Boot Camp Games for Children

Boot camp games are good for keeping kids healthy and active.

Most people associate boot camps with the military, troubled teens and extreme workout programs, but you can also adapt them to be fun activities filled with vigorous activities for kids of all ages. Boot camps can provide the recommended 60 minutes of exercise per day to keep children active and healthy.

1 Pretend Marines

Do a toned-down Marine-style boot camp so the kids can pretend they've joined the Marines. Have them do standard exercises like jumping jacks, sit-ups and arm circles. Make sure they do only a few repetitions at first to avoid stressing themselves out. Turn each exercise into a competition; tell them you want to see which of them can get to 10 jumping jacks the fastest, for example. This is also a good way to warm up prior to participating in sports.

2 Fun Run

Create a "fun run" course for the kids in marathon format. The Marine Corps Marathon, for example, has a "Healthy Kids Fun Run" that coincides with the regular marathon and involves a closed course, after which kids get medals and snacks. Adapt this idea for your own use and create a closed course in a wide-open area with orange cones.

3 Storytime Run

Get a children's book with some repetitive phrases or words. Choose three or four phrases or words and assign them to a certain exercise (i.e., when the phrase "jumping" is uttered, the kids must do five push-ups). Tell the kids to jog around the room in circles as you stand in the middle. Read the book to them as they jog. When you say one of the repetitive phrases or words, the kids must all stop running and do the exercises assigned to it. When they are done, they resume jogging and you resume reading.

4 Cone Dash

Spread out about 20 cones in an aerobics area with half the cones lying on their sides. Separate the children into two teams and have team one put all the cones upright and tell team two to pull all the cones down. Start the game by turning on some energetic music of your choice. After about a minute and a half, turn the music off, signaling that the game is over. The team that has more cones standing up, or vice versa, is the winner.

Based in the Washington, D.C., area, Dan Taylor has been a professional journalist since 2004. He has been published in the "Baltimore Sun" and "The Washington Times." He started as a reporter for a newspaper in southwest Virginia and now writes for "Inside the Navy." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in government with a journalism track from Patrick Henry College.