Physical fitness for kids

Physical fitness for kids: 50 exercises for body balance

Alice Taylor Exercises for kids

Physical fitness for kids: 50 exercises for body balance

Physical fitness for kids
Physical fitness for kids

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To develop endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility, children need exercises that help them develop a variety of different movement skills.

These fine and gross motor skills help develop dexterity, muscle strength, hand–eye coordination, and sensory perception.

Developing fine motor skills is the building block for developing the larger motor skills, such as shooting a basketball into a hoop.

Fitness games involve more than running around. These games promote personal wellness and self-esteem through teamwork and strategies.

Physical fitness for kids includes balance, coordination, drills & rhythm games.

In this article, For kids will provide parents with a list of 50 fitness games and exercises for kids, which can be performed indoor and outdoor.

The following games are challenging and enjoyable to all kids and are not designed to show weakness in kids.

Group activities need to encourage problem solving and social interaction between kids.

Motor development progresses through a sequence of skill levels.

It is important to teach children the fundamentals of physical skills before they move on to more complex skills.

16 Balance games for kids

Balance is the foundation of every physical skill.

Balance is one of the most important basic skills kids can develop, but it takes some time and practice.

​There are two types of balance:

  • Static balance: control body in static position.
  • Dynamic balance: control body position while moving.

Here are 16 different types of games and activities to develop balance for kids.

1- Balance a Book

Props: A book for each participant

Tell the kids: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, arms at your sides, and belly button pulled back toward your spine.

Elongate your neck but keep your chin parallel to the floor.

Balance a book on your head and begin to walk slowly.

Take 10 steps, turn around, and walk back 10 steps.

Repeat this exercise 5 times.

2- Close Your Eyes

This level will challenge your child one step further by having them close their eyes.

Tell the children: Stand perfectly straight with your arms down by your sides and your eyes closed.

Now bring one foot off of the floor and hold this position for 10 seconds.

Do this 5 times and then repeat the exercise 5 times with your other leg.

3- Heel Up

Props: A chair for each participant

Tell the kids: From a standing position, shift your weight to your right foot.

You may need to hold on to something, such as a chair or someone’s hand.

Bend your left knee and bring your left heel up behind you.

Without using your hands, hold your foot as close to your bottom as you can get it.

Remain in this position for a count of 10. Return your left foot to the mat.

Repeat this exercise 10 times with this leg and then repeat the exercise 10 times using your other leg.

Variation: Challenge children who are comfortable in this position by asking them to grab the raised ankle with their hands and pull the heel closer to the buttocks.

4- Put On Your Shoe!

Props: A pair of each participant’s shoes

Tell the children: Sometimes falling out of balance can help you improve your balance by strengthening the supporting muscles.

In a standing position, try putting on your shoes, one shoe at a
time. Repeat this 10 times and then switch to the other leg.

Variation If this movement is easy for some children, have them try tying their shoes, too.

5- Walk the Line

Props: Tape, chalk, or a rope

To help with dynamic balance, have the children make and walk a straight line.

This simple exercise really does improve balance.

Tell the children: Make a straight line using a length of tape on the floor, sidewalk chalk on the playground, or the edge of a curb.

Walk the line placing your feet heel to toe.

Tip: Tell the participants to keep their eyes on the end of the rope, line, or tape.

This will make walking and keeping their balance a little easier.

6- Balance and Catch

Props: A ball for each pair

This game will challenge balance, hand–eye coordination, and
timing.

Divide the group into pairs or have the players choose partners.

Tell the kids: Have your partner stand off to one side.

You will toss the ball to her while she is trying to complete one of the following four balance challenges:

1. Have your partner walk a straight line. As she does, toss the ball to her. She must immediately throw the ball back to you. Do this 10 times.

2. Have your partner walk backward on the straight line. She must catch and throw back the ball you toss to her. Do this 10 times.

