Getting Physically Active with Board Games and Card Games

With many families spending most of their time at home, the need for new activities to stay active is in high demand. Adaptations to some of my “family favourites” are listed below. Hopefully this can inspire families to carve out some time every week, (even 5-10 minutes per day is very helpful), to spend time together doing something active. As we are all aware, there are numerous physical, social, and emotional benefits to staying active. The key to keeping kids engaged is introducing original ideas that are simple to implement. Please tag us using #OutsideTheBOKS on social media and share your experiences and your own tried, tested, and true creative adaptations.

  • UNO
  1. Play this game while standing up around a table
  2. Hold a squat while you are waiting for your turn (all players except one will be holding a squat at any given time)
  3. Perform squat jumps every time a +2 (draw 2) or +4 (draw 4) card is presented to you

Photo Credits: https://www.mattelgames.com/games/en-us/cards/uno

  • Checkers
  1. Every time you move one of your pieces, stand up and touch your toes.
  2. Every time you jump over and an opponent’s piece, they perform a tuck jump.
  • Dominos
  1. Every time you place a tile down, count the # of dots on the tile that you are playing and do that # of squats before your next turn.
  2. Play the game while balancing on one foot. If you lose your balance, do 5 jumping jacks and resume the game but stand on the opposite foot.
  • Hungry Hungry Hippos
  1. At the end of the game count how many marbles your hippo gobbled up and do a plank hold, (or a balance challenge of your choice), for that # of seconds.
  2. Play the game but place a pair of socks, (in a ball), on your head and balance them. If the socks fall of your head, do 1 burpee before you resume play.

Photo Credits: https://shop.hasbro.com/en-us/product/elefun-and-friends-hungry-hungry-hippos-game:106B6828-5056-900B-1051-D75C9D127122

  • Operation
  1. Play this game with the board on the ground while holding a plank on your forearms (elbows bent) or on your hands (straight arms). Take breaks as needed.
  2. Every time you make the buzzer sound, get up and perform a burpee.

Photo Credits: https://shop.hasbro.com/en-us/product/classic-operation-game:03B9FF5E-5056-9047-F5FF-D57592C4E2FE

  • Candy Land

After you land on a coloured space, perform the associated skill.

  • Red = run on the spot for 10 seconds
  • Purple = 10 arm circles
  • Yellow = 10 jumping jacks
  • Blue = 10 squats
  • Orange = 10 seconds of balancing on 1 foot
  • Green = 10 star jumps

Photo Credits: https://shop.hasbro.com/en-us/product/candy-land-game:C4E461C2-5056-9047-F5F7-F005920A3999

  • Chutes & Ladders
  1. Every time a player lands on a ladder, all players do high knees for the # of steps in the given ladder
  2. Every time a player lands on a chute, perform 5 crunches or push-ups
  • Battleship
  1. Every time you sink your opponent’s ship, they do 5 star jumps
  2. Every time you “miss”, you perform a squat
  3. Every time you “hit” your opponent’s ship, they perform a squat
  • Scrabble
  1. If any player uses all 7-letters in one turn, all players get up, crank up the radio, (or the BOKS Canada Spotify playlist), and have a dance party.
  2. After a word is played on the board, do a squat for every consonant and a burpee for every vowel that is played.
  • Dice activities to play with a partner
  1. Each player rolls a die. The player with the higher # picks the skill to practice, (examples: lateral jumps, mountain climbers, squats, tuck jumps, jumping jacks). If the same # is rolled, all players do 3 burpees.
  2. 7 is the most common # that dice add up to! Every time that a 7 comes up, (when dice are added together), kids run/hop/do bear crawl or crab walk to their front door and return back to their spot! For all other #s, they do that # of reps of a functional fitness skill (ex. push-ups, crunches, lunges, squats, burpees).
  3. Each kid rolls a die. The #s are added up. If that # is EVEN, the kids perform 6 donkey kicks. If the # is ODD, the kids perform 5 jumping jacks.

Lynn Rizzuto

Senior Manager, National Program Services (& parent of two very active kids)