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When it’s raining, or really hot, or your kid has an “I don’t wanna go out” day, it’s nice to have a go-to indoor activity, so we thought we’d round up the best video game workouts, and the best general workouts for kids. With pools closed, and your kids’ activities — soccer programs, summer camps, gymnastics lessons — canceled (depending on where you live), these options can be the perfect alternative. (They might even get you moving, too — say, after a two-hour Zoom meeting?)
How are you keeping your kids active this summer? Are your kids the type to spend hours outside every day or more likely to choose indoor activities? Have any of your children’s summer programs opened this year?
My son, who’s 10, hasn’t gotten much physical activity in the last four months (which I feel guilty about). His parkour gym is closed, and we had just stopped swim lessons before COVID hit — and without school, he obviously missed out on recess and gym class. (His PE teacher valiantly tried to teach the kids by posting videos, but we didn’t have a baseball, bat, mitt, or frisbee, so that wasn’t a big success for us…) Since he loves (looooves) video games, I’m thinking we’ll have to give him a bit more screentime than he already has (ha) and try a game that’ll get him off the couch. (Our couch is really comfortable.)
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Here are the best video game workouts for kids:
Kids can use the hundreds of videos on GoNoodle’s website or YouTube channel to, for example, dance along with NTV (“Noodle Television”), try mindfulness exercises, and do short workouts with well-known athletes. (Note: There are “kid-safe,” unskippable ads.) Their game apps are available for iOS and Android, too.
This summer, the company’s providing “GoNoodle: Good Energy Summer,” which offers free ways to “be active, stay mindful, have fun, and learn.” It includes movement, yoga, and mindfulness videos; downloadable educational activities and crafts; and suggestions for off-screen activities for kids and families.
Ring Fit Adventure
Ring Fit Adventure (for Nintendo Switch) has become really popular during quarantine, which means that it’s also been difficult to find in stores and online.
Kat’s brother loaned her his (after hurting his back), though, and she got a chance to try it out. Here’s her Ring Fit Adventure review:
I DO really like this game — but I wish the exercises were more varied in the beginning, and that the theme of the game was more “Let’s defeat the bad guy” and less “Let’s defeat the bad guy who REALLY LOVES WORKING OUT by doing SQUATS!” My favorite parts of the game are getting to run through obstacle courses or foreign lands, and shoot puffs of smoke at things (boxes, targets) with the Ring. While I enjoy it, though, the game is a bit too much for my uncoordinated 6-year-old son, and for my eldest (almost 9), the strong “Let’s work out!” vibe turns him off.)
If you think it might be a good fit for your kids, it’ll take more than a click or two to buy it, unfortunately. Nintendo’s website currently shows that the game is out of stock at Best Buy, Target, and Gamestop — but it’s best to contact your local stores to check.
My son refuses to do Just Dance with me, but it’d be such a fun option for a lot of kids! Bonus: A couple of years ago, they added a separate kids’ mode, which is a nice option to have, as some of the “adult” videos have some pretty suggestive moves, and it saves you the time of having to preview. You can also watch Just Dance videos for free on YouTube, but unlike the in-game videos, you’re not scored on your dancing, of course. The kids’ videos are collected in separate playlists on the YouTube channel, which helps you keep things rated G if needed!
While not exactly a video game, Cosmic Kids has become a really popular way to introduce kids to yoga — and a lot of readers have recommended it. A ton of videos are available on the YouTube channel, and a paid version ($65/year or $10/month — for desktop, iOS, Android, Apple TV, and Roku) gives you access to streaming or downloaded videos that are free of ads. You can sign up for a 14-day free trial.
Cosmic Kids videos use a lot of fun themes to get (and keep) kids’ attention, including popular children’s books, Frozen, Moana, Pokemon, and Minecraft. Besides yoga videos (some set to music), Cosmic Kids also offers a playlist of “Peace Out” videos — guided relaxations of various lengths.
What have you found to be the best video game workouts for kids? Do you do them as a family?