Running Exercises for Kids

Running Exercises for Kids
Pediatricians and coaches do not recommend purposeful running in children younger than five years old because their growing bodies cannot withstand the pressure this activity places on their young joints. However, starting an exercise routine at an early age fosters a lifelong love of fitness and staves off childhood obesity and obesity-related illnesses. Physical activities also help cognitive development and improve sleep. The various running exercises for kids incorporate physical activity and the fun of childhood games.


Tag is a staple of almost every person's childhood. This running exercise for kids entails one person being designated as the person who chases everyone else. The other players run away to keep from being tagged. Children can play this running game for hours, getting a great cardiovascular workout while spending time with friends.

Musical Chairs

Musical chairs can be performed inside and outside. Place one chair less than the children playing this game in a circle. An adult plays music as the group runs around the chairs. When the music stops, everyone tries sitting in the chairs. The one left standing steps aside, and the adult removes one chair. This running activity helps coordination and agility.

Octopus Tag

Octopus tag is a running game that combines the classic games tag and "red rover." Adults create a rectangle that serves as the ocean for this running exercise. Children who represent fish stand on one end of the ocean and the king or queen octopus stands in the middle of the triangle. The royal says, "I am the Octopus, queen (king) of all motion. Let's see if you can cross my ocean." As the fish try sneaking across the ocean, the king or queen tries tagging them. Tagged children become seaweed. The last child standing becomes the new king or queen.

Duck, Duck, Goose

"Duck, duck, goose" is a classic game for children in which children sit in a circle facing one another, except for one. The sole child walks around the room, gently tapping the others on the head, saying "duck." When the child says "goose," the tapped child chases the tapper around the circle. If the tapper makes it to the goose's spot without being tagged, the goose becomes the tapper. However, if the tapper gets tagged, he continues until he makes it to one of the geese's spots.

Contact Sports

Contact sports like baseball, soccer, basketball and touch football can adapt to fit the ages of most kids older than five-years-old. These running activities improve coordination, balance and cooperation in young children. According to research conducted by the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State University, children who learn to work in a group adapt to school faster and become more socially adept.

Article Written By Cicely A. Richard

Based in Tucson, Ariz., Cicely A. Richard has been writing since 1996. Her articles have been published in the “Arizona Daily Star” newspaper and “ForeWord Magazine.” Richard earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and journalism from Louisiana State University. .

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