Warmups and Games for CrossFit Kids

Matt Lodin Kids/Teens Programs

With a lot of kids at home because of COVID-19, we thought it’d be fun to give you some warmups and games you can do at home or in small CrossFit kids classes. You can do these as a family or as a coach/trainer with kids ages 7 -12.

We’ll start by listing some fun warmups then move into games you can play with a minimum of 1 – 4 people.

Warmups:

Agility Ladder

(Can be drawn on the sidewalk with chalk)

  • Bunny hops
  • Jump forward 2, then back 1
  • Right foot only
  • Left foot only
  • High knees (two feet per square)
  • Lateral steps (two feet per square) right, then left.
  • “Fancy Feet” — Both feet start on the left side of the ladder. Move right foot into the first box on the right followed by the left foot, move the right foot to the outside right of the ladder followed by the left. Then move the left foot in the next box up and repeat the in-in-out-out-in-in pattern moving up through the ladder.
Animal Races!

2 Rounds:

  • 10m Bear Crawl — crawl with only hands and feet touching the ground
  • 10m Bunny Hops — hop with feet and knees together in small “bunny hops”
  • 10m Kangaroo Broad Jumps — jump for distance, like a kangaroo, land in a quarter squat
  • 10m Crab Walk — crawl with only hands and feet touching the ground, belly up
  • Then 30-second cone to cone race — kids try to see how many times they can run from cone to cone in 30 seconds
“Baseball”
  • Set up four cones around the room to serve as the “bases.”
  • Kids perform 1 burpee to get a “hit” and then run to first base, second, third, and back home to score a run.
  • At each base, kids must perform 3-5 reps of whichever movement you designate to be there.
  • As an example, first base could be squats, second could be push-ups, and third could be mountain climbers.
  • Once a child has cleared first base, the next in line may begin. Their goal is to get as high a score as possible! (5 minutes is usually plenty of time)
Follow the Leader Run

Take the kids on a short run in which they must “follow the leader,” and copy whatever the leader (you) does. You can skip, run, run backwards, crawl, shuffle, etc. You should also stop randomly and perform basic movements like squats.

“Freeze Tag”

Kids play tag, but the trainer may yell “freeze and ____________” (fill in with any basic movement) at any moment, and to un-freeze the kids must perform 3 reps of the given movement.

Jump Rope Challenge
  • How many can you get without missing?
  • Backward?
  • How many can you get right leg only?
  • Left leg only?
  • Double-unders?
Obstacle Course
  • Set up a series of obstacles for the kids to climb over and under (chairs with broomsticks across works great for the “under” obstacles), a ladder to run through, and something to jump on.
  • Kids have to do one burpee before entering the obstacle course and then circle around to complete the obstacle course as many times as they can in the 5 minutes.
  • Feel free to add/modify obstacles based on what you have available!
Relay Race
  • Fill 2 buckets with small balls or bean bags and place them on one side of the room.
  • Place two buckets opposite of them on the other side of the room.
  • Divide the kids into two teams and have the teams do a sprint relay, trying to fill up their empty bucket on the other side of the room.
Sit-up Circle Catch
  • Kids sit around the trainer in a half-circle, with an ab-mat behind them.
  • When the trainer throws the dodgeball to them they must perform a sit up and throw it back.
  • Add in an additional ball once the kids start to get the hang of it to make it more challenging. If it is more of an advanced group, you can have them all sit in a circle and throw the ball to each other (reminding them that they have to say the name of the next person and make eye contact with them before throwing it). Add in another ball for greater difficulty and challenge.
“Walk the plank”
  • This is a balance drill. Set out planks (pieces of 2×4 boards work well) of varying widths to have kids attempt to walk across without falling.
  • To begin, kids must perform 3 squats to attempt to walk across, and there is a 3 burpee penalty (touch their chest to the ground, jump up and clap their hands overhead) if they fall off. Each child should get multiple attempts.
  • To increase the challenge and difficulty, have them attempt to walk backward or with their eyes closed.

 

Games

Balloon Bonanza

Minimum people needed: 1

  • Throw a balloon into the air and tell the kids that they have to work together to keep it off the ground.
  • Add more balloons as time passes to increase the difficulty.
  • If a balloon touches the ground, kids have to do 5 reps of a movement called out by you (burpees are great for this), then the game resumes.
Bean Bag Toss

Minimum people needed: 1

  • Have kids stand on a line and set up 6 Hula Hoops (or draw 6 circles with sidewalk chalk) about 5-10m away.
  • Hula Hoops that are closer are worth more points than Hula Hoops that are further away.
  • Each kid gets 2 throws and whoever accumulates the most points gets to choose a movement (squats, push-ups, superman to hollow, burpees, etc.) and everyone else has to do reps of that movement equal to how many points that person achieved.
  • Make sure kids get multiple chances to throw bean bags to make it fun! You can also increase the number of throws that each child has depending on the number of kids in the class and the amount of bean bags that you have.
Duck, Duck, Goose!

