25+ Core Exercises for Kids: A Comprehensive Guide

The core exercises involve strengthening the muscles in the core or the trunk of the body. To put it in simple terms, the core muscles involve the muscles on your kids’ belly, back, and the sides of the trunk of the body.

As a mother, I understand how essential core exercises 💪🏼 are for our kids as they build the foundation for later skills like fine motor and gross motor skills.

I would say that core strengthening is the base for other developmental skills, so if you are looking for fun and effective core exercises, you are at the right place! 💯

core exercises for kids

I recommend you include core exercises that are fun and easy for your kids to do as a part of their daily routine to develop their core strength. 

In this blog post, I have included a guide 📑 on various core exercises for your kids to make things easier for you.

I have divided the core exercises into two parts for your convenience –

a) Core exercises without any equipment

b) Core exercises with games and simple pieces of equipment

c) Core exercises with playground equipment

Core Exercises without any Equipment

Stretching 

I would say that stretching 🙆‍♀️ is a very simple yet effective exercise that can also help kids strengthen their core.

Steps to Do:

  • Make your kids sit or stand and raise their hands toward the ceiling for a few seconds as a simple stretching exercise.
  • Then, you can also get them to lean their right arm toward the left side of the body and hold for a few seconds. 
  • They can then lean their left arm toward the right side of the body and hold for a few seconds.
  • The key to doing this exercise is for kids to lean their arms upward or toward the opposite side and feel the stretch in the arms, backs, and sides of their upper body.

Pro Tip:

You can start by making your kids hold their hands for a few seconds and slowly increase the time and the angle of the hold.

Crab Walk

I would say that animal walks are a great way for kids to have fun while also exercising their core muscles. Crab 🦀 walks are efficient in this case.

Steps to Do:

  • Make your kids sit on the floor with their arms behind their bodies and their feet on the ground. 
  • They can lift their body off the floor by balancing their weight on their arms and feet and move forward, backward, or sideways to scuttle like a crab.

Crab walks can help kids strengthen their core as the abdominal muscles are tightened, and the core muscles help balance the body in this position.

Pro Tip:

If your kids find it too difficult to lift their entire body, you can let them lift only their bottoms up in the air. 

Bear Walk

Another animal walk that can help kids strengthen their core is bear 🐻 walks. My son loves bears from all the stories he has heard, and he enjoys copying the movements of a bear.

Steps to Do:

  • Make your kids start in a standing position with their feet placed shoulder-width apart and arms held straight.
  • Then, instruct them to rest their hands on the ground in such a way that their backs are parallel to the floor.
  • They can keep their hands straight while bending their knees a little.
  • Let your kids take steps forward by moving their hands and legs like a bear.

Bear walks are a great way to strengthen the core and the muscles in the whole body.

Military Crawl

You can make your kids do the military 🪖 crawl exercises just as a standalone routine, or you could include them in obstacle courses and other physical games.

Steps to Do:

  • Make your kids lie down on the floor with their stomachs on the ground. 
  • Then, get them to crawl forward using their elbows and forearms.
  •  To make it easier, kids can bring their knees forward to push themselves ahead.

This exercise is great for the core and an effective upper-body strengthening workout.

Donkey Kicks

Donkey kicks are fun for kids to do and also help them strengthen their core muscles along the way.

Steps to Do:

  • Make your kids start in the standing position, and rest their hands and feet on the floor in a crawling position.
  • Now, guide them to hold their grip firmly with their hands on the floor, jump, and kick their legs up in the air like the way a donkey kicks its legs.

Pro Tip:

Your kids can start by kicking one leg at a time and then move on to kicking both legs together at the same time.

Plank 

Planks are an easy core-strengthening exercise that kids can do. 

Planks are also an obvious choice when you need to strengthen the core muscles. 

Steps to Do:

  • Make your kids lie down on the yoga mats on their stomachs. 
  • Then, guide them to place their hands flat on the floor and then kneel on their knees. 
  • Now, they can straighten their arms and legs and slowly lift themselves up.
  • Kids can balance their bodies off the ground with the help of their arms and legs and hold this position for a few seconds.

I would say that making your kids do plank exercises can help strengthen their arms and upper body.

Side Plank

After your kids are done with the normal plank exercise, you can also switch things up by getting them to do side planks for a core exercise. 

Steps to Do:

  • Make them start the exercise by lying on the yoga mats on one side of their bodies.
  • Then, instruct them to shift all their weight to that one side of their bodies and balance their bodies with the help of the elbows and ankles.
  •  They can hold their body in this position for a few seconds and then return to the side position again.
  • Kids can do this again on the opposite side and repeat this again.

Bridge

After doing the planks and side planks, kids can also try the bridge exercise to strengthen their core muscles.

