Fun running games for kids help with weight loss and prevention of childhood obesity, since they cause children to burn fat as they play.
School-age children can receive great health benefits from running shorter distances—with a lesser risk of injury than if they were to run for longer periods of time.
In this article, For Kids will highlight the top 10 jumping and running fitness exercises for kids of all ages.
The following fitness activities are suitable for kids, teenagers and youth to participate in outdoors. They’re particularly ideal for large groups.
Keep in mind that if kids are doing any type of structured running, they should be fitted for appropriate running shoes first.
Running games for kids
1. Interval Runs
An interval run incorporates both speed and endurance in small amounts.
This fun outdoor exercise has been designed to either increase or decrease in its intensity, with the length of time remaining unchanged.
You can invite your whole family or a group of friends on this type of run, and don’t forget your dog, too!
- To start off, begin walking. When everyone feels ready, increase your speed from slow to medium to fast.
- Choose someone to call out the desired level of speed. This person will change the speed at regular intervals of their choice (such as 20 or 30 seconds).
- Count how many slow-medium-fast intervals you complete.
- Do this for at least three minutes.
2. High-Knees Running
Track and field athletes often use this exercise as a warm-up.
- Run forward at a slow pace, bringing your knees waist-high.
- Continue for three minutes.
3. Take a Hike
Invite your family or group of friends for a hike in your neighborhood park.
You’ll find that running on a dirt path with hills is a different sort of workout than running on concrete.
Before you start, make sure everyone is prepared with sunscreen and appropriate clothing.
If you come to a hill, take up the challenge and walk or run up the hill, but when you’re descending a hill, remember that walking is much safer than running—especially for kids.
- Start out by walking for a couple of minutes.
- Pick up the pace if the path is safe and free of roots, rocks and other obstacles.
- Walk for at least 15 minutes.
4. Go to the Beach
Props: A sandy beach or a source of at least knee-deep water, and sunscreen
Take your family or some friends to the beach, or a backyard or neighborhood pool.
Running on sand or in water feels different from running on any other surface, and it’s more challenging, too.
Kids won’t be able to run for long periods of time on sand, because their major muscles will have to work harder than they usually do during runs. Therefore, the kids will fatigue much faster than when they’re running on hard surfaces.
Jumping games for kids
Jumping is a skill that’s used in almost every sport. It requires timing and a sense of rhythm.
5. Power Jumps
Props: A mini trampoline (optional)
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides.
- Bend your knees and sit back into a squat.
- While using your arms to create momentum, use your legs to push back up to a standing position and jump up as high as you can.
- As you land, bend your knees to soften the landing and lower your hips into a squat.
- Repeat this exercise as many times as you can.
Props: A step or low bench for each participant
- Stand facing a step, with your arms at your sides.
- While bending your left leg, place your left foot in the middle of the step. Keep your weight evenly distributed over the balls of your feet.
- Push off with both feet, jumping straight up as high as you can. Let your arms swing up overhead.
- Pause between jumps only long enough to maintain balance.
- Do 10 Jump-Ups with the same leg leading each jump and then switch legs.
7. Broad Jumps
Props: Chalk or a jump rope to mark a starting line
For kids this age, I recommend that you do this exercise outside and clearly designate the line from which each player must jump.
- Start from a stationary position, without running. Bring your toes up to the starting line and swing your arms. Use the momentum you get to swing yourself forward into a jump.
- Land on your feet, making sure that you bend your knees.
- Repeat this exercise for three minutes.
8. 180- or 360-Degree Turn
This jumping activity will help children learn how to turn while jumping.
To make it easier, I recommend that you set a visual target on each side for the children to focus on.
- Divide the group into pairs or have the players choose partners. One player will act as the spotter while the other partner turns and faces one of the objects at his or her side.
- As the jumping partner, jump up in the air and turn yourself 180 degrees to face the object on the opposite side.
- If you feel confident with a half-turn, increase the turn until you can jump in a complete circle (360 degrees). To avoid getting dizzy, reverse the direction of the jump after each jump.
- Repeat your jump at least three times and then switch roles with your partner.
9. Single-Leg Hops
- Stand on your left leg while bending your right leg at the knee.
- Bring the heel of your right foot towards your bottom, and grasp and hold the ankle.
- Hop around the room, while counting the number of successful hops.
- Repeat this action 25 times on each leg.
- Start from a squatting position, with your hands touching the floor.
- Explode upward, while swinging your arms up overhead, and land softly back in a squatting position.
- Repeat this exercise 25 times.