Sometimes it feels like there just aren’t enough activities or time in the day to keep the kiddos occupied and burning off energy — all while staying healthy and safe. This is especially true for toddlers, who are always getting into things as they explore and discover the new world around them with those little arms and legs that just don’t seem to quit.
Keeping toddlers busy with screens is easy, but sometimes we’re looking for a more engaging alternative. What if the answer was team exercise, and the team was you and your toddler?
If you groaned at “exercise” and “you and your toddler” being in the same sentence (or even just “exercise”), we totally get it — that’s why we’ve got a great list of exercise ideas and hacks to keep you and your little one moving and having fun together.
Plus, exercise promotes conversations in which you can teach your toddler about the body, health and safety, and (bonus!) even numbers and colors. Lace up your favorite workout shoes, make sure your kiddo has a great pair, and read on for our top ideas and tips for exercising with your toddler.
A bit tamer than some of the other ideas here, yoga is a great workout for both the body and the mind. It focuses on core strength, and some poses work out the muscles in your limbs as well. Even some light stretches are great for both of your bodies.
Yoga is great for calming the body down after a long day or at naptime. While it may sound advanced for a young child, there are endless poses kids can do. Get them feeling mighty with warrior’s pose, have fun losing your balance together through tree pose, and be sure to fit in child’s pose — it was named for them, after all.
There’s a good chance you’ve seen your toddler run around on all fours already. Get on their level and join them! Bear crawls are a full-body exercise that promotes core and limb strength.
Your toddler will love having you on the floor with them. There’s a good chance they won’t even recognize you’re working out! Dial up the fun with races, bear roars, and tickles. When you’re both worn out, you’re sure to collapse on the floor together in laughter.
Remember what it was like to be a child without a care in the world? You probably skipped around plenty. What you may not have known at the time is that skipping is great for mastering balance and coordination. Tap into your inner child with your real-life child with this easy exercise.
Since skipping can be incorporated into so many different activities, it opens up plenty of avenues for new experiences with your toddler and can get you both outside enjoying the sunshine. Break out the sidewalk chalk for hopscotch and teach them colors and numbers while you play, or have a friendly competition with a jump rope. Because what toddler doesn’t love new toys?
Dancing has been a human activity for millennia. It’s almost instinctive to want to groove along to a good beat. You don’t even have to follow any choreography; even those of us with two left feet can get our blood pumping with some moves.
Have a dance party with your toddler! Press play on the latest Disney jams or relive your glory days with your old faves. Let your toddler practice their leadership skills by choreographing and teaching you a dance. You can even come up with a dance together and stage a recital for your other family members!
Being a mom means caring for yourself, your family members, and your home all at once. If fitting in exercise seems impossible, you can always incorporate working out into other activities. Have a race to the mailbox when it’s time to check the mail, do lunges while tidying the house or even practice squats during TV time.
More than anything, you want to get both of your bodies moving, even for small amounts at a time. The benefits of exercise on physical and mental health are well worth the burn. Whether you’re just starting your fitness journey or have been working toward your health goals for years, there are endless ways to have fun while working out with your little one.
For more toddler-friendly workout ideas and tips, check out this infographic below from Adidas.