Back to School Workout Ideas: From Toddlers to Teens to You!

Back to school equals “back-to-reality,” and for the Powell Pack, that means three kiddos in school and all four in various sports (cue the eye roll and extra long sigh). Between running little Rubes to dance, Marley to gymnastics, Matix to basketball, Cash to jiujitsu, parent/teacher conferences, piano lessons, and music classes (I’m out of breath just listing these), carving out time to work out feels nearly impossible most days. And I know we’re not alone in this either. My readers (you included) have written in many times asking for advice on how to break the trend of breaking their family’s fitness routines during this time of year.

The American Heart Association recommends that adults get 30 minutes of exercise a day and kids get a whopping 60 minutes. Might seem like a daunting task (or should I say CHORE), but luckily, Chris and I have mastered the “how-to” on this and often display tips on our social media channels for the world to see. My two fave family workouts are shared below—in video form—to make it easy for you to mimic in your own home, getting your kids of all ages (toddlers to teens) and entire family off the couch and moving together.

Back to School Workout numero uno is SO good, in fact, that Good Morning America reached out, asking if Chris could share it with their audience. In true Chris fashion, he led a super fun, family-friendly circuit pulled straight from our own family in our own garage! Behold…our Back to School Fitness Circuit.

Yes, it it true that moving through various exercises at a fast pace will (1) get the heart rate up, (2) get many different muscle groups firing, and (3) challenge your skills in an incredible way. But the best part about our circuit workout is that it keeps it fun…or better put, it “gamifies” fitness (in other words, makes a game out of it!). Our kiddos LOVE this, especially the timed component to bring a whole new level of fun and competition. And PS…did you SEE all 4 kids participating?? Win-win. Ages 2-11 just in our family alone, and more often than not, this circuit is being completed by our entire neighborhood full of kids AND their parents.

To create your own Back to School Fitness Circuit, follow the steps below:

What you’ll need:

Exercise mat
Stability ball
Medicine ball
2 orange cones
A roll of tape
Agility ladder (or tape will work to create your own)
1-2 buckets
5-6 tennis balls
2 boxes (or a couple of benches/chairs)
Soccer ball
Whatever else your creative brain can come up with to make it fun!
*This is an extensive list for ideas, but if you only have one or two of these items, or even just tape, get creative with objects around the home.

What you’ll do:

2 x Over/Unders (climb over an obstacle—like a bench, then go under another—like a chair)
10 Push Ups
10-20 Walk the Lines (backward, forward, sideways “crossovers”)
10 Sit Ups
Fast Feet (through an agility ladder or tape on the ground)
10 Ball Squats (squat down to a stationary ball—you may bounce off of the ball at the bottom)
10 Ball Slams (pick up the ball and slam it!)
10 Box Jumps (jump onto a 12″-15” box then step down)
1 Successful Ball Toss (throw a tennis ball into a bucket from 10 feet away)
10 Cone Touch Shuttle Sprints (side-to-side shuffle)
Kick one soccer ball through the cones (soccer balls lined up and cones)
*Lots of ideas here—pick 5-10 of your favorites to build your own course!

Sprint to the finish and keep your times for reference. You and your kids can compete against each other or yourselves.

Another Powell Pack fave way to get our kiddos moving is through an oldie, but a goodie, and if you’ve followed me for awhile, you’ve seen us play this one a time or two. Drumroll, please…….Deck of Cards!

Yes, we are once again “gamifying” our workouts to keep them fun! A great component of this fitness game is that in addition to the classic way to play, you can actually theme the workout for different holidays or events (we did this for Thanksgiving last year!). Here’s a quick vid to show how amazingly fun it is…although burpees are always fun, right? (wink, wink)

Play Deck of Cards at home by following the steps below:

What you’ll need:

Your cute fam
A deck of cards (I bet you guessed that, didn’t you? ;))

What you’ll do:

Assign a simple movement to each suit in the deck. For example:

Hearts = push ups
Spades = sit ups
Clubs = burpees
Diamonds = squats

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Starting with the youngest kiddo, draw a card and do the movement assigned to the suit using the number on the card as reps.

