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How to get Kids to Exercise in the Lockdown

January 2020: My 9 year old son and I ended our long going Mobile-Time War by signing a ‘New Year Pact’. Trust me, it seemed more like a war treaty! I still believe that my son got an unfair advantage when he promised me that he would get an hour of cycling outdoors in lieu of my nagging over his long mobile hours. For someone whose mother had to drag her into the house from play as a child, it is unbelievable that year later, I now had to push my son out of the house to play!

June 2020: My son had a hearty laugh when we remembered our New Year Pact. With the covid pandemic banishing all kids indoors, my son is happily glued back to the mobile phone. Unsure of when it will be safe for my kid to go outdoors and play again, I decided to do something about his physical activity. Are you wondering, how to get your kids to exercise in Lockdown? Here are a few tips…

Why Kids need Exercise

Exercise helps kids develop better bone health and improved muscle strength. Exercise has also been attributed to better brain function and emotional health. Lastly, it sets a strong foundation to a fitter lifestyle in their adulthood.

How to get Exercise indoors

Let’s face it, even adults need a lot of motivation to get themselves to exercise. So how do you get your kids to exercise, without making things unpleasant? Here are some fun games and activities that can get your kids moving.

Simon Says

This age-old game is a favourite with kids where you give out instructions that have to be followed only if they are preceded by the words ‘Simon Says’. Anyone who follows an instruction which was not preceded by ‘Simon Says’, loses. The instructions can include statements like

– ‘Move your arms and legs like you were a pair of scissors’,

– ‘Twist your body like the shape of the alphabet U’,

– ‘Turn your arms into the blades of a spinning helicopter’,

– ‘Bend around like a tree swaying in the wind before the rains’.

Indoor Olympics

Once you have cleared away all breakable objects, you can have your own Do-it-Yourself Indoor Olympics. A Bowling contest can be organised to knock over empty water bottles with a ball. Your humble jhaadu (broomstick) can turn into a hockey stick with a squishy ball and a bathtub / bucket for a goal post. You can set up a volley ball net with string / ribbon stretched between two chairs. A balloon can be bounced into the “net” using one’s feet while sitting.

Bouncy Balls, Hula Hoops, Bedsheets

You can make use of whatever props you have at home.

– Bouncing Balls: What better way to improve hand-eye co-ordination than by seeing how fast or how long your kid can dribble a ball! Dribbling a ball to a line few feet away or ensuring that they dribble within a few tiles can be varying rounds.

– Hula Hoops: Waist, arms, legs… so many parts can be exercised by hooping a hula hoop. (Check out little Mridula Shanker’s world records for some inspiration!) If you have multiple hoops, they can be laid on the floor for kids to hop from one into another.

– Bedsheets / Dupattas / Saris: A game as simple as raising a bedsheet and running underneath to switch places before it touches the floor can burn a few calories and get a truck load of giggles.

A Day at the Zoo

Your kid would love to pick out chits and enact a creeping crocodile, a jumping kangaroo or a slithering snake.

Circus Show

If your kid loves performing to “oohs and aahs” and applauses, you could get your child to practice for a weekend Circus Show. Get their friends involved and have the Circus Show over a video call with a sizeable audience of parents and friends. Juggling acts, balancing acts, difficult yogasanas, wheelbarrow races where the child walks on their hands while the parent holds their legs, Frog leaps are some activities that you could include. Costumes, food, music… make it as colourful and energetic as you want!

Just Dance!

All activities need not require huge preparation. You can just put on some music and dance away your lockdown blues! Freezing like statues when the music stops, mimicking the leader are some variations.

Feeling inspired? You may want to understand what type of exercise your kid needs and for how much time. Once you know that, you can creatively incorporate any of those activities into your own games, mixed and matched from the above list.

Dr. Mandar Agashe is a Paediatric Orthopedician practising at Agashe’s Paediatric Super Speciality Care at Kurla, Mumbai. Dr. Agashe can be reached via email at or via facebook at