Between parents trying to get work done at home and guidelines surrounding COVID-19, and the use of outdoor spaces changing daily, it can be hard to find a suitable time and place where you can let the kids get some heart-pumping physical activity to keep their bodies and minds strong.
While my kids and I would rather be exploring a forest or riding our bikes for miles, we’re also rolling up the living room carpet and testing out the abundance of “stay physically active while at home!” videos and apps that have been conveniently popping up on my Facebook news feed.
If your kiddos are stuck inside for an extended time, need a brain break between math and science worksheets, want to practice the latest cool dances, or you really need to make an uninterrupted call without someone on your lap, these videos are a safe option to keep them occupied and motivated, get the wiggles out, and help them incorporate important daily physical activity into these (sometimes very, very) long days.
If you’ve got a few minutes, try to join in the fun. The dancing and silly songs got me laughing and forgetting about some of the days’ worries and stress too. And we could all do with a little less of that right now.
Here are our five current favourites:
My kiddos cheered when I suggested this series. They had both moved along with it at their school, and shouted out the names of their favourite videos.
We’ve now put yoga into our regular routine, as I could see how much my 11-year-old hockey player struggled with flexibility. And the mindfulness videos are great for after-dinner relaxation.
Ages: Pre-schoolers to tweens
Used in classrooms since 2013, GoNoodle includes a huge collection of videos that promote physical activity and kinesthetic learning, as well as enhance focus and engagement. This site provides videos and activity sheets, and encourages kids and families to move and learn together.
My 11-year-old was excited to look through the GoNoodle videos because he remembered how fun they were in school, but the seven-year-old grump resisted until he heard us laughing and jumping around to “Peanut Butter in a Cup.”
“This IS fun!” he exclaimed after joining in—and then danced for another 45 minutes.
You can also check out favourite videos and exclusives on the YouTube channel.
Force 4 (in French)
Ages: Primary school
This year, the get-active challenge of Quebec’s Le Grand défi Pierre Lavoie is available online. During this annual challenge, schoolchildren colour in little squares in a booklet to keep track of time spent in physical activity. Families can now track these “energy cubes” in a virtual booklet or download a paper version.
My kids love the motivation of colouring in the cubes and seeing how many we accumulate at the end of the challenges, and trying for the weekly prizes.
New in 2022 is the launch of La Récré Force 4, a series of videos to get kids moving right in their living rooms.
Visit force4.tv to find your favourite videos.
Ages: All ages
Recess Guardians has brought its unstructured recess play programs to more than 600 schools across Canada. Recently it unveiled its active8 Your Home program.
Check out their YouTube channel to view super fun and easy activities to stay active at home.
Ages: All ages
Join Joe Wicks on his YouTube channel for 30-minute energetic routines aimed at encouraging students to stay active while at home. You can also find “five-minute move” and “Active 8” videos for short energy breaks.
Joe’s not a certified teacher — and in any case, there’s a lot more to physical education than just physical activity — but there’s no question that his enthusiasm will get everyone moving!
Bonus: Even more fun videos to get kids moving
With schools, daycares, and recreational sports on hold, children have been uprooted from their normal routines. We need to proactively make mental health and physical activity a priority now more than ever. Here are some more video programs to help foster a love of physical fitness and movement, while keeping kids entertained and active.
- The Kiboomers: Toddlers will like the simple songs that help them learn colours, shapes, counting, dance, and movement skills.
- Moovlee: This YouTube channel has yoga, mindfulness, and exercise videos for (younger) kids.
- CBC Kids: Join The Moblees in their Get Moving dance videos.
Elementary age and older:
- KIDDO: This organization aims to get kids “moving well and moving often.” Check out its YouTube channel for at-home videos.
- BOKS: Follow its Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube pages for physical activity programs to get kids active.
- I Love A Challenge!: These 40 video challenges are designed for elementary-aged kids.
- Active with Adam: Join Hockey Canada’s lead strength and conditioning coach, Adam Douglas, with tips and tricks to stay active at home.
- Free Footie: Follow on Facebook to watch live home training sessions with an impressive lineup of coaches and athletes.
- YMCA at home: Enjoy fun and healthy activities for the whole family at home.
- Fillactive – FitSpirit: French and English fitness videos aimed at tween and teen girls.
Do you have a favourite that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
Related Read: Four easy indoor winter activities for kids
This article was originally published in 2020 by Active for Life, a national initiative created to help parents raise physically literate children. At activeforlife.com, parents, educators, and coaches will find fun activities, engaging articles, and free resources to get kids active, healthy and happy. Sign up for Active for Life’s monthly newsletters. Connect with Active for Life on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.