Fun Fitness Hints for Children

Many children are turned off to exercising when the adults in charge forget that children like to play and have fun. The key to working with children is making the exercises fun. There are many ways to incorporate safe, fun activities and several helpful hints are in this article.

With movement you increase the chance of injury and never assume the child understands exactly what to do. Always be aware of potential dangers before starting any activity. Visually show and verbally warn children of the high-risk or off-limit areas. If hazards can be removed, do so; when not, they need to be marked off with cones or lines. When doing movement activities with several children it helps to have a signal (whistle/hand clap) to immediately stop movement. Let them know that when the whistle blows or the light blinks they are to stop moving. A fun way to practice this is to have children move slowly around the play area and when the stop motion signal is given they freeze like a statue. Praising the child who was quick to freeze also is an incentive for others to do the same. Freezing can also be an exercise: dead bug(child on their back with legs and arms in the air), standing on one foot, upright pushup position(plank), etc.

Do not just tell a child to perform an exercise, make it a game:

• Instead of running in place, around a field or on a treadmill; play tag, relay races, dance to a popular song or have an obstacle course.

• When performing squats tell the children they are Sumo wrestlers and have them make funny grunting sounds.

• Planks can be done facing a partner and giving a high five or passing a ball.

• If the child is jumping tell them they are a superhero jumping on a roof or over a wall.

• Ask the child what their favorite video game or TV show and use your imagination. If a child likes The Simpson, have them pretend they are Bart Simpson running fast in place on hot sand and ask them to try to sound like Bart making “ouch, ouch, ouch” sounds. When you say “safe” they step on a towel and rest.

• Keep track of child’s successes and acknowledge them with exercise movement; jumping high fives, victory run around room or house, and/or a silly happy dance to the song of their choice.

Again, the key is fun! Have fun laughing with the kids and not at them.

For more info on Susan Glaser Tracey’s book “Fun Fitness Training for Kids” go to

By Susan Glaser Tracey  |   Submitted On May 01, 2012

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