Jump for joy (and get fit) with your kids

I have magic dumbells. Every time I go to touch them, my kids instantly yell for a drink, a cuddle or help in finding another toy.

In desperation, I admit I have used my 4-year old as a replacement kettlebell for one fitness session. (He was very happy, heavy wriggly!).

Given the chance, young children don’t stay still, so you may as well get your fitness in and wear them out at the same time. You can easily burn up to 400 calories an hour with the older kids, whilst your babies will soak up the activity-based fun. Most importantly, it does not feel like exercise.

Note: always use smooth, gentle movements when playing with children under two, to avoid “shaken baby syndrome”. Over the age of two, you will have your hands full, making sure they are not inflicting injuries on themselves…

Here are a few quick suggestions to get you off the sofa, right now…

5 things to do with babies
– Dance with them in your arms
– “Fly” your baby through the air
– Lie your baby on the exercise mat next to you for a peek-a-boo game whilst doing push-ups or crunches
– Laid back cycling. After you have finished cycling your baby’s legs, it’s your turn. Be prepared for giggles!
– Enact musical rhymes such as “The grand old Duke of York”, and “Ring around the Roses”. For toddlers, swallow your pride and do the Hokey Cokey!

5 things to do with preschoolers
– Pillow fight!
– Horsey ride
– Soft, indoor obstacle course
– Digging for treasure (in the garden)
– A frisbee or catch game (You can use a pair of rolled-up socks indoors)

5 things to do with older kids
– Bike ride
– Hare & Hounds chase/touch tag
– Body ball
– Casual football
– Skipping

Young kids are attention addicts, so as soon as you switch off the TV and start to focus on them, they will reward you with bundles of enthusiasm. If nothing else, this could save your sanity during the school holidays.

I know I have just scraped the tip of the iceberg with kids games. Share your favourites with me in the comments section!

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