Before kids can start playing sports or stretching, they first need to warm-up. The most effective warm-up routines for kids are simple and easy for the kids to learn. They set the mood for a fun practice session or game. The benefits of warming up include preventing injury and better performance due to the increase of blood flow to the kids’ muscles. Other benefits include enhanced range of motion and better temperature regulation.
A good warm-up exercise consists of light and moderately light aerobics, which gets the child's body active, but not tired. A gentle and slow version of the sport the kids will be playing is a good idea. They can also jog or brisk- walk if they will be racing.
7-Step Warm-Up Routine
Come up with a suitable kids’ warm-up routine. The routine should last about ten minutes. Here are some essential steps that you can use as a guide:
- Begin with some slow and simple forward movements
- Speed up these movements and add impact, for example, by jumping
- Add some zig-zags or angles
- Move from side-to-side
- Add some stretches
- After warming the muscle warming, do some static stretches
- Incorporate some drills and skill games related to the child’s sport
Types of Warm-Up Exercises
- High Knees: Ask the kids to get the kids to lift their knees high in the air while walking. Increase the intensity by throwing in arm movements such as an elbow or hand touch or by turning a brisk walk into a jog.
- Dancing: Let the kids dance however they want to to the music they enjoy. For groups, create a simple choreography to a song they love and make it a pre-game routine.
- Butt Kicks: This is like high knees done in reverse. Let them exaggerate their jogging steps by reaching one foot toward their rear. This is easier to perform when the kids jog in the same place.
- Walking Lunges: Have the kids take a big step forward with one foot and then lower themselves so that one knee is at 90 degrees and the back leg is stretched out. Then, have them take a big step forward with their back leg to do the next lunge. The lunges are alternated as the kids move forward.
- Arm Swings or Circles: Get the kids to stretch out their arms at their sides and rotate them first in tiny circles, and then gradually larger ones. They can also swing their arms forwards and backwards from the shoulder.
- Jumping Jacks: When the kids are ready for a higher intensity warm-up, jumping jacks can be added into the routine. They involve both the legs and arms to add impact to the warm-up.
- Side Hops: Have the kids jump from side to side while keeping their feet together. They can also hop from one foot to the other.
- Grapevine: Ask the kids to jog or walk sideways while crossing one foot in front of the other foot.