Let Mama Work Out! Activity Ideas For Kids In The Gym
Ever since baby bear was, well, a baby 😛 she has been in the gym with me. Actually, both my girls have (here’s a few reasons why I work out with my kids). If you follow me on Instagram or twitter you’ll see first hand that more often than not, it’s chaos. Which is why having a rough list of activities ideas for kids can be a life saver.
Truth be told, not matter what activities for kids you have, it’s still going to be moderate chaos if you work out with them.
It took me a long time to realize that you’ve both got to embrace the kid chaos as well as power through. Working out with kids is hard. Like honestly, what is happening in the image below?!
But it’s also fun, sets an amazing example and gets them used to playing by themselves.
Actually, that is the biggest lesson I’ve learned when it comes to having my girls in the studio with me. They definitely get ignored to a degree. Not that I’m negligent, I always know where they are and what they’re doing. But I am most definitely not right beside them the whole time helping.
My workouts are important to me. Crucial really, as they keep me sane (here’s my regular training split). So, we are in the gym almost every day. And I think that my girls have learned more down there than anywhere else.
The gym is a place for them to be silly, laugh, climb or swing. Learn on their own and have free reign over what they wish to do (versus me handing them a book and telling them what to do with it).
And with that, comes insanity. But that’s okay!
Over the last three years I’ve learned and tried a lot of activity ideas for kids in the gym to enable me to get my workout in. Below are the ones that have worked.
One quick note/funny story: when my first was about one year old she drove me nuts. She was walking and wanted to be EVERYWHERE. This isn’t practical as I use a barbell and lift heavy- it’s dangerous. So, I though that buying a flashing light, battery operated, story book toy was the answer.
We don’t have any of these toys in our house (mostly because they drive me bonkers let alone, they suck for learning) and I believed that because she’ didn’t have one, it would distract her during my lift.
I felt so guilty giving it to her! Like horrible. Mom guilt is real everyone.
And she hated it. It lasted point two seconds and then she was over it.
When it comes to activity ideas for kids- flashing, battery operated toys don’t work. They don’t stimulate their minds, their creativity or their problem-solving skills. And thus, they don’t hold their attention. Don’t waste your money on them, instead opt for play based or mental based activities for kids.
Now, before I give you our list of favorites, there’s a few more thing to touch on…
Let your kids play with equipment. Yes, obviously make sure they’re careful and not dropping weights on their feet 😛 BUT your kids are not going to sit down with a coloring book for forty-five minutes.
If you want to be successful when working out with kids, you need to:
- Let them play. Let them swing, carry weights or make slides with bands. Don’t confine them to an area. It won’t work.
- Let them lead. Give them a few activities to chose from but don’t force them.
- If a kid brings you a book or toy to help. Stop your workout and read. Yes, it sucks. But the only way for them to stay content there is to know you’re still there to help.
- Laugh, a lot. Play games with them during your rest times. Make fitness fun. Never let your kids see you “punishing” yourself with a workout
- Keep the language positive. When your toddler asks, “why are you doing that mommy”, don’t you dare say “because mommy needs to lose ten pounds” or any other self-diminishing crap. Stick with “it helps keep mommy strong, so I can pick you up” or “because this is fun/playtime to mommy”. Working out is a gift, don’t forget it.
This one sucks but it’s always a hit! I keep a sticker book in the gym and googly eye stickers (they’re even more special for some reason) and often even my one-year old grabs it. Will the stickers end up on your floor? Yes. Sometimes there is a price to pay for your workout.
We obviously have an assortment of books in the gym. When it comes to activity ideas for kids’ books are the best ones! Lift the flap, noise making, anything they love. Both my girls love to “read”.
Cars & Race Track
My toddler loves to make “slides” out of the resistance bands on the bench, but her racetrack works too. She’ll set it all up and zoom cars around for a good fifteen minutes.
Snow In A Bowl
This was a hit last year and I’ll use it again this year! I grabbed a towel, filled a bowl with snow and gave them cups. It made a wet mess, but mama got her workout in 😉
If you have a white board easel that’s awesome! If not, a tin pan with magnetic letters is genius. I’ve not idea why but magnets are hilarious and if you use the alphabet ones, they’re learning a bit!
Any kind of stacking blocks or our favorite: magnetic blocks are AMAZING in the gym.
This activity gives you more than five minutes and helps them be creative. I love looking at everything the girls build (and am often mildly impressed).
If you’re in Canada, you can also snag these at Well.ca which is where we got ours!
Truthfully, I suck at these #slackermom Every so often I’ll give my baby a bin of random crap I found in the kitchen but otherwise I suck.
I hope you’re better than I am because sensory bins rock when it comes to working out at home.
This is where allowing your kids to play in the gym is crucial. If you can, grab a blanket (I use a yoga mat) and drape it over something (anything). Building forts is super fun for the kids and again, gets them distracted.
Get The Kids Involved
My girls (even my youngest at one) love working out with me. If I’m doing a resistance band exercise, they both get their own bands and do it with me.
I have my toddler count my reps or hold a stop watch. We practice handstands together or squats. Let them help and mimic (so long as it’s safe). It’s super cute and definitely helps develop a love of fitness!
In the end, there’s no perfect system to working out at home with kids (though you should because it keeps you consistent!). It’s crazy, there’s a mess everywhere and it’s loud. But you get it done. Grab activity ideas that will stimulate your kids instead of just distract them, it gives you more time. And remember, the first rule of working out with kids is: embrace the chaos
Any other awesome activity ideas for kids in the gym? What do you use?
Quick Tip: My go-to store for equipment is Pro Source! They have awesome gear at fair prices.. plus, if you use the code “mamabear15” you save fifteen percent on the best price on the site – win!