Make your kids lie with their backs on the yoga mat with their hands by the side. Then, instruct them to lift their bottoms by keeping their knees and feet close together and hold this bridge pose for a few seconds.

Arm Circles

Forming a circle with their arms 💪🏼 can help kids strengthen their arms and shoulders and improve upper body strength. 

Steps to Do:

  • Make your kids stand and hold out their arms on both sides at shoulder level. 
  • They should resemble a T-shape with their hands and body.
  • Then, they can rotate their arms in circles forward first, followed by a backward motion for a few seconds each. 

Pro Tip:

I made my son make small circles in a faster motion by rotating his arms and then large circles in a slower motion.

Wheelbarrow Walk

Wheelbarrow walking 🚶🏽‍♀️requires two people to carry out the exercise – one to hold and the other to walk and benefits both of them. 

Steps to Do:

  • Make one person place their hands on the floor and their body parallel to the ground. The hands bear the weight of the body. 
  • The other person holds the ankles of the person who is resting at a 45-degree angle along the floor.

The two individuals together resemble a wheelbarrow being pushed around by a person.

Bicycle Crunch

Cycling 🚴 on a bicycle might be fun for kids, but I guarantee they will love cycling on an imaginary bicycle, too.

Steps to Do:

  • You can make your kids lie on their backs on the floor.
  • They can curl their necks up and raise their legs upward towards the ceiling.
  • Now, kids can use their legs to cycle in the air on an imaginary bicycle in the forward motion for a few minutes and switch to the backward direction for the next set.

I would say that this routine is effective for kids to strengthen their core muscles and improve their endurance.

Pro Tip:

You can couple the leg movements along with arm movements to increase the intensity of the core exercise to strengthen the muscles. 

Superman Pose

Have your kids fly like a superhero 🦸‍♀️ in the form of a Superman core exercise that is easy and fun to do.

Steps to Do:

  • Make your kids lie down on the floor on their stomachs.
  • Then, instruct them to raise their arms, legs, and upper body off the floor, balancing the weight of the body on the stomach area for the Superman position.

Pro Tip:

You can place a stuffed toy on your kids’ backs and instruct them to hold the toy in place while doing the Superman pose as a challenge. 

Rocking Egg

The rocking egg 🥚 exercise is an effective method for kids to improve their core strength and is also fun to do.

Steps to Do:

  • Make your kids lie on their backs on the floor in a relaxed way.
  • Then, guide them to bring their knees and hold them to the chest.
  • They can then wrap their arms around their knees and lift their head off the floor.
  • Kids can balance their bodies with the help of their backs and rock their bodies gently back and forth.

Core Exercises with Games and Simple Pieces of Equipment

Pull a Blanket with Objects

You can place a few objects or one heavy object on a blanket and instruct your kids to pull across the room as a core exercise. 

I recommend placing objects like a few of their toys 🧸, favorite books 📚, pillows, or anything else that can add to the weight of the blanket.

This might be difficult for kids initially, but this activity helps them strengthen their core muscles.

Walk on a Tightrope

You can make your kids walk along a rope while maintaining their balance on the thin line and trying to complete the distance as a core exercise, which requires a lot of muscle control.

I recommend you place a rope 🪢 on the floor between two points of your home and make your kids walk from one end to the other. 

To make the activity harder, 

  • You can place an object along the line for kids to bend and touch before moving forward. 
  • You can also make them walk heel-to-toe instead of walking normally.

Pro Tip:

You can also place a masking tape on the floor between two points of the room in place of a rope.

Remove Stickers from Shoes

My son enjoyed doing this activity, which involved stickers.

This is an easy and fun exercise that can help kids work on their core strength and improve their ability to balance. 

Steps to Do:

  • Make your kids wear a pair of shoes 👟 on which you can stick 5-6 stickers on each shoe. 
  • Get them to stand straight in one place with their legs together. 
  • Now, for the fun part of the activity – kids can bend and remove the stickers one by one from each of the shoes alternating between the sides of the feet. 

Play a Game of Twister

Twister, as you might know, is a classic game played at parties. It involves a lot of physical movements and is so much fun for kids to play.

In this game, the players place their hands and feet on the plastic mat spread on the floor with circles ⭕️ of different colors. The players have to place their hands and feet on these various colored circles depending on the action the spinner shows after spinning it.

This game is a great way to pass time and an effective core exercise for kids.

Knee Lifts on a Chair

You won’t believe how effective this exercise can be for kids, and a chair 🪑 is enough for kids to do a core exercise.

Steps to Do:

  • Make your kids sit on a chair with their backs straight.
  • Instruct them to lift one leg at a time and hold for a few seconds with their knees bent.
  • They can repeat this with both legs while sitting on the chair.

Bounce on a Hop Ball

Hop balls are fun for kids to play with, and it allows them to exercise their core muscles without them even knowing that they are exercising. 