3. Standing on one leg, your partner catches the ball you toss and throws it back to you. Do this 10 times.

4. Standing on one leg, your partner jumps up and down. She must catch the ball you toss to her and throw it back. Do this 10 times.

7- Balance Challenge

Tell the kids: Stand on one leg, close your eyes, and count how long you can keep your balance.

Repeat this 10 times and then switch to the other leg.

Variations: To make this more challenging, stand on one leg and try these variations:

  • Place both arms overhead.
  • Raise one hand while keeping the other hand down.
  • Perform arm circles with both arms.
  • Close your eyes and try to touch your nose.

Repeat the variation of physical fitness exercise for kids 10 times and then switch to the other leg.

8- Knee-Up and Extend

Tell the children: Stand with your hands on your hips; shift your weight to the right foot.

Lift your left foot slightly so just the ball of the foot is touching the
ground.

Lift your left knee up so that the foot leaves the ground.

Then bring your leg down and extend it out to the side without letting the foot touch the ground.

Return to the starting position. Repeat the movement 10 times and then switch to the other leg.

9- Step-Ups

Prop: A step for each participant

Tell the children: Stand facing a step. Step up onto it with one foot, leaving the other foot behind so that it is not touching the step.

Repeat this movement 10 times and then switch to the other leg.

10- Balancing Kicks

Tell the kids: This exercise is meant to be performed at a slow pace.

Begin in a standing position. Keeping your arms out to your sides to help you maintain balance, shift your weight to stand on one leg.

Bend your other leg at the knee, bringing your foot up under you until your heel is touching your bottom.

Then kick straight out in front of your body.

Bring your heel back under your bottom and step back down into the starting position.

Repeat this exercise 5 times, then switch legs and do the exercise 5 more times.

11- Leg Stands

Tell the children: Start out standing on one leg.

Bending at the waist, try to keep your balance as you pick up an object off the ground.

Repeat this exercise 10 times.

Variations:

  • Stand on one foot. Move your arms in different positions: overhead, one up and one down, at shoulder height, one forward and one back.
  • Stand on one leg and close your eyes.

12- Figure-4 Lunges

Tell the children: Standing on your left leg with your hands on your hips, bend your right knee and place the toes of your right foot behind your left calf,

Turn your right knee out, bend your left knee, and step back to the right on a diagonal with your right foot flat and your toes turned out.

Push off with your right foot and straighten your left leg to return to the starting position.

Repeat this set of movements 10 times before switching to the other leg.

13- Falling Paper

Props: A small to large sheet of paper for each pair

Divide the group into pairs or have the players choose partners.

Tell the kids: Begin in a standing position with your partner sitting
across from you on the floor.

Hold a sheet of paper overhead and drop it in front of him.

Your partner must try to catch the falling paper using only his fingertips.

After doing this fitness exercise for 3 minutes, switch roles.

14- Got It

Props: A variety of soft objects of different sizes and shapes for each pair

Divide the group into pairs or have the players choose partners.

Tell the children: Your partner lies face up on the floor, resting on her elbows with her legs about 8 to 10 inches off the floor.

You stand above her feet, facing her. Drop one item at a time.

The object of this exercise is for the partner on the floor to catch the falling objects with her feet while keeping her feet off the floor.

Do this 10 times and then switch roles.

15- The Picker Upper

Props: A soft ball or pillow for each participant

Tell the kids: Begin sitting on the floor.

Then, with a pillow or a soft ball and using only the inside of your ankles, grab the soft object, squeeze and lift it off the floor, and then set it back down.

Repeat this exercise for kids 10 times.

16- Toe Gripping

Props: Small objects, such as marbles; a bucket for each participant

Tell the children: Using only your toes, pick up small objects (marbles, small plastic toys, etc.) from the floor and place them in a bucket.

When the last object is dropped into the bucket, knock it over and start again.

Do this balance game 10 times.

Hand-eye, Hand-foot, and visual tracking exercises & activities

Another group of activities to increase kids fitness is hand-eye, hand-foot, and visual tracking coordination.

