Take a break and have some active time outdoors together with these challenging, but fun exercises.
Do you and your kids need to work off some of that indoor energy? Set up and conquer this workout from Nick Errato, regional manager for Life Time Kids. Errato and six of his children, ages 5 to 14, put the circuit workout together after brainstorming creative ways to get moving and compete with one another.
“Each station can be challenging yet engaging at any age,” says Errato. “I always want fitness to be fun. I think the unique stations and variety of exercises help give it an obstacle-course feeling — plus, it’s an active way to bond as a family.”
Depending on the age and ability of your children, Errato recommends timing the exercises to spend 45 seconds working out and 15 seconds resting — or try 30 seconds working out and 30 seconds resting — at each station. The goal is to spend a total of one minute per station. At that pace, it should take your family between 30 to 40 minutes to complete four or five circuits of all eight stations.
“Switching exercises helps keep kids engaged and excited throughout the duration, and revisiting the stations gives them confidence and familiarity with each round,” says Errato. “The variety of movements adds up to a complete workout, including cardio, core, speed, strength, coordination, endurance, and balance.”
These are the Errato family’s stations, along with their tips and suggestions for making them more or less challenging.
Station No. 1: Star Jumps
How to do it: Start with your feet together, knees bent, crouched down with your hands at your toes. Jump up into the air, spreading your arms and legs out wide into a star shape, then land back in the starting crouched position. Continue this jumping motion for the duration of the exercise. “Bonus points if you yell ‘I’m a star!’ during each jump,” says Errato.
“This was my favorite station because I got to be silly and yell,” says Deacon, age 5.
Station No. 2: Squats or Squat Jumps
How to do it: Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, legs straight, with your weight in your heels. Bend your knees and lower down until your knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle, then raise back up to straight legs; squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement. Continue squatting down and up for the duration of the exercise.
To make it a squat jump: Complete the same exercise as above, but when you reach 90 degrees, jump straight up into the air, tucking your knees up to your chest, then land as softly as you can before resetting and starting again. Continue squatting and jumping for the duration of the exercise.
“I liked the squat jumps because we got to jump a lot, which is a fun way to work out,” says Mia, age 13.
Station No. 3: Run
How to do it: Draw two chalk lines about 20 yards apart or set up two water bottles or other markers of your choosing; the distance can be whatever works with your outdoor space. When the time starts, run or sprint back and forth between the two markers as many times as you can for the duration of the exercise.
“Running back and forth was really cool. It’s going to make me super-fast,” says Dominic, age 6.
Station No. 4: Plank or Flutter Kicks
How to plank: Start by lying face down on your stomach with your hands pulled underneath your chest, palms down, about shoulder-width apart. Push your weight into your hands and straighten your arms to lift your torso off the ground. Keeping your toes on the ground, raise your legs enough so your back and hips form a straight line with your shoulders. Imagine that the space between your shoulders, as well as the backs of your knees, are being pulled toward the sky with a string. Hold for the duration of the exercise.
How to flutter kick: Start by lying on your back with your hands at your sides. Lift your feet off the ground about 5 to 6 inches high and alternate kicking your feet in the air. If you feel your lower back begin to arch, lower your feet an inch or two until your back is flush with the ground again. Continue kicking for the duration of the exercise.
“I liked the abs station because there were different variations to strengthen your core,” says Valerie, age 12.
Station No. 5: Jumping Jacks or Extreme Jumping Jacks
How to do it: Stand with your feet together and your arms by your sides. Jump both of your feet out a little wider than shoulder-width apart while simultaneously bringing your arms over your head. Bring your arms back down and jump your feet back together to return to your starting position. Continue this jumping motion for the duration of the exercise.
To make it extreme: Complete the same exercise above, but after returning to your starting position, squat down low to the ground. Plant your hands in front of you and jump your feet back into a plank position. Next, jump your hands and feet both out wide from your body. Your body position should resemble a horizontal jumping jack. Then, jump your hands and feet back to a shoulder-width position again, bring your feet back toward your hands, and stand back up into your starting position. Repeat this series of movements for the duration of the exercise.
“The extreme jumping jacks were hard but awesome. It worked out a lot of different parts of my body,” says Vanessa, age 14.
Station No. 6: Hops
How to do it: Draw a line on the ground with chalk or lay down a jump rope or piece of string. With both feet together facing the line, hop lightly over and across the line, then hop backward across it again to your starting position. Continue hopping forward and back for the duration of the exercise or add side-to-side hops to create a four-cornered box. You can also hop on a single leg and switch legs half-way through the exercise.
“Personally, I liked the hops best,” says Errato. “I do the four-cornered box version, and it really gets my heart rate up.”
Station No. 7: In and Out
How to do it: Use 10 non-breakable cups, aluminum cans, cones, or other markers of your choosing. Set them up in a straight line leaving about two feet between each one. When the time starts, run weaving in and out between each marker down the row. When you get to the end, run backward the way you came. Continue for the duration of the exercise.
To make it more challenging: Try shuffling right and left around the markers or hopping on one foot.
“My favorite station was going in and out of the cups. It will help my speed and agility for soccer,” says Cruz, age 11.
Station No. 8: Burpees
How to do it: Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Bend your knees, squat down low, and place your hands on the ground shoulder-width apart in front of you. Hop your feet out behind you in a plank position. Add a push-up here if you’d like an extra challenge. Hop your feet back in toward your hands, then jump straight up into the air and bring your hands up over your head. Land back in standing position and squat down low again to reset the exercise in one fluid motion. Continue for the duration of the exercise.
“No surprise, but no one chose the burpees as their favorite,” says Errato. “They’re a full-body, effective movement for a reason!”
Lindsey Frey Palmquist is a senior copywriter at Life Time.