Exercise Ideas For Children: 7 Days of Family Fun

10 min. read
Exercise Ideas For Children: 7 Days of Family Fun
BY Virgin Active South Africa
Posted On 12 March, 2024

It’s no secret that regular exercise is good for our heart, lungs, bones, muscles, and stress levels. But do you know just how vitally important exercise is for children too?

Exercise improves motor skills and coordination and is linked to increased confidence, cognitive ability, decreased anxiety, and improved sleep—all of which are common challenges that modern children face thanks to an increasingly sedentary (and post-COVID) society.

So, where do you start? It could begin with fun ideas for the family to exercise and enjoy together. To get your kids on a winning workout track, we’ve put together seven easy-to-follow and fun-to-do workouts that you can activate with your kids in the lounge or on the lawn for only a few minutes daily. Try these fun family exercises with your children for a week. Perfect timing for the holiday season!

Take the 1-week challenge


1. Wheelbarrow races
Have your child lie on their stomach in a push-up position, then lift them, holding their legs (not just their feet). Your child will need to engage their core to keep their body as still as possible while they walk using their hands as you “push” them around. If there are several children and adults, how about doing a wheelbarrow race over a short distance?


2. Ladders
Target their speed skills. Use a ladder for older kids or chalk-drawn blocks for the smaller ones, and then get them to jump with both feet together between the blocks/rungs of the ladder, keeping the knees soft and landing gently. For older kids, increase the complexity of the drill by getting them to follow a pattern (e.g., jumping inside on one block and outside on the next).


3. Jump and Dodge
For this fun game, you will need a basket of different-sized balls, balled-up paper, or rolled-up socks. One person stands a few metres in front of the other, who will quickly roll/throw the balls along the ground towards the other person’s feet (who must dodge them).


4. Ice-cream game
You may need to manage some expectations with this one, as there’s no ice cream involved. Start by giving each child a toilet roll, and a ball (or a balled-up piece of paper). Ask them to balance the ball on top of the toilet roll like an ice cream. Challenge them to do relay races, walk through obstacle courses, climb stairs etc. without letting their “ice cream” fall off the cone.


5. Washing basket target
Set up two boxes or washing baskets, one in front of the other. Then, stick a piece of paper with a number in each one: 10 for the closest and 20 for the furthest. Select balls of various sizes (from a ping-pong ball to a basketball) and draw a line for the little contestants to stand behind. By throwing the balls into the baskets, they score points. Tally them up to see who wins after a set number of throws.


6. Broomstick game
This one is ideal for kids aged 8 to 13. Get two children to stand 2m apart, each holding a stick or broom out in front of them. Then call out, “Ready, set, go.” Then, on “go!”, the kids must drop their sticks and try to catch the other stick before it hits the ground.


7. Hopscotch
Hopscotch is an age-old game for developing your kid’s hopping skills. Use chalk to draw different shapes in a straight line, one after the other, or cut out A4 pages securely taped to the floor with masking tape. Put your hands above your head like bunny ears while hopping to make this game even more fun! You can also use this activity to teach your kids about shapes as they hop from one to the next.

Written in collaboration with nine experts in health, nutrition, fitness, and wellbeing, Virgin Active’s Kids Are Here to Move e-book, is a holistic development and wellness guide for busy families. It’s a great dip-in, dip-out resource for hard-working parents and active kids that will promote a mentally and physically healthy life.

Did you know?

Most Virgin Active clubs have dedicated kids’ facilities to keep kids safe, active, and happy – freeing you to train (or work). If you’re already a Virgin Active member, simply bring the little ones to the club and chat with them at Reception, where they will give you two free guest passes. This way, your kids can try out Club-V, and you will help them ignite a lifelong love of movement. Visit a Virgin Active gym near you to find out more.