Make your kids sit on the hop ball ⚽️ and bounce slowly on it as a core exercise that also helps them develop their ability to balance, improves hand strength, and activates the muscles in their spine.

Balloon Kicks

Make your kids hold a balloon 🎈 tied to one end of a string hanging in the air. You can get them to gently kick the balloon with their feet while standing.

Another variation kids can do is to kick the balloon while doing the crab walk, which makes it a bit more difficult.

Skate with Paper Plates

If you have paper plates lying at home, you can let your kids skate using the plates 🍽️ as a base for a fun game. 

Make your kids place each foot in the middle of a paper plate. Now, get the kids to try and slide their feet by skating with the paper plates.

Skating with paper plates can make for an exciting race across the room and can also be added to obstacle courses.

Pro Tip:

I sometimes add a time limit for my son to beat by racing with the paper plates across a distance.

Core Exercises with Playground Equipment

These core exercises for kids can be done in a nearby playground or park with the equipment placed there.

Swing on a Swing 

If your kids love swinging on a swing as much as my son does, you can let them do it as a core exercise. 

This simple act of your kids sitting on a swing set, holding the ropes, and swinging back and forth helps them improve their hands and arm strength.  

My son plays on the swing in the park near our house for a few minutes, and it helps him develop his core strength.

Climb a Slide Ladder

After a few rounds of sliding down the slide 🛝, the favorite part of most kids, you can get them to climb up and down the ladder attached to the playground slide a few times.

This is a fun way for kids to work out their arms and legs and strengthen and stabilize their core muscles. 

You can also do this exercise with a ladder at home instead of the playground slide.

Knee Lifts on the Monkey Bar

My son’s favorite playground equipment is the monkey bar, where he loves spending all his playground time playing. 

You can make your kids hold on to the monkey bar firmly with their arms and hang on to it. They can try to lift their knees slowly upward for an effective core exercise. 

Swing on a Disc Swing

Apart from the regular swing set in the playground, disc swings are fun for kids to play with, and my son loves them.

You can make your kids sit on a disc swing and instruct them to keep their ankles crossed. 

They can hold on to the rope and swing in various directions – forward, backward, and sideways.

This activity will be exciting for kids and allow them to exercise their core muscles in the process.

Benefits of Core Exercises

Core exercises, as I have stated before, are beneficial for our kids in many ways. Here, I will list a few of the benefits core exercises have to offer kids –

Develops Gross Motor Skills

Core exercises can help kids develop their gross motor skills and fine motor skills as they lay the foundation for further skill development. 

Gross motor skills involve the use of large muscles of the body for strength and coordination. 

Examples of activities for which gross motor skills are necessary are sitting, crawling, jumping, throwing a ball, walking up and down the stairs, and so on.

Develops Fine Motor Skills

Core exercises also help kids in developing their fine motor skills after they have worked on their gross motor skills.

Fine motor skills involve the use of small muscles of the body for precision and control. 

Examples of activities for which fine motor skills are necessary include writing, tracing, drawing, cutting with scissors, tying shoelaces, and so on.

Improves Balance and Stability 

Core exercises are an efficient way for kids to develop their ability to balance ⚖️ and work on the stability of the core muscles. 

I would say it is essential for kids to have balance and stability to perform everyday tasks.

These exercises help kids strengthen the core part of the body, which is also the central portion of the body and includes the hips, stomach, lower back, and pelvis.

Improves Posture

Core exercises can help kids improve and straighten their posture 🧘🏽‍♀️. Kids unknowingly spend a lot of time with their backs bent, and this leads to them developing a bad posture as the years go by. 

I believe that core exercises can help kids change their posture and straighten their back muscles. Correct posture also helps promote good health in your kids, reduces the risk of lifelong injuries, and also enhances their self-esteem and confidence. 

Reduces Injuries 

Another benefit of practicing core exercises is for kids to reduce the chances of injuries.

Sometimes, our kids can suffer injuries 🤕 from performing even basic everyday tasks if they have a weak core. In my opinion, if our kids have a strong core developed, they can avoid possible injuries 🩹, muscle strains, joint sprains, and fractures 🩼.

Enhances Sports Performance 

If your kids love playing sports as much as my son does – developing the core muscles can help kids improve their performance in various sports 🏏.

Physical movements like kicking, jumping, running, pushing, pulling, swinging, and so on require a transfer of energy between the lower body and the upper body, which happens through the core or the trunk of the body.

Conclusion

These core exercises have helped my son strengthen 💪🏼 his core muscles. I’m sure you will find the same results with your kids after consistently practicing a few of the above-listed exercises. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this article on core exercises for your kids and hope you found some ideas for them to try.

Please let me know in the comments if you have any more core exercise ideas to share or any questions for me to answer – I would love to hear your feedback! 😁

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