Child Development and Parenting
35 Ways to Move Your Body This Summer
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Gather a few friends and play a fun game of tag. Try mixing it up a little bit - instead of always running, choose different ways to try to tag each other like skipping, jumping, crawling, walking backwards, lunges, hopping on one foot, galloping or other fun ideas.
Go to a local wading pool or beach with an on- duty lifeguard and have fun splashing around and cooling off. Try standing on one foot in the water and see how long you can balance. Toss a beach ball to your sibling or friend and see how long you can keep it from landing in the water. Make sure you have a grown up for each young person with you and follow water safety rules. Watch out for little ones as you try new games. Get water safety tips here: seattlechildrens.org/health-safety/keeping- kids-healthy/prevention/water-safety-tips-for-families.
With a buddy, sibling or family member, try to do as many jumping jacks as you can in 1 minute. Next try it with push-ups, sit-ups, frog jumps, running in place, etc. Take a break in between sets and then start again with a different set of exercises. You can check out the exercise list at the bottom of this page for some ideas of exercises you can use.
Turn on your favorite music and dance. Be creative! Use props or dress like your favorite music star or character. Let your imagination and dance skills shine.
Make up a dance routine to your favorite song. Design your routine while getting a workout as you create it. Then perform it for some friends or family. Make it a group activity! Choose songs with some friends or family. Set a time limit to work out your routine in groups or solo. Then come back together and watch each other perform while cheering each other on.
Walk around the block for 30 minutes. See how many laps you can do. Each time you go around notice something new in your neighborhood, like how many blue cars there are, how many trees, how many people you see or how many different colors of houses. Keep track of how many laps you do this time and compare to later in the summer. Make sure you follow pedestrian safety rules.
Head to the playground and try out all of the different parts of the playground structure. Climb the monkey bars, run around the play structure, go up and down the stairs, crawl under the different structures, do pull-ups on the bars, etc.
Plan a place you can go explore with friends or family. Make sure you dress for the weather, wear good shoes or hiking boots, bring a snack, have plenty of water with you, and have a grown up with you that knows the details of the hike and follow appropriate safety guidelines. Forlocal hikes, visit seattle.curbed.com/maps/car-free- hiking-trails-seattle.
Get together with your family or friends and choose a place you can walk to and from. Consider walking somewhere that you haven’t explored before, or use a different route than one you normally take.
How many times can you go up and down the stairs at your home or somewhere outside in 5 minutes? Take a break and try it again. Try walking on each step. Try skipping steps. Which way do like better? Which way is harder?
Play an exercise version of Simon Says. Choose exercises from the exercise list and take turns being Simon or Simone.
Find different things to balance on for 1 minute either inside or outside your home. Start easy and gradually make it harder. Start on level ground, add a cushion or pillow, try standing on sand or grass on 1 foot, eyes open first, then try eyes closed. Make it a challenge! See how long you can balance. Try it with a buddy and see who can balance the longest. Keep track of how long you can balance and compare to another time later in the summer. Make sure you choose safe places to balance so you don’t get hurt if you fall.
Make this an ongoing activity throughout the summer as you walk, jog or bike around. Try to check off all these things from your list by the end of the summer. You can make up your own list with friends and family or use some of these ideas: Find a pink flower, tall tree, bicycle on a rack, black cat, yellow car, 12th Man Seahawks flag, purple house, street sign with the number 32, stop sign, bird, ladybug, fire hydrant, fire station, brick wall, bus stop, garage sale sign, monkey bars, tiny dog, daddy long leg spider, or random acts of kindness, like someone holding the door open for someone.
Take a silent walk (no talking) in your neighborhood or a park. Notice the sounds, smells, different trees, flowers, etc. How long can you walk without saying a word?
Choose 5 exercises from the exercise list. Do the first one 7 to10 times (except for cardio - do 30 seconds). Take a 10-second break then move on to the next exercise and do it 7 to 10 times. Go through all 5 exercises in this way, then take a 2- to 3-minute break. Go through the set of 5 exercises again, repeating the entire set 2 or 3 times. Notice how you improve throughout the summer. Maybe you can do more sets?
With a frisbee or ball in hand, head outside for some fun. Be creative! If you’re with a friend or family member, try throwing the frisbee or ball back and forth out of reach so you both really have to run for it. Or if you’re playing by yourself, find a target and try to make it land there, then run to pick it up and do it over and over again.
Bean Bag Toss
Use a bean bag or make one with a sock filled with rice or beans tied off at the end. Set up different targets using buckets or make your own on the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk. Throw a bean bag to each target then run to collect them and toss them back to your starting spot. Each time you go to collect them, try a different way to collect them like skipping, bear walks, lunges or frog jumps.
Jump Rope Challenge
How many times can you jump rope without missing? Try one foot, then the other. Is one side harder than the other? Try it with a friend and see who can jump the longest. Come up with different ways to jump, like crossing your feet or jumping like a frog.
On a sunny day cool off and get a little exercise in the water. Turn on the sprinkler and dash in and out of the water with family or friends. Try different options, like going around the edges to see how close you can get without getting wet or going straight through the middle.
Indoor Obstacle Course
Use items you have inside your home to create different stations throughout your home or a room. Here are some ideas to get you started: use chairs and sheets to create a tunnel to crawl through, use pillows in a line to create lumps to jump over, use a long string or jump rope to walk carefully along, toss a bean bag or soft ball into a laundry basket, balance on one foot with a bean bag or small stuffed animal on your head, do 10 jumping jacks then jog in place for 10 seconds or do a downward dog pose. Do them in any order you like. Repeat it or change it up little and do it again.
