Playground Workout for Parents and Kids

How to Do a Playground Workout

Mother and two kids playing in park
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Ethel Baumberg is a fitness pro and kids’ fitness expert who co-created a learning-based movement curriculum for preschoolers called FLYAROO Fitness. She created this playground workout for parents to do while kids play. Or, if they'd like, kids can join in! Each circuit contains options for beginning exercisers, advanced athletes, and parent-child pairs. Kids may prefer to jump in and out of the workout, spending some time on the playground equipment, and that's fine. Position yourself where you can keep an eye on them and keep going!

Start your workout with a warm-up. To warm up on your own, do 10 jumping jacks, followed by 30 toe taps (tap feet high on a bench or step, alternating sides). Repeat this series three times in total.

If you're warming up with your child, make it more fun and play a game of hot lava to prepare your muscles for your workout. Use your imagination and make your way across and through the playground equipment while you avoid touching the hot lava (otherwise known as the ground).

Playground Workout Circuit 1

Woman doing pull-up on outdoor bar
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"The best way to get through the whole circuit is to alternate between lower body and upper body exercises," says trainer Ethel Baumberg. "We also focus on core and aerobics. It’s important to start with exercises that are most difficult and take the most energy from your body." Timing exercises instead of counting reps helps you get the most out of your playground workout.

Upper body: Pull-ups

  • Beginner: Hanging hold from pull-up bar or monkey bars for 10 to 20 seconds
  • Advanced: As many pull-ups as you can do in 30 seconds
  • Flyaroo (with child): Pull-ups while child climbs across the monkey bars

Lower body: Squat jumps

  • Beginner: Squat jumps on small step or on flat ground, 30 seconds
  • Advanced: Squat jumps on bench or high step, 45 to 60 seconds
  • Flyaroo: Squat jumps while child practices high jumps

Core: Plank hold on swing

  • Beginner: Rest your elbows on the swing and hold your body in a straight line, feet on the ground, for 10 to 20 seconds
  • Advanced: Hold your feet on the swing, place your hands on the ground, and tuck your knees into your chest for advanced plank, 30 to 45 seconds
  • Flyaroo: Plank on the swing while child swings next to you, crisscrossing legs to exercise core muscles

Aerobics: Burpees

  • Beginner: Burpees with small jump, 30 seconds
  • Advanced: Burpees with high jump onto a step, 30 to 45 seconds
  • Flyaroo: Burpees for both you and your child

After you complete this circuit, continue to the next round.

Playground Workout: Circuit 2

Woman holding plank position on swing
Mark DeLeeuw / Getty Images

The second round follows the same pattern as the first, so you work your way from upper body to lower to core to aerobics. Trainer Ethel Baumberg offers options for beginners and more advanced exercisers. Instead of counting reps, time your exercises.

Upper body: Push-ups

  • Beginner: Push-ups with hands on seat or back of a bench, 30 seconds
  • Advanced: Push-ups with feet on a swing (see photo) or on a bench, 30 to 45 seconds
  • Flyaroo (with child): Push-ups for both you and your child

Lower body: Lunges

  • Beginner: Lunges with back foot on the edge of the slide, 15 seconds each side
  • Advanced: Lunges with back foot on a higher slide, bench, or step, 30 seconds each
  • Flyaroo: Lunges while child climbs up and down the steps of the slide (can slide down the slide too!)

Core: V-Hold

  • Beginner: Sit with your body in the shape of a V (arms and legs up at an angle) on the edge of a flat surface, 30 seconds
  • Advanced: Sit with your body in the shape of a V on the edge of a flat surface, then tuck knees into chest, 45 to 60 seconds
  • Flyaroo: V-hold for both you and your child

Aerobics: Mountain climbers

  • Beginner: Mountain climbers, 30 seconds
  • Advanced: Mountain Climbers with alternate feet jumping up to align with hands
  • Flyaroo: Mountain climbers for both you and your child

Playground Workout: Cool Down with Yoga

Woman and child doing yoga outside
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After your playground circuit workout, Flyaroo Fitness founder and trainer Ethel Baumberg recommends some parent-child yoga as a cool-down.

For beginners, do a modified sun salutation; repeat 3 times.

  1. Downward-facing dog: hands and feet on the ground, hips raised like an upside-down V
  2. Plank pose: top of a push-up
  3. Chaturanga: bend elbows to 90 degrees and lower to the ground
  4. Cobra pose: elbows and forearms on the floor, head and chest up; then lift into upward-facing dog (see photo), with pelvis off the ground
  5. Back to downward-facing dog

For a more advanced yoga series, Baumberg suggests:

  1. Downward dog
  2. Three-legged dog: Lift one leg up in the air; call this "wag your tail" for kids
  3. Flip your dog (backbend with one arm raised)
  4. Downward dog
  5. Three-legged dog and flipped dog on opposite side
  6. Downward dog
  7. Plank
  8. Chaturanga
  9. Cobra
  10. Upward-facing dog
  11. Downward dog

 Thank you to Ethel Baumberg of Flyaroo Fitness for sharing this playground fitness workout!

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