By the time a child reaches the ages of 6, his eyes have usually achieved their normal round shape and the muscles of the eye can now help track and follow moving objects.

Here are 12 exercises to enhance visual tracking and coordination skills of kids.

17- Juggling

Props: A ball for each participant

Demonstrate this movement for the children first.

Juggling requires top skills in hand–eye coordination and timing.

To teach the kids to juggle, I begin with only one ball.

Tell the children: Hold the ball in one hand and toss it into your other hand.

Juggling
Juggling Exercise

This may be as far as you can go at this point.

That’s ok; practice this movement as often as possible.

The next step is to toss the ball up and catch it with the opposite hand.

Continue with that movement until you feel competent.

The last step for this exercise is to toss the ball high, catch it with the opposite hand, and then toss it directly across to the opposite hand.

Do this fun physical fitness exercise for kids for 3 minutes.

18- Watch the Racquet

Props: A racquet and tennis ball for each pair

Experiment with directional patterns using a tennis racquet.

Divide the group into pairs or have the players choose partners.

Tell the children: This is a visual tracking game to play with a partner.

Ask your partner which way the ball will go if you hold the tennis racquet in a particular position.

After she answers, toss a ball and hit the ball the same way you held the racquet to get the answer.

After doing this several times, switch roles.

19- Soccer Stop

Props: A ball for each pair

Divide the group into pairs or have the players choose partners.

Tell the kids: Stand 10 feet away from your partner and take turns rolling the ball to one another at various speeds and in different directional patterns.

Trap the rolling ball with your feet, and make sure you each get to make at least 25 traps.

20- Drop Kicks

Props: A medium-to large-size ball for each pair

Divide the group into pairs or have the players choose partners.

This exercise should be done outside.

Demonstrate the movement for the children first.

Tell the children: The partner holding the ball in his hands drops it to his foot and kicks it to the other player.

Repeat this workout several times and then switch roles.

Variation: To challenge the children, have them work with smaller balls or balls of different shapes.

21- Knee Bumps

Props: A medium to large, soft ball for each participant

Demonstrate this movement first.

This exercise is best performed outside.

Tell the children: From a standing position, hold the ball and drop it toward your knee.

With proper timing, you will be able to bump the ball with your knee.
Repeat this several times.

22- Tennis

Props: A racquet and ball or balloon for each participant

Tell the kids: The object of the game is to keep the ball or balloon from falling to the ground.

Hold the racquet face up and bounce a ball on the racquet strings.

Count the number of hits you can do in a row and start over if you drop the ball.

Do this exercise for 3 minutes.

visual tracking exercises for kids
visual tracking exercises for kids

23- Traveling Tennis

Props: A racquet and ball or balloon for each participant

Tell the children: The object of the game is to keep the ball from falling to the ground.

Hold the racquet face up, bounce a ball on the racquet strings, and begin to walk.

Count the number of hits you are able to make in a row and start over if you drop the ball.

Do this outdoor exercise for 1 minute.

24- Tennis Dribbling

Props: A racquet and ball for each participant

Tell the children: The object of the game is to repeatedly bounce the ball using the strings of the racquet.

Once you get comfortable with this movement, walk around while dribbling.

Count the number of dribbles you are able to do in a row and start over if you miss.

Do this exercise for 1 minute.

25- Reaction Tennis

Props: A wall; a racquet and ball for each participant

Tell the kids: The object of this game is to hit the ball against the wall several times in a row.

Count the number of hits you are able to make in a row and start over if you miss.

Do this exercise for 3 minutes.

26- Moon Ball

Props: A racquet and ball for each participant

Tell the children: The object of the game is to hit the ball into the air as high as you can, using the racquet strings to stay in control.

Do this workout for 5 minutes.

27- Grounder

Props: A ball for each pair; 1 baseball glove per participant

Divide the group into pairs or have the players choose partners.

