This or That Summer Fun Workout
- Would You Rather Sweets Edition
- Favorite Disney Characters This or That Workout
All of these workouts for kids are designed to make exercise fun by using popular children’s interests as themes behind the exercises.
They all require low or no-prep and you can do them inside, and don’t need a ton of space.
Do short exercise breaks throughout the day rather than trying to pack an hour of exercise in all at once. These may be helpful as brain breaks as well. Use them in the morning in between tasks, or when the kids are getting silly to help burn some energy.
Yoga can also be incorporated into your child’s bedtime routine and may improve sleep, too.