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Apr 20, 2023 5 min read

5 Indoor Exercises for Child Care Classrooms to Keep Kids Active!

Leah Woodbury By: Leah Woodbury
six preschoolers exercising by hopping and wiggling around the classroom

Dreary weather can often mean long days for early childhood education teachers. 

Being cooped up inside can make little ones stir-crazy with nowhere to put all their energy.

And while it’s easier to keep them active when you’re outside, incorporating indoor exercise into your child care center’s classrooms is just as important when it’s cold, raining or just plain miserable outdoors. 

A 2022 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that 74% of child care programs did provide enough opportunities for physical activity, only half gave kids the recommended amount of time, and just 43% gave them both enough opportunities and enough time, according to a HealthDay article.    

So let’s look at five indoor exercise ideas for you to keep kids moving inside!

1. Action Dice

Create a dice, or several, with different actions on each side. Some actions could include jumping , spinning, patting your head or rubbing your tummy.

Give each child a turn rolling the dice. The entire class must do whatever indoor activity shows on top!

2. Hula Hooping

Hula-hooping has been shown to help improve posture, boost circulation and strengthen core muscles.

And there are more activities to do with a hula hoop then just keep it moving on your hips.

Create a tunnel and let the kids crawl through it:

a young boy crawls through hoops held by other children and a teacher

The Empowered Parents blog suggests a game of musical hoops, which is a spin on musical chairs. 

Play music and tellthe kids to dance. Instead of running to sit on a chair when the music stops, kids must find an empty hoop and sit cross-legged inside it. 

Remove one hoop and the person who doesn’t find a hoop is out of the round on each round … and with younger kids, it may be better not to remove hoops so every child finds a hoop on each round.

And if your kids are old enough (and coordinated enough!) to do a hula-hoop routine, check out this 6-minute YouTube video

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3. Indoor Obstacle Course

This is an indoor exercise that you can make as simple or as intricate as you choose! You can mark the course with masking tape on the ground in a room where there’s ample space. 

Then the course is up to you! You could make a balance beam, a hopscotch outline or a rectangle to leap across. 

Look around your room for items to include that don’t have sharp edges and are easy for you to move. 

Consider changing the course before the activity is over to keep it exciting!

4. Indoor Dance Party

kids dance around their daycare classroom while a teacher plays a xylophone

You can never go wrong with a dance party when the weather is too nasty to be outside. 

Plus, dancing provides many physical benefits for children, including improving flexibility, coordination, balance, range of motion, stamina, muscle tone, strength and posture!

Pick music that gives clear instructions or tells a funny story the kids can follow.

You can’t go wrong blasting “Shake Your Sillies Out” by the Learning Station! Check out the YouTube video here and wiggle those waggles away.

Want more music ideas? Here’s a playlist on Spotify to get the kids in your daycare classrooms jamming!

And the Early Learning Ideas has a great list of songs that rhyme to help your kids with literacy as they dance.

5. Yoga

Teaching yoga poses is simple and fun and helps little ones build flexibility.

For instance, the tree pose is exciting for toddlers who mastering walking and running, and anything new that they can learn to do with their legs makes them feel like a big boy or girl! 

Hold onto the child’s hand and encourage the child to lift one leg up and touch their other leg with it. Eventually, once toddlers gain their balance, they can lift the foot up without holding your hand.

The benefits of tree pose include helping to stretch the thighs, torso and shoulders as well as strengthen the ankles, calves and abdominal muscles.

YouTube is full of great videos of yoga for kids. This 15-minute class by Yoga For Kids with Alissa Kepas is fun for toddlers and even includes buzzing like a bee!

How Procare Can Help!

screenshot of Procare's Early Learning Curriculum with an illustration next to it that says, "100% Digital"

Coming up with developmentally appropriate activities for children in child care settings, no matter what the weather is, can be time-consuming and difficult. That’s where Procare Early Learning, an online curriculum solution to address the needs of daycares, preschools and early learning teachers, can help! 

This 100% digital offering is seamlessly embedded into Procare and gives teachers everything they need to provide high-quality instruction for infants to pre-K at their fingertips.

No more expensive books, binders or kits, no long hours preparing lessons and no stress for the teachers – just log in, organize pre-loaded lessons per classroom and by age group and let the learning begin!

Request your demo today to see what an all-digital curriculum can do for your child care business!

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Leah Woodbury

Leah Woodbury is the head of content at Procare Solutions. Her job includes writing about topics that matter to child care professionals and finding ways to help them do their important work. She’s a mom of two who loves getting updates about what her preschooler is doing during the day via the Procare child care mobile app!

Leah Woodbury