16 Fun & Easy Core Exercises for Kids

Kids exercise is essential for their physical and mental health. It’s also an important part of building strong bones, muscles, and joints at a young age. These exercises will help strengthen your child’s core in no time!

The “get to know you games for teens” is a blog post that includes 16 fun and easy core exercises for kids. The blog post also has some activities for parents to do with their children.

Kids may improve their fine motor skills by doing core exercises. In newborns, core strength begins to grow! As a kid grows through the toddler, preschool, and school-age years, his or her strength and stability develops.



As an occupational therapist, I was often allocated a new kid to my caseload for fine motor skills. They may find it difficult to use scissors, feed themselves, paint, or write with letters or shapes.  

And, although the difficulty with writing or tying shoes is obvious to everybody, what isn’t is that part of their fine motor delay might be due to a lack of core strength.  

Yes, their whole essence. So to say, their abs.  

However, core strength has an impact on a range of other elements of development, including gross motor skills, eating, and school performance! 

Furthermore, more children than ever before have weak core strength.  

Because this is such an essential topic, I asked Amy Hathaway from Develop Learn Grow, a fellow OT who specializes in core strength and workouts, to explain down all you need to know. She’ll also show you 16 simple exercises to help your youngster strengthen their core! 


What Are the Best Ways for Children to Develop Core Strength?

Good core strength is the foundation for gross and fine motor development. It’s a crucial foundation for children. 

When babies play on the floor, they begin to build core strength. Rolling, resting on the side, and reaching for those little toes are all possibilities during floor time. Tummy time develops fine motor skills in the arms and hands while strengthening muscles for sitting.  

With extended floor play, side sitting, and crawling, older infants and toddlers build adequate core strength. They climb and move around all over the place as they get larger, both inside and outdoors.

On uneven terrain, miniature bikes, and climbing platforms, toddlers and preschoolers learn to move their bodies. They’re great on swings and playground equipment. 

On addition, for a fine motor exercise, these young children may sit upright in a little chair. They can also remain still and sketch a painting on an easel or play with magnets on the refrigerator.

In order to accomplish increasingly complicated motions on the playground and in physical education, older children need adequate core stability. Kids also want a strong core so that they can sit comfortably for learning tasks and fine motor exercises. 


What is the definition of core strength in children?

The muscles of the core, or trunk, are involved in core strength. The muscles on the back, belly, and sides of the trunk make up the core muscles.

During play and fine motor skills, core stability supports greater use of the shoulders. 

Many of the parents with whom I’ve worked have expressed their child’s difficulty with tummy time. Their infant was upset and wailed. Or, due of older siblings or pets, the parent didn’t believe it was safe to leave their newborn on the floor.

To keep the newborns secure, the parents place them in a bouncer, saucer, or stroller. It’s very understandable! 

These kids, on the other hand, lacked core strength and stability. I needed to employ core strength exercises in newborns and toddlers as an occupational therapist.  

But the workouts don’t end there! I’ve had, and will continue to have, preschool and school-aged children that need improved core stability.  

As an occupational therapist, I am responsible for training teachers and parents on how to develop core strength. During therapy sessions, I address it… However, it benefits children more when they have opportunity to build their bodies on a daily basis.     



What Are the Benefits of Core Exercises for Children?

Core exercises help to develop and stabilize the body, allowing the arms and hands to perform more efficiently. The arms and hands may gain strength and stability if the core stays motionless and the body is erect.   

During balancing duties, a strong core maintains the body motionless. Children are able to move quickly and gracefully. 

They are able to do everyday duties without becoming exhausted. Children can sit in a chair or play on the floor without continually shifting positions or supporting their heads. 

Strong muscles at the top of the back, neck, and shoulders are required. This encourages children to sit on a chair with proper posture.  

They are able to sit straight for long periods of time without becoming weary. Again, they did not wiggle or lay their head in their hands.

Fine motor development is aided by the upright posture and shoulder strength. When a child’s core, shoulders, and forearms remain motionless, they can utilize their hands more effectively (are stable.) 

This enables the hands to be powerful. It allows the fingers to move as they were intended!

In order to breathe properly, children also need adequate core strength and posture. Children breathe better when they sit erect and with proper posture. This increases the amount of oxygen delivered to their brains! More oxygen equals better focus and concentration!

I’ve witnessed a growing demand for core strength workouts in children throughout the course of my profession.

Increased usage of technology and screens has had a significant (and unfavorable) influence on motor development. More screen time equals less hand-on play. In addition, less active play time is spent outside. 


Kids’ Core Activities and Exercises

First, I’ll go through some basic exercises that you’ll need a partner for and/or some equipment for. Then I’ll show you some workouts that don’t need any equipment. 

When I work with parents and teachers, I strive to come up with activities that are simple to incorporate into daily routines. I understand how hectic life can be… adding new activities is always a challenge!

