Roberta Moran, the Athletic Director at Kent Place School in Summit, New Jersey, which educates girls from K-12, said that the shutdown of organized sports could mark the return of more “old-school” games for young kids: bike rides, short jogs, wall-ball, shooting baskets in the driveway, running hills at a local park. Going outside to exercise is fine as long as other people aren’t close by, says Carolyn Cannuscio, who heads up research at the Center for Public Health Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania.
For kids who may not have access to yards or parks, Hip Hop Public Health offers in-house alternatives. The online site promotes healthy eating and exercise through music and teaches hip hop dance moves to kids of all ages.
GoNoodle is another free online site that engages young children with videos and games. The site describes its games as “designed to tire kids out.”
The Physical Education Network offers a variety of games and resources for K-5 that include yoga, rhythm and movement, and mindfulness.
Girls on the Run of Southeastern Michigan, which ordinarily meets with grammar school girls outside to encourage running and self-esteem, created an in-home exercise program for girls and their parents.
The Persil Wild Explorers App offers 100 outdoor exploring activities of varying lengths for children and families. Some of these are geared for right outside the home.
For parents with patience, Monkey Spot Scavenger Hunts help kids organize and carry out at-home scavenger hunts.
Author and exercise physiologist Len Saunders recommends sets of ordinary calisthenics. Parents could clear out space in a basement or driveway, arrange “stations” for different exercises, and then set a timer for each activity. How many push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, jump-rope turns, burpees, and step-ups can a child carry out in 45 seconds? How about a minute? To keep the exercises challenging, change the amount of time at different stations, add in more exercises, and increase the number of circuits.
“The 7-minute workout app and The New York Times six-minute workouts are both really good options for getting in a decent workout without needing much space or time,” said Maya Vuchic, a high-school senior and runner. “High intensity interval training in general, be it with a jump rope or running in place or strength exercises, can be highly beneficial without miles of road to run on.” Videos of such workouts are available online.
For a more tailored approach, the app JeFit builds personalized workout programs of all kinds, including many to be done at home without equipment.
Freeletics offers training programs at all levels and connects athletes with a digital coach.
Pocket Yoga is an app for yoga enthusiasts, to be done anywhere including alone at home.
Down Dog does much the same, but adds high-intensity interval workouts and seven-minute sessions.
In the absence of symptoms of the virus, going to the gym is still an option, according to Albert Ko, the chair of the department of epidemiology at Yale. In an interview for The Atlantic, Ko advises visiting when the gym isn’t packed, wiping down all equipment before and after use, and washing hands before and after exercise.
Wondering how kids’ sports organizations on the national and state level are reacting? The Aspen Institute Project Play, a Washington-based think tank that keeps a close eye on such matters, has set-up a page to monitor these developments.