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5 Workouts You Can Squeeze in While Cleaning Up Your Kid’s Toys

Toys. No matter how many you buy for your kids, more seem to appear out of nowhere. Our kids have an endless supply, and they always manage to scatter themselves all over no matter how often we pick them up. Since we spend so much time picking up toys, why not turn it into a workout? You can check “exercise” off of your to-do list without ever stepping foot in a gym.

As it turns out, incorporating regular movement into your day is actually better for your health than exercising for an hour at the gym and then being sedentary the rest of the day. This is great news for parents. We have so much to get done every day and with most of these tasks, there’s an opportunity to incorporate short bursts of movement, which does really add up.

Without further ado, we’ve got toys to clean up.

1. The Squat Pick Up

IMAGE SOURCE: JENNIFER JOHNSON
IMAGE SOURCE: JENNIFER JOHNSON

This is a good one to do when you have to pick up toys from the ground and put them away on a higher shelf.

To Do:

  • Squat to pick up the toy.
  • Stand up to put the toy away.

Repeat as needed.

Tips:

  • This exercise involves getting into a low resting squat position, which can be challenging if your body isn’t used to moving this way.
  • It can be easier for beginners and those unfamiliar with this movement to start with feet wider apart, toes pointed out slightly. This creates a wider base of support and typically helps with form until you are able to move your feet closer together with feet pointed forward.
  • Try keeping your chest up throughout the movement.

2. The Staggered Stance Pick Up

IMAGE SOURCE: JENNIFER JOHNSON
IMAGE SOURCE: JENNIFER JOHNSON

The staggered stance pick up is another option when you need to get a toy from the floor and stand up to put it away. This exercise is a lunge movement.

To Do:

  • Stagger your feet about hip-width apart, feet pointed forward.
  • Keep chest up and lower yourself straight down. Your back heel will come off the floor and your back knee should come forward.
  • At the bottom of the movement, pick up the toy and then stand straight up.

Repeat as needed.

Tips:

  • If balance is an issue for you, you can stagger your feet wider than hip-width to give yourself a more stable base of support.

3. The Staggered Stance Walk

IMAGE SOURCE: JENNIFER JOHNSON
IMAGE SOURCE: JENNIFER JOHNSON

The Staggered Stance Walk is a variation on The Staggered Stance Pick Up you just learned. Instead of standing up each time, in this exercise once you lower yourself down — you stay there, rising up only slightly to bring the back foot forward.

To Do:

  • Stagger your feet about hip-width apart, feet pointed forward.
  • Keep chest up and lower yourself straight down.
  • At the bottom of the movement, you’ll most likely need to rise up slightly so you can bring your back foot forward into a staggered stance with the opposite foot in front.
  • Continue walking in this low staggered stance position, picking up toys and putting them away.

4. The Duck Walk

IMAGE SOURCE: JENNIFER JOHNSON
IMAGE SOURCE: JENNIFER JOHNSON

This next exercise is a fun one to do anytime, especially when your kids are old enough to join you. Every time I tell my 2-year-old that we’re going to pick up toys like a duck, he laughs and helps me clean up.

To Do:

  • Position feet hip-width or slightly wider, with toes pointed slightly out.
  • Lower yourself down, keeping chest lifted.
  • Stay in this low position and walk forward, alternating right foot then left, picking up toys and putting them away as you go.

5. The Crawl

IMAGE SOURCE: JENNIFER JOHNSON
IMAGE SOURCE: JENNIFER JOHNSON

This is another one that’s fun for kids, too. Sometimes I can get my son to crawl next to me, but most of the time when he sees me get into this position, he thinks it’s an invitation to climb on my back and go for a ride, making the exercise even more challenging for me. There are many crawl variations that could work when picking up toys, but I’ll only cover one.

To Do:

  • Get into an all-fours position, with hands below shoulders and knees below hips.
  • Exhale, engage your core, and lift your knees slightly off the ground.
  • Crawl forward, moving left arm with right leg and right arm with left leg. Try to keep your head up, at a higher level than your butt.
  • Pick up toys and put them away as you go.

Tips:

  • If this exercise is too challenging for you initially, a good beginner’s variation is to keep your knees on the ground. If you have a child riding on your back, keeping knees on the ground is often a better (and safer) choice.
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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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