I believe you’ll be astonished at how simple these strength workouts are for your children. The majority of them are games. They may also be done as a play activity. 

It doesn’t seem like an afterthought after you’ve made them a regular part of your day!

Some of the activities have the added advantage of improving fine motor skills. They aid in grip development by strengthening hand muscles. When it comes to learning to form letters and numbers correctly, good posture and appropriate pencil grip development are essential.

More significantly, several of the activities indicated here have sensory advantages! They provide the body deep pressure input as well as a lot of muscular effort. 

This stimulation is beneficial to the brain and neurological system. For additional ideas (and a free printable!) see 25 Brain Breaks for Kids – Increase Focus and Attention.

Here’s a list of the 16 core activities you may do with your children…



Exercises for Core Strength that Require a Peer, Adult, or Equipment

1. Wheelbarrow Walk — Children “walk” on their hands while holding their ankles. If your children are having trouble, keep your hands closer to their knees. As they “walk” on their hands, make sure they don’t twist their core.

2. Twister – The core muscles benefit from the stretching and retention of body postures. Hands are also strengthened by pushing through open palms.  

3. Bouncing on a Therapy Ball while sitting – This stimulates and “wakes up” the muscles that run down the spine. Rocking side to side or back and forth also helps to develop the core muscles.

4. Bouncing on a Hop Ball – This is an excellent core and balance workout for children. Plus, the youngsters aren’t even aware that they’re exercising! It helps with hand strength and stimulates muscles down the spine! 

5. Swinging — Simply sitting on a swing and holding on helps to strengthen your hands and arms. It works the core and gives the sensory systems a lot of movement input.

6. Crab Walk with Balloon Kicks – I adore the crab walk! When there isn’t a lot of room, I have the kids get into the crab posture and merely elevate their legs. A game and a target are often required by children. A punch balloon or a balloon on a string will do the trick perfectly!

7. Scooter on Belly – Having youngsters lay on their tummies on a scooter is a great technique to strengthen their back and shoulders. They move by placing their hands on the ground. They must, however, maintain their feet in the air such that their arms and upper back are the only ones performing the job.

8. Shoe Stickers – Stick 5 stickers on each shoe. Take one sticker off the left foot, then the right, and so on. This strengthens and balances the core abs. 


No-Equipment Core Stability Exercises for Children

9. Superman – Have the children lay on their stomachs on the floor with their legs and arms straight out in front of them. Only the stomach is on the ground! The lower back curves somewhat. 

10. Rocking Egg – Children lay on their backs with their legs drawn up to their chest. They embrace the knees and raise the head off the floor. The lower back is the only part of the body that is balanced on the floor.

11. Military Crawl — This is an excellent upper-body and core-strengthening exercise. Kids lay on their bellies and use their elbows to drag their bodies around. It’s simple to include this into an obstacle course.

12. Crab Walk – This posture demands a great deal of coordination and strength in children. The palms of the hands and the soles of the feet are flat on the floor (belly up to the ceiling, bottoms lifted off the floor.)

13. Bear Walk – In this stance, youngsters must extend their arms and legs so that their bottom is in the air. This requires greater muscular effort! Tell them to be calm, baby bears, and to stop roaring so loudly! 

14. Leg Scissors – Children sit on the floor with their legs straight out in front of them. They take a step back and lean into their hands (arms straight behind the body.) Lifting both legs and crossing them over and beneath each other requires ab strength. 

15. Vertical Surface Activities — A simple approach to strengthen your core and shoulders. This is critical for wrist stability while performing fine motor activities.  

16. Tummy Time – Tummy time is essential for children of all ages! For play and learning, children should be encouraged to lie on their stomachs. Another simple approach to strengthen your core.


The EASIEST Way to Get Your Kids to Do Core Exercises

The final two exercises on the list are the simplest strategies to begin strengthening and stabilizing your core. When I’m assisting parents and teachers, I normally start with these two. 

I produced a one-page PDF to make things easier for you. The handout explains why vertical surfaces and activities on the floor are vital.  

It explains how to adjust the location of an activity in a variety of ways. Your children’s ability to play and/or work in a variety of situations aids in the development of crucial fundamental skills. They also work on strengthening and stabilizing the shoulders, arms, and wrists. Fine motor skills are required for success in fine motor tasks!

You’ll be astonished at how easy it is to switch positions while playing or doing schoolwork. Kids won’t even realize they’re “working out”!  

Get your FREE vertical surfaces and floor exercises to increase core stability printable by clicking here.



AMY HATHAWAY is a pediatric occupational therapist with 20 years of experience.  She is passionate about child development, learning, and sensory processing.  Amy created DEVELOP LEARN GROW – a site that offers tools and tips for parents & teachers to help all children thrive.  Amy shares simple OT strategies and activities to address important skills that are the foundation for learning.  She is married with three children and works full time as a pediatric OT.

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