Motherly Collective

Motherhood is unpredictable, ever-changing and, at times, down right chaotic. It’s no surprise that most of us have lost it on our families at one time or another—the frustration, mental load, the overstimulation—and then, the guilt that follows. You are not alone. Tough moments, chaos and loss of control are to be expected, but ensuring a healthy outlet for stress can make those moments more manageable.

Exercise not only keeps our physical body healthy, it helps enhance memory skills, boosts the happiness chemical serotonin and increases cognitive repair, which is the production of the chemicals that affect the growth and health of new blood vessels in the brain. In fact, many studies have suggested that the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory are larger in volume in people who exercise than in people who don’t. These are just some of the benefits but since we know that motherhood can make it tough to find time for exercise, here are simple movements you can do with your child.

We all need a break to have fun, laugh and simply move our bodies. Grab your kiddos and try some of these fun movement breaks!

1. Obstacle course

Use your backyard or house to create an obstacle course. Try this one:

  • Run around three trees
  • At the last tree, do 10 frog jumps
  • Crawl under the trampoline
  • Race to see who can reach the back door the fastest
  • Use cardboard boxes as hurdles

2. Life-size Tic-Tac-Toe

On your driveway, set up sticks in a Tic-Tac-Toe grid pattern and grab two pieces of different colored chalk.

  • Your child runs, skips, hops or leaps to the grid and marks his/her symbol
  • You must wait until your child returns back to the starting line before you run, skip, hop or leap to the grid and mark your symbol
  • Repeat as many times as you like

3. Mirror match

  • You complete 1 movement like a jumping jack
  • Your child repeats your movement
  • You complete the 1st movement and add on
  • Your child repeats your movements
  • Keep it up until someone forgets the sequence
  • Switch leaders and try a new sequence

4. Limbo

You can easily replicate this game by tying a string between two trees or using a long stick if you have multiple players.

5. Ball roll

  • Sit facing your child with a ball (stability ball, soccer ball, basketball, etc) in front of you, and open your legs as wide as you can comfortably sit.
  • Pass the ball to your child and ask that they roll it back to you
  • Increase the level of difficulty by asking your child to roll the ball to your right or left hand
  • Increase the level by putting yourself (and your kiddo if old enough) in different positions such as plank & v-sit

6. Dance party

Just turn on some happy tunes (like this playlist from FIT4MOM) & shake it out, mama.

7. Ball pass

  • While on your knees, ask your child to stand next to you.
  • Pass the ball from the outside to the inside, asking your child to meet you in the middle
  • Your child takes the ball and passes it to his outside
  • Repeat the process to see if you can gradually move further apart, and add toss to each other

8. Water bottle bowling

Set up water bottles like bowling pins and use any ball to knock them down.

9. Backyard racing

Change this simple activity by pretending to be your favorite characters and animals. Think of movements like:

  • Frog leaps
  • Horse gallop
  • Run backwards
  • Skip
  • Jump rope

10. Balloon ball

Blow up a balloon and hit it around the house or yard without letting it touch the ground.

11. Active scavenger hunt

The clues tell them what activity they must do to get to the next clue, like bear crawling, running backward or bunny hopping.

12. Duck duck goose

Do we need to explain? Feel free to change this classic game by incorporating different movements like frog jumps, bear crawls, skips and high knees.

13. Line dancing

Turn on the tunes and try these dance moves:

  • Cha-Cha Slide
  • Cupid Shuffle
  • Kidz Bop Shuffle

14. Bedsheet parachute

  • Everyone grabs a corner of a bedsheet
  • Work together  to shake a small stuffed animal or ball off of the parachute

15. Hopscotch

Stuck inside? Use tape to lay out your hopscotch area inside! Make this a math game by:

  • Asking your kiddo to only jump to the squares that are even numbers
  • Try odd numbers
  • Come up with simple equations such as: 1+3

16. Family workout

For themed, family-focused exercise, try the Mama + Mini Collection from FIT4MOM On Demand! From beach-theme to story time to partner moves, these do-anytime-anywhere workouts are sure to get the wiggles out and the giggles going.

However you choose to get them off the couch, there’s one thing we know for certain: monkey see, monkey do. You are their biggest influence so, let’s get moving.

This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother's journey is unique. By amplifying each mother's experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you're interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please click here.