Outdoor Obstacle Course
Create an obstacle course outside with items you and your friends can round up. Here are some ideas to get you started: Use a jump rope or long flat board to walk across, stand on one foot while balancing a bean bag on your head for 10 seconds, crawl under a table or bench, lay a broom over 2 chairs to crawl under, cut out the bottom of a box and crawl through the empty box, use chalk to draw 5 dots spread out on the ground to jump to and from, mark a spot with an object and do 10 jumping jacks, jump over a pool noodle or over upside down buckets, toss bean bags into a bucket, run through a sprinkler, walk backwards 10 steps or set up cones or other markers to weave in and out between. Repeat as many times as you like or change it up a bit each time.
Playground Obstacle Course
Create an obstacle course using playground equipment. Here are some ideas: Swing back and forth on a swing 10 times, then run and climb a ladder, go down a slide and cross the monkey bars. Time each other. Take turns making up your obstacle course.
Field Day Fun
Gather up your friends or family and head to a park or area with lots of space and make your own field day. Include things like a sprint dash, use pillow cases and do a potato sack race, join your buddy for a three legged race or walk while holding a ball wedged between your hips with a partner.
Take time to connect with your body through some gentle stretches. (See the exercise list for ideas). Before you begin, do a light cardio warm-up for a couple of minutes, like jumping jacks, marching or running in place. Try holding each stretch for 20 seconds to start with. Repeat the stretches and hold them for longer if you can.
Stretch and move as you make your body into different shapes. Try shaping your body into letters of the alphabet, different shapes, like a star, triangle or square, or different objects like a tree, mountain or bridge. Have fun thinking up shapes to try on your own or with a buddy.
Beach or Pool Time
Find a local pool or lifeguard-supervised beach and spend some time in the water. Make sure you have a grown up with each kid and follow swimming rules and participate in the water at your level of experience. Wear life jackets if needed and follow safety rules. How many laps can you swim? How long can you jog in place in the water? Play tag in the water. Make sure you watch out for other friends to keep them safe as well. Visit seattlechildrens. org/globalassets/documents/for-patients-and-families/ce/ce2818_ swimming_in_seattle_6-19.pdf to learn more.
Write down a list of different animals on separate pieces of paper or notecards. Put them face down in a stack or place them in a bag you cannot see through. With a buddy or on your own, select a card and then become that animal; move like that animal moves, slow or fast, on all fours, on your belly. Feel free to make the noises they make for added fun as well.
Find a deck of cards (or write 1 through 10 on separate pieces of paper 4 times). You can do this on your own or with other people. Choose an exercise from the exercise list or come up with them on your own. Then select a card and do the exercise the number of times that matches the number on the card. For exercises that you hold, do it for 10 seconds times the number of times on the card. (Example: If card says 1, hold 10 seconds; 2, hold 20 seconds, etc.) Bonus! For face cards, do 20 repetitions.
Using the exercise list on page 7, assign each exercise a letter. Spell out your name doing the exercises that match the letters in your name. Make it a game with friends by writing different words on separate pieces of paper. Take turns choosing a word and doing the exercises to match the letters.
Create an obstacle course with chalk. Make several stations by using chalk to write different activities on the ground. Here are some ideas: spin around, touch your toes, jump in place, draw a squiggly line to follow, jump on one foot to 5 different spots, jump over 3 lines, skip along a straight line, jump as far as you can forward. Then try it different ways- reverse order, going backwards, as fast as you can and as slow as you can.
Find a bike route or ride around the neighborhood. Make sure to follow bike safety rules, bring a grown up with you if you are going on a longer ride and always wear your helmet. Visit MakeSureTheHelmetFits.org.
Playground Add On
Head to the playground with some buddies. Take turns choosing different things to do on the playground and then each person tries them. Make it more challenging by starting over each time. Cheer for each other as you try new things you each suggest.
Take Your Dog (or Someone Else’s) for a Walk
Take a nice walk with your dog. If you don’t have a dog but have a neighbor that may need their dog a walked, offer to help while you (and the dog) get some exercise. Make sure you keep the dog on a leash and pick up after their bathroom breaks.
Hide and Seek Tag
Play hide and seek with some buddies but when the seeker finds the first person hiding, the hider yells “everybody run” and the seeker tries to tag everyone else. (The hider can’t be tagged for 10 seconds to let them get away.) The person that gets tagged becomes the next seeker.
The Floor Is Lava
Head to a playground or set up obstacles on the floor at home and try not to touch the lava (ground). Make sure you follow playground (and home) safety rules.
- Plank pose
- Push ups
- Sit ups
- Balance up on toes
- Calf raises/heel raises
- Side plank
- Jog in place for 30 seconds
- Forward lunges
- Wall sit for 30 seconds
- Bear walk
- Arm circles
- Frog jumps
- High jump
- V sit
- Bicycle ab exercises
- March in place
- Leap frog
- Side hops
- Side-lying leg lift
- Single leg hops
- Star jumps
- Supermans/(Superboy or Supergirl)
- Tricep dips
- Bridge pose
- Tip toe walk
- Wall push-ups
- Jumping jacks
- Crab walks
- High-knee running in place
- Jump rope (pretend to jump rope if you don’t have one)
- Balance on 1 foot for 30 seconds
- Downward dog
- Upward dog or cobra stretch
- Child pose
- Hamstring stretch
- Quad stretch
- Toe touch
- Pike sit
- Wide leg straddle
- Arm across body shoulder stretch
- Bent leg twist laying on back
- Butterfly stretch
- Calf stretch
- Standing crossover toe touch
- Side stretch
- Overhead reach
To Learn More
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Patient and Family Resources
- Health and Safety
- Sign up for my Good Growing
Created by Seattle Children’s Sports Medicine Program and approved by kids.