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Exercise Ideas for Preschoolers

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  • Exercise Ideas for Preschoolers

    Iím looking for exercises to do with my 3-5 year old students at the end of a long day at preschool.

    For a little background: I work in a preschool that is open from 7:00am until 6:00pm (some get dropped off early, and some get picked up late). So, by the end of the day (i.e. 5:30pm), the remaining little 3-5 year olds are very restless. They generally cannot sit and build with blocks of read stories, and we donít want them to get out any really messy toys because we teachers are trying to get the room clean for the night.

    SOOOO, my question is this: What group exercises would be good for 3-5 year olds that donít require any equipment and donít take up much space (I have 3-10 kids in a classroom-sized room).

    I already have them do sit-ups, leg-lifts, wall push-ups, cross-overs, squats, jumping jacks, and lunges. They get bored with each activity rather quickly, so we only do a few reps before moving onto a different exercise. So, any more stationary exercise ideas would be great.

    I also sometimes re-arrange the furniture and we ďraceĒ (no running in the classroom) across the room doing: bear crawls, crab walks, galloping, side stepping, hopping on one foot, skipping, stomping, lunges, crawling on all fours, hopping on both feet, and twirling in circles. Do you have any other ideas of race movements?

    Any other ideas are also welcome!

    Also, are any of these exercises are bad, please tell me!

    Thanks for any and all help!

  • #2
    I am not sure about the specific exercises, but what about active games? London bridge, ring-a-roses, simon says, hokey pokey, what about putting some music on and dancing?

    What about parachute games:

    Games for Toddlers
    Play parachutes are often used in childcare centers and child gym programs. They work well because they float down and create a dome effect underneath. If you don't have one, try a large bedsheet.

    Game: Parachute
    Number of kids: Enough to maneuver the parachute or sheet. A few adults will help.

    How the game is played: Have the children and your adult helpers encircle the parachute or sheet. Raise it high overhead and say, "Up, up, up." Bring the parachute down low and say, "Down, down, down." Repeat several times. Lift the parachute up high again, cue your adult helpers, and say, "Under, under, under," then have everyone rush under the dome of the parachute or sheet.

    What the game teaches: Gross motor movement, waiting, and listening.

    Game: Umbrella
    Number of kids: Enough to maneuver the parachute or sheet. A few adults will help.

    How the game is played: Have the children hold the edges of the parachute or sheet. Say, "I hear thunder! I think it's going to rain!" while helping them shake the parachute or sheet. Lift the parachute or sheet high and let it fall, while calling the kids, one at a time, to run under the parachute or sheet. ("Sarah! It's raining! Run under the umbrella!") When everyone is under, play again. This time, have everyone get under the umbrella at once.

    Tips for adults: Some kids just don't like having things put over their heads or faces, so watch to make sure that all kids are feeling safe and happy. If someone doesn't want to run under the parachute, you can say, "Josh likes the rain. He's going to help hold our umbrella!"

    Then there is this:
    Indoor Games for Kids - How to Convert Outdoor Games to Indoor Games for Kids
    Achieving goals takes a backbone not a wishbone


    • #3
      General tip: trigger their imagination. Kids that age don't care about sit-ups or burpees or stuff like that. They'll have much more fun if you use a general theme and stick to it. You could try moving like an animal, it's a classic.

      Jump like a frog
      Run like a lion on all fours
      Run like an ostrich (with your arms glued to your side)
      Forward rolls like a monkey
      Crawl like a snake
      Walk like an elephant (straight legs, one arm mimics the trump)

      You can also ask them to make the same cry the animals make.

      Whatever activity you do, ALWAYS add something imaginary to it. Doing a circuit? Crossing the jungle! Jumping from point A to point B? Floor is lava! They'll have much more fun that way.


      • #4
        Kkarrolle, they usually love games like that, that’s for sure. The only problem is, by 5:30pm, when they’ve been at school for 8-10 hours with only two 15-20 minute recesses (something I can’t do anything about) and most of their day has been spent sitting at circle time and doing structured activities; they have pretty much used up all their self control. I’ll try some Duck, Duck, Goose this afternoon and see how it goes. Maybe they will hold themselves together for it… Thanks for the ideas!

        We don’t have a parachute, or room to use one. When we’ve borrowed one during the day, they usually go bonkers with it—by the evening they have even less self control and would probably go even more bonkers… and I’m trying to keep them from going bonkers .

        Winterbike, oh, they love doing the exercises; they all cheer when I say we’re going to do exercises. Believe me, I keep it fun, which is part of the reason I switch exercises so frequently. During the day, we’ll do animal imagination, or pretending we’re traveling through a forest, swishing through the grass, and swimming through a river, etc. And, they love it and can focus on it. But, by 5:30pm, they’ve lost their ability to focus, and I don’t want to force them to all focus on pretending because that just feels wrong. So, I tend to just switch things up really fast to maintain what little attention they have left. That way, I’m not putting them all in time out for climbing on top of each other and throwing toys—things they all are prone to doing at that time because their bodies need to move and their minds are done focusing. So, I keep their bodies moving and reduce the amount of focusing they have to do .

        I forgot about frog-jumps, and the ostrich run sound really fun, thanks! I’ve tried the snake crawl before, but it takes them so long to cross the room that they get depressed. As for the monkey rolls, I’m afraid they’ll crash into each other…

        Thanks for the ideas! Any others?


        • #5
          I am not sure about the specific exercises