First Day of Summer Fun! Three Easy Family Workouts

Happy first day of summer!

(Houston was finally ahead of the curve on something, right?  I mean, it has been summer, hasn’t it?)

If you have small people in your life (smaller than me), and you haven’t yet shipped them off to camp, you might help them build healthy habits and burn off some extra energy with these fun family-style workout games.

training-conesSilly Stations

I play this game with my kids’ fitness classes and they love it because they get to call the shots.

You will need:

  • Cones or some other kind of marker for the station locations (water bottles work great, or even pillows if you’re inside) – at least 3, but up to 7 depending on the ages and attention spans of your small people
  • Optional: A Timer
  • Optional: Paper and a marker to write down the move for each station
  • Optional: active toys or sports equipment

How to play:

  1. Set up the markers at least several feet from each other to allow room to complete each station’s activity.
  2. Let the small people come up with the “moves” for each station.
    1. If you have a hula hoop to twirl or a soccer ball to dribble in place, those are fun fall-back options, and there’s always the standard jumping jack and push-up (even if their form is…questionable), but the moves can be anything they come up with.  Silly dance move station?  Try to kick yourself in the face station?  (Speaking from experience!)
    2. Give them several minutes to come up with whatever kind of movement they think will be fun – and if they come up with too many, help them start a list for “round 2” (even if that is tomorrow or at another future date).
  3. Start the game!
    1. Let the small people choose a number of reps for each station, use someone’s age, or even set a timer for each round.
    2. Complete each circuit once, or go around several times (they will probably want to go around several times!).
    3. Be ready to play along, too – they will love to see you enjoying the moves they planned!

10_playing_cardsCard Chaos

Just like your favorite workouts at Tiny Fitness…use a deck of cards to set the rules for the activity!  You can play along with your small people/person, but this even works great as a form of solitaire 🙂

You will need:

  • A deck of cards
  • Optional: active toys or sports equipment

How to play:

  1. Assign an activity to each suit (hearts, spades, clubs, and diamonds) OR let the small person/people choose.
  2. Draw one card at a time.  The number on the card will tell you how many times to do each activity.  For example:
    1. An 8 of hearts might be 8 tennis ball bounces
    2. A queen of spades might be 10 big jumps
    3. A 3 of diamonds might be 3 steps like an animal (an elephant? a gorilla? a T Rex?)
    4. A 9 of clubs might be 9 skips or gallops (or hops!)
  3. Play until the deck is finished OR until interest wanes.
  4. Optional variation: assign new moves to the suits after about 15-20 turns to keep the small people engaged.

Rowdy Relay

Relay races are common currency in elementary physical education classes, so your small people will already feel like pros in this activity.  Let them come up with silly – or challenging – ways to get to the far cone and back.  This game also works inside, especially if your movement doesn’t include running.

You will need:

  • cones or other markers
  • optional: oversized shirts, small stuffed animals, cups of water, sports equipment (tennis racket and ball, soccer ball…)

How to play:

  1. Set up two or more lanes of two markers, one at the start and one at the far point.
  2. Determine the requirements for the first out-and-back – should each player have to balance a stuffed animal on his or her head?  Should everyone have to put on an oversized shirt before starting their journey to the far cone, passing it to the next player when they return?  Do you have to keep a tennis ball balanced on the racket?  Dribble a soccer ball?  Skip?  Walk backward?  Or walk like a chicken?  If you’re at the beach, try building a sand castle at the far cone, adding on to it with each round. The possibilities are endless!
  3. Make it competitive for older kids, or keep it participation-based for smaller kids, but either way take turns going from near cone to far cone.  Don’t be surprised if your small people want to repeat each challenge a few times.

Fitness Tips for Small People (Children)

Children do not have the endurance that adults do, and that is A-Okay! Let them dictate when they’re tired or when they need water breaks – children develop at different rates, but 4-5 year-olds might need breaks as often as every 4-5 minutes.

Let fitness be a game – after all, it should still be fun even as an adult.

Incorporate some of your fitness favorites into family activities – if you love Zumba, put on any song and have a silly dance party (focus on arms and other upper body moves if your small people aren’t yet in middle school).  If you love yoga, encourage your small people to try out tree, eagle, triangle, or other fun standing poses.  If you love jogging, try doing a short jog-walk interval through the neighborhood as a family.

Compliment your small people on their enthusiasm and hard work! Don’t focus too much on talent or skill, but instead try to keep the focus on fun and on the good feelings that come from getting moving.

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