Motivating children to exercise involves laughter and enjoying the exercise yourself. It also takes age-appropriate routines. For overall health, you should have a component of cardiovascular exercise such as running or biking, flexibility and strength training rather than focusing on just one activity.The following exercises incorporate all three elements and are good for children ages 3 to 10.
Print out progress charts for each child to mark off the exercises completed. You can have them mark the exercises with stickers or a simple check mark at the end of each session depending on their age and interest. The chart could have a space for how many repetitions were completed, how far they threw the ball or whatever you feel will inspire them to continue working out and challenging their physical abilities.
Have the children stand with feet hip width apart. Encourage them to grow taller, stretching their fingers to the ceiling. They can go on their toes or stay flat footed. Next have them put one hand on their hip as they reach the other arm over their head and toward the opposite wall. Switch hands and repeat. Now have them relax and bend at the waist so that their arms and head hang loose like a rag doll's.
Now that the children are warmed up, put on music or sing a lively song for a round of freeze dance. To increase the activity, put mats or cushions around the room as "islands" that the children must reach when the music stops. Keep the energy up with a round of obstacle course. Place cushions or pillows around the room and indicate which they have to go around and which they have to jump over.
Encourage the children to lay on the floor with their knees bent and hands relaxed at their sides. Have them slowly bring their hips up to form a slide from their knees to their chins. Remind them to use control to go back down. Now have a swimming contest by having the children lay on their tummies with their arms out in front and legs straight. Have them pump their arms and legs up and down as if they were swimming.
Have the children pair up. Have them toss a medium-sized ball back and forth. Have them move back a pace every few throws.
Have the children sit on the floor with their legs in front of them. Encourage them to reach past their toes. Pair them up again. Have them match up their feet to form a diamond between them. They can then roll a small ball back and forth.