Exercise made fun for 5 to 10 years olds

Primary school aged children need physical activity to build muscle, coordination, confidence and to lay the groundwork for a healthy life. They should be given the opportunity to try out lots of different games, sports and physical activities that fit their personality, ability, age, and interests. 

What activities does your child enjoy? 

Try mind mapping or chatting with your kids to find out which physical activities feel exciting and right for them. Most children enjoy a daily dose of fitness as long as it's fun and fits with what they like to do.

Children should be doing exercise everyday with a combination of aerobic plus muscle and bone strengthening exercises each week with a mixture of moderate to strong physical activity alternating with light activity and rest throughout the day.

Lots of your child’s physical exercise will be at home or with you. Make physical activity part of the daily routine. From household chores to an after-dinner walk, keep your family active every day.

If you run out of possibilities at home, take advantage of local playgrounds and athletic fields. Make family fitness outings part of your daily or weekly routine. Ask your children and family members to choose what they’d like to do. Perhaps it's going on a treasure hunt walk, swimming, ice skating, playing on the swings at the play park or trying out the rock-climbing gym. Anything goes, as long as everyone can participate.

Ideas to keep your kids moving at home

  • Allow enough time for free play. Kids can burn more calories and have more fun when left to explore their surroundings with you. Playing tag, riding bikes and even building snowmen or playing in puddles are fun and healthy.
  • Keep a variety of games and sports equipment on hand. It doesn't have to be expensive, an assortment of balls, hula-hoops and skipping ropes can keep children busy.
  • Be active together. It'll get you moving and kids love to play with their parents. Limit time spent in sedentary activities, such as watching TV, using electronic devices, being online and playing video games.
Games to play at home
  • Hide and seek

  • Tag (silly variation - make it a rule that everyone skip / hop on one foot / all fours instead of running or walking to catch their opponent)

  • Skipping

  • Dancing to music

  • Building an obstacle course using sofa cushions (make it more competitive by setting a timer and encourage your kids to aim to beat their personal record)

  • Playing balloon volleyball

  • Playing pretend and making an action movie

  • Learning to juggle

  • Throwing balls into the laundry basket

  • Making a hopscotch grid outside with chalk (a player throws a beanbag onto one of the squares and then they try to hop, skip, or jump their way through the course without landing in that square)

  • Yoga poses for kids to try include: Tree Pose, Downward-Facing Dog, Upward-Facing Dog, Cobra, Child's Pose and Happy Baby. Cosmic Yoga is great for getting kids into yoga.

Many parents, carers and kids think of organised sport when they think of keeping fit and doing exercise. This option can also be a great way of helping to build other skills such as being more social, confidence in water and agility. 

Schools often have lunch and after school clubs, plus you could check out your local leisure centres and dance groups. 

Don't get frustrated if your child seems to flit between classes, at this age they will want to try out a number of different things until they find what they really love.