Screen-Free Activities for Kids : Exercise

If you're trying to stay away from screens for a while, check out these ideas and then turn off the device to have some physical fun.

Sheltering in place (while perhaps working from home with kids out of school/daycare) can lead to a lot of screen time. Don't feel guilty about that; these are difficult times and parents need to do what they need to do. Let us help! We're posting suggestions each day this week for how to get away from the screens for a little while.

If you're able, remember that you can go outside for exercise (staying at least 6 feet away from anyone not already in your household). Fresh air and sunshine go a long way toward improving the quarantine experience.

  • Take a walk around your neighborhood and identify colors, letters, and numbers. What do you spy with your little eye?
  • Practice running, skipping, and hopping to build motor skills. 
  • Do a lap or a block with a silly walk.
  • For older kids, try drawing a map of your immediate area; label the houses of people you know, street names, fruit trees, etc. Update it every time you go out. Maybe you can mold it in clay or trace the paths in sand or rice. 
  • Pass a ball back and forth. With younger kids, start close enough to hand the ball to each other, then take one step back and try again. See how far apart you can get before someone misses a catch.
  • Got chalk? Time for a hopscotch or foursquare grid.
  • Use a blanket or tablecloth as a parachute if you have enough people in your household; bounce light objects (crumpled paper, scarves, ping-pong balls) on top and take turns running underneath.
  • Make a list of objects to spot for a scavenger hunt during your walk.

You can also exercise inside:

  • Do your kids know how to do push-ups and sit-ups? How about lunges and wall-sits? Lots of exercises use only bodyweight and don't need extra equipment or a lot of space.
  • Make an indoor obstacle course (can be as simple as a loop with stations at various stopping points, or a long line with something at each end). Whenever you reach an obstacle, you have to do something like a jumping jack, put a stuffed animal into a bin, turn around three times, or touch your toes and then your nose.
  • Make shapes with your body. See what you can make with another person. Can you do the whole alphabet?