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I feel like I just made that confusing… Ha! Okay, example: Ruby draws a 10 of hearts, so we all do 10 push ups! After the 10 push ups are completed, the next youngest child draws, and the family performs the appropriate number of reps for the suit drawn. Continue taking turns drawing and exercising until the entire deck is gone.

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So simple, so fun, and so draining, but the fun factor keeps it from ever feeling like anything but a game.

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Need some more ideas to get your family up and moving? Here are some of my fave family-friendly workouts I’ve posted over the years. You’ll notice there are so many different styles + ideas—it’s nearly impossible NOT to find something that suits your kiddos’ liking:

March Madness!!! A Powell Pack Family Workout
Halloween Candy Workout: Family Style!
Olympian Couch Potato Workout: Rio Edition
Easter Egg Hunt + Exercise = The Perfect Powell Pack Combo
Body and Brain Workout for Our Next Generation

What do you do to keep your family active? Share below!



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  1. Jessie Palafox - October 29, 2016

    I love the idea of including the whole family into workouts! and the kids will just think of it as a game ☺️

  2. Ryann Hornsby - October 28, 2016

    Love a family workout!!
    Great ideas!!! Definitely trying the Deck of Cards with our crew!!!

  3. Caroline Aceves - October 28, 2016

    Love this idea!! I’m always outside with my boys on their scooters and bikes. They love to join in on my at home workouts, but I can’t keep their attention for very long. I love the idea of making it a workout for them and not necessarily me (but I’d still get moving too!)

  4. Olya Permyashkin - October 28, 2016

    As a full time nurse and mama of 2, I’m trying to make sure my 3 year old is healthy and active . Love this post

  5. Kylie ellsworth - October 28, 2016

    I love this! I’m always trying to include my 2 year old son while working out!

  6. amie - October 28, 2016

    One of the most exciting things about becoming a new parent is involving our little guy in exercise with us, whether it’s running or making a fun game out of it, I can’t wait to show him how much we benefit from it! Being an active family is a huge thing for me, not only for our health but for our relationships!

  7. Jen Flores - October 28, 2016

    This is just awesome! My daughter workouts out with me now, we’ll between coloring with chalk on the patio and water her little plants (she is 2)!! But as she grows and other kiddos come along this will be a great activity to get them moving!! LOVE it!

  8. Kiya - October 17, 2016

    Hi chris m 24 and m 90kg …
    I need your help please help … i love somebody and i really want to confess my love to him but before that i want to b fit becuz i know he deserve the best and i want to b the best … help me chris

    • Team Powell - October 17, 2016

      Hi Kiya: You can learn all about Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program – the same program they use on the show – in this post: And be sure and follow all the links within the post too. Their program will teach you everything you need to know and do to achieve your transformation goals! You can do this! 🙂

  9. Trista - October 15, 2016

    Hi my name is Trista
    I am 5 foot 4 220lbs
    41 years of age I am trying to lose 100lbs can you help with a bit of coaching and ideas.

    • Team Powell - October 15, 2016

      Hi Trista: You can learn all about Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program in this post: And be sure and follow all the links within the post too. Choose a cycle, and go! You can do this! 🙂

  10. Nicole - September 19, 2016

    Love these! We do something similar with our mini trampoline and BOSU with our 7 year old who loves to jump. She lays out the dog’s toys and makes an obstacle course. A few months ago she was having a play date with a few friends and I overheard them complaining they didn’t want to “exercise” when she was showing them how to set it up. She politely explained it wasn’t exercising, it was playing! I think the more families focus on play and less on “ugh I hate exercise”, the better off we will be. It brought some perspective listening to a group of 7 year old girls already having that conversation! Now I’m off to tell her about the card game. Thanks again for great tips!!

  11. Katharine Parker - September 12, 2016

    So impressed with these ideas. Thanks for your commitment to health and wellness for anyone motivated to seek out a path to fitness.

  12. Connie - September 7, 2016

    Thanks so much for this! I showed my 9 yr old son and he smiled and asked if we could do it too!! Getting my equipment together…?

  13. Tania - September 6, 2016

    Hi please help me to lose weight Heidi 4 stone I need to lose please please help love Tania xxx?

    • Team Powell - September 6, 2016

      Hi Tania: You can learn all about Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program, the same program they use on the show, in this post: And be sure and follow all the links within the post too. You can do this! 🙂

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