Tell the children: Roll the ball at various speeds and in different directional patterns for your partner.

Have her catch your grounders with a baseball glove.

Do this exercise for 1 minute and then switch roles.

28- Circle Kicking

Props: A hacky sack or foot bag for each participant

Tell the children: The object of the game is to kick the sack several times before it falls to the ground.

To learn to control the sack, begin kicking it into the air with your toes and then move on to the kicking it with the instep of your foot.

Do this exercise for 10 minutes.

Foot Drills

Foot drills are an important element in mastering fundamental movements.

Proper stance in starts, stops, and jumps will improve effectiveness and efficiency in most sports.

Here are 8 speed drills for kids to increase their running ability and speed.

29- Heel–Toe

Tell the kids: Walk in a straight line, placing the heel of your right foot up against the toes of your left foot.

Then step forward, placing your left heel against the toes of your right foot.

Increase your speed as you feel comfortable with this movement.

Do this exercise for 3 minutes.

30- Side Stepping

Tell the children: From a standing position, pick up your right foot and cross it over your left foot.

(The outer parts of your feet should be touching.)

Then pick up your left foot, slip it out from behind the right, and move sideways.

Repeat the motion to continue moving sideways.

Increase your speed as you feel comfortable.

Do this exercise for 1 minute.

31- Shuffle

Tell the kids: In a standing position, shuffle or slide your feet along the floor while moving on a forward diagonal to your right and then shuffle back to the center.

Immediately shuffle on a diagonal to your left side and then come back to the center.

Do this exercise for 3 minutes.

32- Figure-8 Shuffle

Tell the children: From a standing position, Shuffle (#31) to your right to form one half of a figure 8.

Then Shuffle to your left to form the other half of a figure 8.

Repeat this speed drill 30 times.

33- Zorro Drag

Stand with the toes of your left foot facing straight ahead and your right foot turned out at a 45-degree angle, with its heel touching your left arch.

Place your hands on your hips. Keeping your left leg straight, step forward and on a diagonal with your right foot, bending your knee to align with your ankle.

Drag your right foot back to the starting position.

Perform this 10 times and then switch legs.

34- Tire Running

Props: Eight hoops or circles

This foot drill is used often in football practice.

Tell the children: Place pairs of hoops in a line.

Starting at one end of the lineup, run as fast as you can with feet stepping in the inner circle of each hoop.

Do this fitness exercise for 3 minutes.

35- Straddle Step

Tell the kids: Stand with your feet together.

Step wide with your right leg and then wide with the left leg.

Immediately bring your right leg in and then bring your left leg in.

This movement can be done slow or fast.

Do this fitness workout for 3 minutes.

36- Kangaroo Jumps

Props: A small-to medium-size ball for each participant

Tell the children: Place a ball between your inner thighs.

Using your inner-thigh muscles, squeeze your legs together to hold the ball in place.

Squat down and jump forward, keeping the ball in place.

Count the number of successful jumps you make.

Do this fun exercise for 3 minutes.

Rhythm and timing activities for kids

In my experience with children and athletics, it is best to teach children rhythm at a young age.

Rhythm doesn’t just mean learning to dance.

We use rhythm in basketball, tennis, gymnastics, and even in more common activities throughout our day.

Rhythm may be generally defined as movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements or of opposite or different conditions.

It is the recurrence or a pattern that is established in a time period.

Get into the rhythm with the following group rhythm exercises for kids of all ages (preschoolers, middle school, and high school).

37- Move to the Beat

– Kids who love to dance and who dance well are kids who hear the beat of the music and can move different parts of their bodies with the beat.

– This exercise will help kids move different parts of their body separately and then bring all the parts together.

To begin, play the music.

Tell the children: Move only your head. When you feel the beat, move your shoulders.

Begin with one shoulder at a time and then bring both shoulders together.

Next move down to each part of the body: hands, arms, torso, and legs.

Learn to move each body part separately and then bring them together.

