Intro: Family Exercise Circuit in a Backpack
Many years ago, I made a type of exercise circuit or rotation activity that would get my young family out of the house for some “fun exercise”. I wanted to do something that would keep my kid’s short attention span and would be fun at the same time. My daughters were 4 and 5 at the time. I came up with this idea and presented it to them on a Friday afternoon. I told them that we have some cards that give us activities to do as we walk on the park trail. I gave them a little peek into the backpack that was filled with toys from the dollar store. They were excited beyond belief!
The suspense was palpable as we drove to the park. They were asking all kinds of questions and trying to guess what on earth we were doing.
When we finally got to the park, I pull out a stack of index cards held together by a ring. On each card, I had written an exercise activity involving a toy. They also had directions about progressing to the next stop on our circuit. They were so excited!
We went through the different cards doing things like jumping rope, throwing balls, standing on one leg, and other fun exercises. They loved every minute of it and asked when we could do it again. Even my husband was enjoying the idea.
Though we were all sweaty from our “fun workout” we made plans to do the circuit again soon afterwards.
This backpack of toys and cards was used many times over the years. Now that we have had another child who is now 4, I have recreated the backpack for my family and created this instructable for your family. It is a super fun activity and I only spent about $20.
Step 1: Gathering the Supplies
For this step, I recommend looking at the toys that you already own first. Look for something like balls or containers of bubbles that will easily fit in a backpack. If you choose bubbles, make sure they will seal completely. You don’t want bubble solution in your backpack or on your back.
If you need to, you can then go to the dollar store or Walmart to find some inexpensive toys that would make great exercise incentives for your family. Choose what they like, whatever they will get excited about using.
Here’s what I used:
4 containers of bubbles
4 jump ropes
4 finger rockets
4 paddle balls with strings
6 ping pong balls
2 large foam dice
1 foam football
I also purchased some index cards and found a ring to keep them together while we exercised.
You will also need a backpack or bag to carry everything with you. I recommend a backpack because you can keep it on your back as you are moving. You can also keep water bottles or sippy cups in it to stay hydrated as you work out. You don’t have to buy a new backpack. There’s probably one laying around the house that needs to be put to good use.
Step 2: Creating the Cards
For the first card, use a marker or pen to write:
Throw the football between family members for 5 minutes.
To move forward: Take turns playing follow the leader for 1 minute each. Mix it up with fun moves.
Step 3: Creating the Cards
For the second card, write:
Choose a partner and shoot the finger rockets. Take turns going and getting them. (5 times each)
To move forward: Do lunges for 1 minute.
Step 4: Creating the Cards
For the third card, write:
Jump rope for 3 minutes.
To move forward: Jog for 1 minute.
Step 5: Creating the Cards
For the fourth card, write:
Blow 100 bubbles standing on one foot. You can switch feet if you need to.
To move forward: Crab walk for 1 minute.
Step 6: Creating the Cards
For the fifth card, write:
Roll the foam dice. Whatever number you get, do that many sit-ups.
To move forward: Walk like an elephant for 1 minute.
Step 7: Creating the Cards
For the sixth card, write:
Have a parent throw all of the ping pong balls in the air 4 times. Race to get them.
To move forward: Hop like a bunny for 1 minute.
Step 8: Creating the Cards
For the seventh card, write:
Bounce the ball 10 times in a row.
To move forward: Skip for 1 minute.
Step 9: Creating the Cards
At this point, punch a hole in the corner of the cards and attach them together with a key ring.
I have seven cards for my circuit. You can add more or less for your family and you can also do the circuit twice, going out and coming back on the trail.
Step 10: Have Fun!
Remember with any exercise program, it’s essential to warm up and cool down. You also need to stay hydrated. Take plenty of water for you and your family.
This circuit is a concept that can be manipulated to fit your family. Consider the age and interests of your family members to create a circuit that will be the most interesting for you. You can always add more or less cards than I have. Be creative. I wanted to create a circuit that seemed more like play time than exercise. It reminds me of when I sneak vegetables in my kids’ food. Ha ha!
If you love this idea and if it works for your family, you can add new cards and activities each week.
It makes for great family time and it gets everyone off their phones. Woo hoo!
Runner Up in the
Outdoor Fitness Challenge