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Getting Kids to Exercises and Persist in Finishing using Game Strategies

Updated: Jan 7, 2021

To challenge kids doing exercises, especially long time exercises, playing games instead of doing exercises itself will interest kids much better.

We recently did an experiment on kids. Their dad pretended to be possessed by a monster, chased them and asked kids to "save" him. At the end, even the 4 year-old (first time) finished the 3 miles trail, not mention the 6 year-old (fourth time). We were surprised to see the power of playing a game.

Here are the dialogues.

A= Adult, O=Older kid, Y=Younger kid

A: Hey, kids. Today we are going to do a 3 miles trail with uphills and downhills. It will be a big challenge for you.

O: I have done it when I was 4 years old.

A: I know. I did not mean you.

Y: Then me? Today is my 4 years old birthday!

A: Yes, I meant you. Let's do it!

(After 15 minutes uphill walking...)

Y: I am tired. I don't want to walk anymore.

A (using a weird sound): I am the big belly monster. I am not your daddy. Your daddy is in my tummy.

O & Y: No, you are my daddy!

A (Weird sound): No, I am the big belly monster. I ate your daddy. Do you want to know how to save your daddy?

O & Y: Yes!

A (Weird sound): You need to keep on walking. See that COVID sign? There are more such signs on the trail. These are not regular signs, they are magic signs! If you stand by the sign, your daddy can come out talking to you and give you water. But one sign only last for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, I will come out again.

O: Let's run!

Y: Yes, let's run!

A (Weird sound): Great! You want to run! You will be tired even sooner, then I can easily catch you!

O: Then let's just walk!

Y: Yes, let's walk.

(Reach the COVID sign)

A: Kids, drink some water and take a break!

O & Y: Are you daddy?

A: Yes, I am. Drink some water. We only have 3 minutes! We can take a 10 minutes food break at the top of hill because big belly monster cannot reach top of the hill.

O & Y: Mom, we want cupcakes.

A: Sure, you can have cupcakes & fruits at the top of hill. At that time, we will finish 60 percents of the trail.

(After 3 minutes, we keep on walking & pass several signs before reach top of the hill)

A: Guys, let's take a break. Your daddy is back.

O & Y: Yeah!!

(We continued after the break and reached another sign)

Y: I am really really tired.

A: Do you want the key to save daddy?

O & Y: Yes.

A: Each of you needs to earn two cards. At the end of trail, you will need to hold the cards, and say the spell "Wingardium Leviosa". Then the big belly monster will be defeated, just like you defeat the big boss in video games.

O: Then how can we earn the cards?

A: You will need to pass 3 signs to earn one card. Besides, you need to hold hands so that you can work together.

O & Y: Let's try.

(After a long walk they both get 2 cards but it is still not the end of trail yet)

O: We have the cards. Can we save daddy now, mom?

A: Not yet. You need to use the cards at the end of trail. Besides, we are not reaching the sign yet, so you are only able to talk to big belly monster now.

O & Y: Let's walk faster!

(Finally we reached the end of trail)

A: Hey, kids, it is time to save your daddy. Where are you cards? Hold the cards and say the spell to the big belly monster!

O & Y: We are going to do it, mom! (Took out the cards and pointed the to dad) Wingardium Leviosa!

A (Pretend to be defeated): Oh, I am defeated! Hey, kids, I am daddy. Thank you for saving me!

O: Yeah! We did it! We saved daddy from the big belly monster!

Y: Daddy, is it very dark in the monster's belly?

A: Umm, yes, very dark.

O: Is the monster real?

A: The monster is real.

O: How did he eat you?

A: I do not know. The only thing I know is that I was in the dark big belly.

Y: It is fun! We played the game!

(The only downside of this game may be tons of questions about big belly monster in the next several days...)

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