Do this physical exercise for 3 minutes.

38- Bounce to the Beat

Props: A basketball for each participant

Tell the children: The beat is the basic unit of time in music. Beat is another word for the tempo, meter, rhythm, or groove of the music.

Listen for a strong beat in your music. When you hear it, bounce a ball to the beat of the music.

Do this exercise for 3 minutes.

39- Bouncing a Ball

Props: A basketball for each participant

A sense of rhythm is needed in all sports. The objective of this game is to dribble a basketball with a sense of rhythm.

Tell the children: Begin by bouncing a ball to create the beat for 30 seconds.

Next dribble the ball twice as fast as the beat for 30 seconds, go back to a single bounce, and then back to the “double dribble.”

Now add on a quick triple bounce, go back to the single, double, triple.

Repeat this exercise for 3 minutes.

40- Dribble Around a Chair

Props: A basketball and a chair for each participant

Tell the kids: Set up a chair and dribble around it. Reverse your circle and travel backward.

Repeat this exercise for 5 minutes.

41- Bouncing Basketballs

Props: A basketball for each participant

Tell the children: Begin by bouncing the ball to a certain height.

After you have that in control, change the rhythm by bouncing the ball higher.

Keep a rhythm going at all heights. Do this exercise for 3 minutes.

42- Two-Ball Bounce

Props: Two basketballs per pair

Divide the group into pairs or have the players choose partners.

Tell the children: Partners stand about 15 feet apart. Each player has a ball, and partners bounce pass the balls to each other at the same time.

Count the number of successful passes.

Do this exercise for 3 minutes.

43- Non-dominant Hand/ Non-dominant Foot

Props: A basketball and/or soccer ball for each participant

Tell the children: Dribble a basketball with only your non dominant hand, or kick a soccer ball with only your non-dominant foot.

Do this funny physical fitness for kids for 3 minutes.

44- All-Out Dribble

Props: A basketball for each participant

This game is played on a basketball court.

* If you don’t have access to a basketball court, delineate the boundaries of a court in the space you have.

Tell the kids: Starting from one end of the court, run as fast as you can to the other end of the court while dribbling the basketball.

Record your time and try to beat it.

Do this for 5 minutes.

45- Backward Basketball

Props: A basketball for each participant

This game is played on a basketball court.

* If you don’t have access to a basketball court, delineate the boundaries of a court in the space you have.

Tell the children: Starting from one end of the court, run backward while dribbling the basketball as fast as you can.

Record your time and try to beat it.

Do this great outdoor activity for 3 minutes.

46- Basketball Balance

Props: A basketball for each participant

Tell the children: Begin bouncing the basketball. Challenge
yourself by standing on one leg as you dribble.

Do this for 3 minutes.

47- Blindfolded Basketball

Props: A basketball for each participant

Tell the children: Begin bouncing the basketball. Close your eyes and keep dribbling.

Do this for 3 minutes.

48- Two-Ball Toss

Props: Two balls per pair

Divide the group into pairs or have the players choose partners.

Tell the children: This exercise requires hand–eye coordination and timing.

Stand about 10 feet away from your partner. Each of you holds a ball.

On “Go,” toss the balls to one another at the same time.

Eventually, you should try tossing the balls back and forth without having to say “Go.”

Do this for 3 minutes.

49- Frisbee Toss

Props: A Frisbee for each pair

Throwing a Frisbee takes coordination.

Divide the group into pairs or have the players choose partners.

Tell the children: In pairs, practice throwing a Frisbee. If you complete a forehand, or regular, pass, you get 1 point.

Throwing a backhand pass is much more difficult.

If you complete one of these, you get 2 points.

The first person to reach 20 points wins.

50- Swing and a Hit

Props: A skill-level-appropriate baseball and bat for each pair

Divide the group into pairs or have the players choose partners.

Tell the children: Toss a ball for your partner to hit. Practice this exercise for 15 minutes and then switch roles.

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