5 Indoor Family Fitness Ideas

Every family experiences those days where it’s too cold or rainy to go outside. You and the kids have cabin fever. Time to get some exercise in the house. These five simple indoor fitness activities for preschoolers can help you get your little one’s moving on those dreary “indoor” days.

Jumping Jacks with a Twist

Jumping jacks are great “straight out of the box,” but for a little extra fun, blow bubbles over the other family members’ heads and let them pop the bubbles by doing an exaggerated hand-clap as they perform the jumping jacks. Alternatively, you can call out a silly cadence that the players repeat back to you – the sillier the better (e.g. “To the doctor I must go. . . got a toothache in my toe . . .”).

Running (for Your Life)

Line up the children facing you and tell them you are going to lead them on a lion hunt. They must repeat what you say and do. Begin with “Let’s go on a lion hunt”, and start marching in place. They should each repeat (in unison) “Let’s go on a lion hunt” and start marching in place. Continue the story while marching, and wait for the family to repeat. For example, “I see a jungle.” Children repeat. “Can’t go around it.” Children repeat. “Can’t go over it.” Children repeat. “Guess we’ll have to go through it.” Then begin stomping and weaving through the imaginary jungle with your arms. After a time, go back to marching in place. Continue the story making up the places and obstacles (lake, mountain, tunnel, bridge, etc.).

Finally, say, “I see two big eyes.” Children repeat. “I see a big long tail.” Children repeat. “It’s a lion!” Children repeat. “I hear a roar.” Children repeat. “Run!” Then start running in place (double-time) and reverse the route calling out each obstacle (“back through the tunnel, back over the mountain, back through the lake, back through the jungle”), doing each motion again (franticly) with each obstacle. Then collapse with a big “Whew! We made it!”

Calisthenics by Simon

You can lead your family in jumping jacks, toe touches, running in place, hopping on one foot, etc., by simply playing Simon Says. For example, Simon says, “Touch your toes 5 times.” Simon says, “Run in place.” Simon says, “Stop.” Simon says, “Do 5 jumping jacks,” and so on. Don’t forget to omit “Simon says” a few times until one family member is the last one left. If your children are old enough, let the winner be the leader next, or for younger children, let the winner run a victory lap around the room.


Pair up family members as close in size as you can. Have them sit down across from each other with their legs spread and feet touching. Have them lean forward and clasp hands. Have one person pull gently while the other pushes. Then reverse who pushes and who pulls. Sing “Row Row Row Your Boat” while exercising. Change partners at the end of the song.

Saturday Night Fever

Move the furniture to make a large enough dance floor so all the kids (and Mom and Dad) can dance at once. Crank up the music and encourage everyone to sing along while they dance. For a disco theme, dim the lights and use flashlights for strobes. Another alternative is Freeze Dancing. After a few moments of riotous dancing, hit pause and yell “freeze!” Dancers must freeze in mid movement, not just stop dancing. Hold for a few moments then start the music again.

indoor fitness activities for preschoolers

About the Fitness Fanatics Program by The Academy

Fitness Activities for Preschoolers

At The Academy, we believe fitness is vital to good health. That’s why every January we have our fun fitness program, Fitness Fanatics. Fitness Fanatics involves the children and their whole family. With special fitness and health guests, fun physical activities, and education about nutrition, Fitness Fanatics helps families focus on learning about healthy lifestyles while spending valuable time together.