Minimum people needed: 4

  • Arrange kids sitting cross-legged in a circle, and start as the first tagger.
  • Circle around the kids, tapping each one on the head and say, “duck.” When you tap on a head and say, “goose” that child must jump up and chase you around the circle, trying to tag you before you can sit in their spot.
  • If you make it into their spot, they must go to the center of the circle and perform 3 squats, then become the tagger.
  • If you get tagged, you must perform the 3 squats, and then sit in the open spot, as the child becomes the new tagger.
  • Try to ensure every child gets a turn as the tagger!
Farmers and Lumberjacks

Minimum people needed: 4

  • Divide kids into 2 teams. One team is the “farmers” and the others are “Lumberjacks.”
  • Set up the room so there are cones randomly distributed throughout, all upright.
  • The lumberjacks’ goal is to knock over/turn over as many cones (trees) as possible, and the farmers have to stand them back up.
  • The lumberjacks begin with a 5-second head start, and the round concludes at 30 seconds.
  • Count the score for each team (cones knocked over vs. cones upright) and repeat for at least 3 rounds of 30 seconds, switching the kids’ roles.
Hot Potato

Minimum people needed: 2

  • Have all the kids stand in a circle and give them an object to be the “hot potato” (a more advanced/older class of kids can use a small 4lb. med ball, younger classes of kids should use a bean bag or dodgeball).
  • Start the music and the kids pass the “hot potato” around the circle clockwise. The player who is holding the “hot potato” when the music stops is out and has to do 3 reps of a movement of your choice (burpees, squats, etc.).
  • Play continues until only one player is left. We recommend keeping the game fast-paced (starting and stopping the music frequently) so the games end quickly and those who got out get back in quickly.
Limbo

Minimum people needed: 1

  • Hold a PVC pipe that kids take turns trying to “Limbo” underneath without touching.
  • Each child has to perform 3 reps of the trainer’s movement of choice (burpees are great) before they can attempt to pass under the PVC pipe.
  • After each round, trainers lower the PVC pipe slightly to make it more challenging.
  • If a kid fails on an attempt (any part of their body touches the PVC pipe or the ground), then they get to sit in the bottom of a squat until there is a winner and everyone gets back in to try again!
  • Note — If you don’t have two trainers then you can always have some of the older kids switch out to help hold the other side of the PVC or ask a parent to help too.
Plank Wars

Minimum people needed: 2

  • Kids form a circle facing each other in the top of the plank position.
  • The goal of the game is to stay in the plank the longest.
  • There are two ways to get “out.” Dropping from the plank (any body part other than hands and feet touch the ground) or getting scored on.
  • Trainer introduces a ball to the circle and kids start rolling it back and forth between each other in the circle. If the med ball touches the chest, then that athlete has been scored on and is out.
  • After a couple of kids get “out,” have them form their own circle and begin another round of the game. To make it more difficult, add more balls to the circle.
Red Light, Green Light

Minimum people needed: 3

  • For the first round, the trainer stands on one side of the room and kids line up 10m away. The trainer designates a movement (ex: bear crawl, kangaroo jumps, etc.) and then turns the other way and says “green light.”
  • Kids begin moving toward the trainer. After a couple of seconds, the trainer announces “red light” and turns around quickly. Any kids who are not “frozen” and still moving, have to go back to the start line.
  • Trainer then turns around again and announces “green light” and so on until one child reaches them. That child becomes the new “leader” until another kid reaches them.
  • Make sure to remind kids that YOU are the only judge of who has to go back to the start line.
Stuck in the Mud

Minimum people needed: 4
This is a basic tag game. When a kid is tagged, they stand with their legs apart (stuck in the mud) and are freed when someone does an “army crawl” underneath them (remind them all that they have to crawl through without touching that person though).

Tic-Tac-Toe

Minimum people needed: 2

  • Set up 9 hula-hoops in a 3×3 square (or draw the circles in a grid with sidewalk chalk) with a line of cones 10m away.
  • Split the kids into two teams and give them each 3 bean bags of a designated color.
  • Both teams line up behind the cones and one kid at a time sprints up, places their bean bag in a hula hoop, then runs back and tags the next teammate.
  • The next teammate also grabs a beanbag and places it. Once all 3 bean bags are out, teammates can sprint down and move 1 beanbag from one hula hoop to another in an effort to get 3 in a row.
  • Once a team places 3 bean bags in a row in any direction they win!
  • Rules — only 1 bean bag per hula hoop, no tossing — they must place the beanbag down, and the next partner cannot pass the cones until they are tagged by their teammate.
Fitness War

Minimum people needed: 2

  • Shuffle a deck of cards and deal each player 10 cards.
  • This is a typical game of war where players flip cards over and high card wins (takes other cards for themself).
  • However, prior to the flip, name a movement and everyone but the winning player has to do that movement.
  • The number of reps is determined by the high card’s value. Numerical value is represented on the card (i.e. 2 is 2 reps, 8 is 8 reps), all face cards are worth 10, and Ace is worth 11.
  • Play until one player has all the cards, or out of time.

 

Additional Resources

Daily Questions for Kids CrossFit Classes gives you some lessons you can incorporate into your classes. We typically use these at the end of class as part of our decompression.

5 Things to Avoid with Your Kids + Teens Programs lists the biggest mistakes we’ve seen gyms make with these programs.

Our Kids Program: These session plans give you everything you need to succeed with a kids program (age 7 -12). 30-min classes, each with a fun game to keep kids wanting more.

Our Teens Program: Session plans that make life easier on coaches while building capacity, confidence and resilience in teens.

* To make sure you’re getting the most from these programs during COVID-19, you’ll have a 1:1 call with me (Matt Lodin) so I can make recommendations based on your specific context. The goal is to give you effective advice on how to adjust the programs to meet your needs.

 


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About the Author
Matt Lodin

Matt Lodin

Matt has been a member of CrossFit HQ’s seminar staff since 2011, instructing L1 and L2 seminars. He has been a coach since 2005, and coaching CrossFit since 2009 after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in human development from the University of California, San Diego. He is currently the head coach/manager at the affiliate inside the CrossFit offices in San Diego, CA, and has a small garage affiliate, CrossFit Abound. My true passion is helping the next generation get a head start on their health and fitness.

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