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Fun Indoor Exercises for School-Aged Kids (9-12 Years Old)

Image via Unsplash.com/Kelly Sikkema

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 9- to 12-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 9- to 12-Year-Olds

In addition to sports like soccer and basketball, experts recommend a variety of exercises for kids in this age group. "They can also do basic calisthenics, such as pushups, curlups, running in place, mountain climbers, and burpees," said Len Saunders, an author, teacher, and exercise physiologist.


You can also play a structured game like "Olympic Hot Spot Challenge." Clear out some space and create "hot spot" stations with different activities for fun and variety. The idea is to get the children moving from one station to the next every 30-45 seconds. Here are some station ideas:

  • Push-ups (against the wall, on their knees, or full push-ups).
  • Sit-ups.
  • Jump rope.
  • Step-ups (either with a "step" or up and down the stairs).
  • Circle jumps (small rings or hula hoops or tape marks).
  • Jumping jacks.
  • Squats.
  • Balance on one leg.
  • Ball toss (with a partner).

To make it more challenging, you can:

  • Increase time at each hot spot: so 30, 45, 60 seconds.
  • Increase number of times you do the complete hot spot circuit, so 2, 3, 4 or 5 times.
  • Mixup the hot spots or doing them in a different order.
  • Creating new hot spot activities of your own.
  • Adding new hot spot props like soup can weights.


Originally written by Anne Etra. Updated by Jerriann Sullivan on June 15, 2017.

* 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.

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