Circuit Training Workouts for Kids

by Nina Makofsky
Simple children's games provide a workout.

Simple children's games provide a workout.

While gyms and fitness boot camps often use circuit training to target people's major muscle groups and keep the heart rate raised, children's circuit training has a variety of goals and benefits. The primary aspect of effective kids' circuit training is that it offers diverse, developmentally appropriate activities that do not rely as much on calisthenics, floor work or hydraulic exercise machines. Keep the pace fast and the mood upbeat, and children will discover new challenges.

Playground Obstacle Course

One of the easiest ways to keep children active and entertained while doing circuit training is to hold the circuit training at a good playground that also has open space for children to run and play. Select a playground that has the right size of equipment so that you do not spend the whole time holding children so they can reach the monkey bars or telling them not to crash into babies on the toddler slide. Set up an obstacle course on the playground, moving through the equipment. Try to have a variety of activities that involve climbing, swinging, scooting, jumping and running. For added fun, time your child going through the obstacle course, and then set the goal of trying to beat the time.

Exercise Stations

In an open green space or your backyard, try setting up exercise stations. Designate different areas with play mats, flags or orange cones. Place equipment for circuit training at each area. For example, one corner may have a hula hoop for twirling, or several hula hoops set flat on the ground for hopping through. Another corner may feature jumping rope, one of the tougher cardiovascular activities. In a section with concrete or a blacktop, draw a hopscotch court, but make it longer and winding to keep the hopping going longer. Reserve an area with stairs or a hill for sprinting up and down. Other equipment that can help boost activity for circuit training workouts include bouncy balls, a basketball hoop, badminton equipment, a medicine ball, bean bags with a target, a punching bag, a tire swing and light hand weights.

Indoor Circuit Training

Keep active no matter what the weather or where you are by creating an indoor circuit training workout for your family. If you have a basement or a recreation room, you can set up areas for doing jumping jacks, mats for sit-ups, stairways for walking, a lit corner for shadow boxing and stacks of pillows for climbing, punching or having a pillow fight. Make the circuit more fun by creating kid-centered challenges, such as a line of cardboard boxes for crawling through, an inflatable pool filled with balls for rolling in, thick gym mats for somersaults and a cushioned area for practicing headstands. A small jogger trampoline lets children run or jump to keep their heart rates high.

About the Author

Nina Makofsky has been a professional writer for more than 20 years. She specializes in art, pop culture, education, travel and theater. She currently serves as a Mexican correspondent for "Aishti Magazine," covering everything from folk art to urban trends. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College.

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