Are you looking for fun ideas to keep your family active during the holiday break?

When pandemic safety precautions relocated kids from the classroom to the kitchen table, parents scrambled to create a thriving home-based academic environment. This, along with balancing new remote work roles and family obligations, has been no easy task. And now, with schools on holiday recess, parents are once again faced with a new obstacle: keeping the kids entertained.

Since COVID-19 concerns are forcing us to limit interactions with friends and family this holiday, you’ll need fun, festive family events to keep the kids happy and active during the winter break. If you’re looking for indoor inspiration, try these easy exercises to help engage your kids while also enjoying quality time together.

Bust a move. When you make exercise exciting, something wonderful happens: It stops feeling like a workout. There is no truer example of this phenomenon than dancing. With the internet at your fingertips, you can hop on YouTube to learn TikTok dance routines or make up your own unique moves for a post-dinner dance off. Use your imagination by including lip-syncing and costumes.

Obstacle course. Transform your home to make it look like the set of hit TV show American Ninja Warrior. Design stations around your house where children and adults can compete for fun prizes like staying up a half hour past bedtime or getting a treat. These activity areas may include jumping rope for 30 seconds or using your hands to play tennis with a balloon. If the weather permits, bring some of the stations outside for a relay race, egg toss, or a wheelbarrow race.

Word workout. If holiday movie marathons are an annual family tradition, make it fun by adding a little fitness challenge to the mix. Every time a character says one of the following popular words, perform the corresponding movement:

‘Merry Christmas’ = three push-ups

Start in a high plank with your shoulders stacked over your hands and spine straight. With your elbows tucked close to your ribs, lower your body down toward the floor. Hold for two counts then push through your palms to return to the starting position. For beginners, this can also be done from the knees.

‘Santa’ = 10 jumping jacks

Briskly pump your arms and legs, landing lightly on the balls of your feet with each repetition.

‘Presents’ = five sit-ups

From a supine position, bend your knees to plant your feet firmly on the floor. Bend at your elbows and let your fingertips graze your ears. Using your abdominal muscles, pull your torso up off the ground until your body forms a V shape. Hold at the top for a count then slowly lower back down. Avoid pulling at the back of your head as this will place dangerous pressure on your neck. To lighten the load, try keeping your feet elevated as you go.

Do five sit-ups every time someone says the word "presents."
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Do five sit-ups every time someone says the word "presents."

‘Reindeer’ = eight squats

With your body weight in your heels, hinge back at your hips to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold for two counts then push through your heels to stand.

Do eight squats every time you hear the word "reindeer."
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Do eight squats every time you hear the word "reindeer."

‘December’ = 20-second plank

Evenly distribute your weight between your forearms and toes. Your shoulders should be stacked over elbows, hips in line with spine, and your gaze slightly forward. Keep your abs engaged and remember to breathe throughout the exercise.

For a healthier home, make fitness a fun family affair.

Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach in South Jersey. To learn more about her virtual training program, go to ashleyblakefitness.com.