Small ways to build physical activity into your daily routine

Adding a little more physical activity into your daily routine doesn’t have to be difficult or require special equipment. In fact, it might just be easier than you think and you likely won’t need oodles of free time either. With some small changes to what you already do in your daily life, you can create lots of opportunities to be active. And those minutes can really add up.

Here are some small, simple ways to build more physical activity into your daily routine.

1. Morning and bedtime routines

Before the day gets going: Start your mornings off on the right foot by singing the “Head and Shoulders” song together with your little ones. Or do a “Get Active Countdown” (for example, 5 jumping jacks, 4 crab walks, 3 hops, etc.) before breakfast. 

During teeth-brushing: Turn this daily occurrence into a balance challenge by having your child balance on one foot while brushing, or for older children, have them alternate feet when they switch sides with their toothbrush.

When winding down: Begin your bedtime routine 10 minutes early and watch a yoga class online or make up your own poses to wind down together

2. Mealtimes

Make meal prep, setting the table, and doing the dishes a fun activity for everyone by putting on some of your family-favourite tunes or use this list of 57 awesome family dance party jams

3. Weekend time = Learning and moving time

Hanging outside at home: Draw a hopscotch pattern on your sidewalk to practice counting or choose any of these 6 sidewalk chalk learning activities from Scholastic.

When reading together: Choose a word that appears often throughout the book (for example, “the,” “her,” “they,” etc.) and an action (3 jumping jacks, one-foot balance, etc.). When you or your child reads the word, do the movement together before continuing. 

4. Tidying up

10-minute tidy up: Make cleaning up a fun activity by doing a 10-minute tidy! Set a timer for 10 minutes and encourage your child to use as many different movements as possible (jumping, hopping, rolling, skipping, bear crawls, etc.) to move from one area to another while putting items away. 

Laundry time: Turn laundry into a relay by having your child race to put groups of items away (like all their socks, for example) before coming back for the next group. Laundry has never been so active and fun!

And if you’d like even more great ideas to help keep your child active during your day, check out this printable plan for an active day at home.


Read more about small habits:

10 tiny mindfulness habits to try with your family

When it’s not worth the fight: 9 small ways to change screen time habits

The science of self-care: How tiny habits make a big difference

10 ways to get more active in just 10 minutes

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