Fun Indoor Exercises for School-Aged Kids (6-8 Years)
Care.com has worked with a variety of experts to find the perfect activities for kids based on their age group. Read below to discover new ways that you -- and your babysitter or nanny -- can keep the kiddos entertained and healthy. Then, tell us your favorite exercises to do with kids in the comments below.
The Guidelines on Physical Activity for School-Aged Children
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) has shared the following guidelines for the amount -- and type -- of physical activity 6- to 8-year-olds should get in a day:
- Guideline 1: "Children should accumulate at least 60 minutes, and up to several hours, of age-appropriate physical activity on all, or most days of the week. This daily accumulation should include moderate and vigorous physical activity with the majority of the time being spent in activity that is intermittent in nature."
- Guideline 2: "Children should participate in several bouts of physical activity lasting 15 minutes or more each day."
- Guideline 3: "Children should participate each day in a variety of age-appropriate physical activities designed to achieve optimal health, wellness, fitness, and performance benefits."
- Guideline 4: "Extended periods (periods of two hours or more) of inactivity are discouraged for children, especially during the daytime hours."
From the Experts: Examples of Fun Indoor Exercises for 6- to 8-Year-Olds
"At this age, you can introduce more advanced jumping rope and hula hoop activities, as well as working on various sports skills. For example, have the children dribble a soccer or basketball," said Len Saunders, an author, teacher, and exercise physiologist. "You can also introduce the kids to various modified exercises, such as beginner push-ups or jumping jacks."
"Children are not miniature adults, and need a completely different approach," said Dr. Avery Feigenbaum, a pediatric exercise scientist with 20 years of experience working with children and adolescents. For this reason, he created an activity that he calls, "Balloon Move and Play."
"Balloons invoke a natural desire to play in children. They provide essential fun, and a bridge between the skill and challenge that kids need to exercise," he explained.
The object of "Balloon Move and Play" is to get kids to use balloons as props while they squat, lunge, and move in different directions. This activity will ultimately help them enhance their muscle strength, agility, balance, and coordination. Feigenbaum recommends that you use Punch balloons for this, since they tend not to burst as easily and don't make a loud noise when they pop.
Here's how you set up the game:
- Start by having kids march in place and do jumping jacks to warm up.
- Then, put an obstacle on the floor and have kids hold the balloon in one hand while they lunge over the object.
- Gradually move them onto the "sit-to-stand with jump" portion of the game. The kids will start this off by sitting on the ground and will have to stand up. Once they're up, they'll have to jump up and reach toward the ceiling, then land back on their feet and sit down again. Have the kids repeat this exercise several times.
- Once they've gone through a few round of this portion, have the kids work on their core balance with their balloon. To do this, have the kids get on their hands and knees with their palms under their shoulders, then hand them their balloon and have them write their name in the air with it (or spell some words like "cat," "dog," etc.).
- After a while, have them switch hands. Do this several times.
The Physical and Mental Skills They're Developing
- Gross Motor Skills:
- They're improving their mind-body coordination by performing complex activities like balancing and spelling at the same time.
- They're also improving their balance and movement agility.
- Learning & Understanding:
- They're increasing their levels of body awareness.
- Physical Development:
- They're developing muscular strength by doing activities like squatting, lunging, jumping, and hopping.
- They're also developing core strength and stability.
* This article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be providing medical advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The reader should always consult a health care provider concerning any medical condition or treatment plan. Neither Care.com nor the author assumes any responsibility or liability with respect to use of any information contained herein.