While suburban kids can always run around in their backyards, city kids often don’t have that luxury. A park or playground is a worthy substitute, but sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate or just getting out of the apartment is too much to navigate with the kids. But if a family still wants to integrate movement and exercise into their everyday lives, there are plenty of quick—and fun— exercises that can be done right in your living room. Try our list of 25 easy indoor exercise ideas to do with kids at home. We promise everyone will be tired and laughing after attempting just a handful.
Keep the focus on the fun and exercising won’t be a chore—and maybe these ideas will inspire your family to devise more entertaining ways to get moving.
25 Exercise Games and Activities for Kids
- Headstands: A great activity for your core muscles and to get blood going to the brain.
- Jump rope: If you have downstairs neighbors who complain, go in the hall or outside your building. For more fun, pick up a book of jump-rope rhymes.
- Balloon ball: There are endless ways to play with balloons indoors. Try to keep it off the ground or just play catch.
- Wheelbarrow, crab and bear-walk races: Holding one of these tough positions gives you a real workout.
- Animal races: Hop like a bunny or frog, squat and waddle like a duck, etc.
- Obstacle course: Create a furniture course in your apartment or take chalk and make a course outside.
- Follow the leader: Add to the workout with energetic movements such as jumping, stomping and squatting.
- Dance party: Turn on the music and shake your groove thang.
- Freeze dance: When the music stops, freeze in your pose and hold it until the music begins again.
- Scavenger hunt: Write up clues and hide them around the apartment. Kids can race to find each clue for a small prize at the end.
- Jumping jacks: Simple but good for coordination and they get your heart going. When my kids can’t sleep, I make them do 25 to tire out.
- Parachute: This kiddie gym standby can be re-created at home with old sheets. Each kid takes an end of the parachute or sheet and fans it upward while one of you runs underneath.
- Bubble wrap attack: If you get bubble wrap in the mail, jump on it until it’s all popped.
- Clean-up race: Set a timer or put on a song to see who can right the room the fastest.
- Tickle tag: Chase your children. When you catch them, it’s tickle time.
- Temper tantrum: Have a fit for the fun of it. Flail, stomp and scream.
- Carnival: Set up carnival games such as “Knock Down the Milk Cans” (we used Tupperware).
- Hallway bowling: Fill up water bottles and use any ball you have.
- Hopscotch: Use chalk or tape to make a game on your floor or outside your building.
- Pillow fight: No explanation needed.
- Sock skating: If you have hard floors, put on socks to skate around. Try spins or hockey stops, or see who can slide the farthest. Make sure to move the furniture and watch for splinters.
- Bubble bashing: Blow bubbles and let your child try to smash them.
- Wrestling: Put down a mat, or play on a rug or bed. See if your kids can wrestle you to the ground.
- Pushover Parents: Plant your feet and see if the kids can budge you. If you move your feet, they win. Stand on one foot to make it easier for little kids.
- Popcorn pushups: Put a small bowl of popcorn on the floor. Lower yourself down and stick out your tongue to get a piece of popcorn with each thrust.
Figuring out ways to get the kids moving inside our city apartment is a theme for me. Check out this earlier post on exercise games that get kids moving for under $20.