When I learned how to be an elementary school PE teacher, Circuit Training was one of my favorite activities I did with my classes. I also used Circuit Training with the high school lacrosse team I coached. When it is rainy and you can't go outside to play, it is nice to have a way to tire everyone out (and get a little workout yourself).
- carpet or yoga mat
- some space to move around and not bump into things
1. Make a simple task card (see below) with activities in these four areas:
Upper Body strength
2. Time you and your child doing an activity in each section for 1-2 minutes with a short rest in between each one. Repeat the sequence again and again, choosing new activities in each area. If you complete the circuit six times you'll get about a 30 minute workout session that is a lot of fun!
3. Play music while you workout. We loved Tot's Radio on iTunes Radio.
Here are some of the activities that you could include on your task cards:
- jumping jacks
- jog/jump in place
- side to side jumping
- pretend jump roping
- stick jumping (jump over a stick- front jump and back jump)
- hoping on one foot (and switch halfway)
- aerobic karate kicks
- full sit ups
- backwards sit-ups (start sitting up and go back slowly to the ground)
- knee to chest curls
- plank (hold for 1 minute or as long as you can)
Upper Body Strength- arm circles
- bear-crawls/crab walk
- push up arm circles (do push up and lift arm off ground and wave at your friends... then switch to the other side)
- push ups with knees on the ground
- right/left punches
- butterfly stretch
- hamstring stretch
- calf stretch
- shoulders/triceps stretch
(This website has tons of stretches with diagrams, if you don't know some of these)
Here is an example of a sample circuit session that we did:
1. Jogging around the room- 2 min (cardio)
2. Crunches- 2 min (abs)- my son sat on my legs and was my resistance
3. Crab walk- 2 min (upper body)- my son mostly crawled around
4. Butterfly stretch- 2 min (flexibility)
Grade: B+ for 2 year-olds
I would give this an A+ for the workout I got. My son mostly just liked running around and jumping and jumping on me (which gave me an even better workout). For older 3 and 4 year-olds, this would be great. We did the circuit for about 30 minutes and both slept soundly last night! I woke up nice and sore. I also added in some of my favorite ab exercises from workout classes I've been to while we were working out. You can also add in a lower body strength area if you are feeling motivated. Some ideas would be: lunge karate kicks, speed skater jumps, wall sits, calf raises, and side kicks.
Mostly we just had fun being together and having fun. I don't think my son and I have laughed that hard together EVER.
You can use this activity to teach your child about where their muscles are and what the names of the muscles are. I also worked on teaching my son the names of the different exercises we were doing.