do me a favor,  fighting the fat gene,  fitness,  illos

Work-out Cards


Wouldn’t it be cool if I could make a deck of cards that had 52 different exercises on them that you could do WITH your kid(s)? The only problem is that I am not a fitness expert and I don’t really know 52 different exercises. Maybe 52 is a little bit much…maybe I’ll aim for 20 and see how it goes.

Then I had a brilliant idea. What if you guys helped me out the way you helped me with the alphabet cards. That worked out splendidly. In fact, maybe if I print these someday (What am I thinking starting another project right now? I must be insane), I could give a free deck to all the people who contributed. You could contribute by emailing me photos of yourselves doing exercises (properly) with your kid or maybe you could just leave helpful comments like, “Dude you have to keep your knee at a 90 degree angle!” or something like that.

What do you think? Then I could put helpful information on the back of each card and maybe some funny jokes too. And maybe once a card is done, I’ll post them here for a short time as a free printable pdf so that if you play along the whole way, you get a deck free.

So far I’ve got the “kid squat” above that is surely terrible on your back but great fun for your monkey kid and the “swing lunge” below.



Thoughts? What should I call this project?


  • dee

    I LOVE this idea! I’m always looking for new ways to get exercise and love the idea of including the kids. The swing lunge is awesome.

  • Mrs. Flinger

    BRILLIANT!! I have a huge interest in fitness and a degree in working out. No, seriously, my undergrad degree is exercise and sports science which mean a) I had to go back to school later to get a real degree and b) I like to do fitnessy things.

    SO ya! I’d love to help. I’ll think of some ideas. I’m sure there’s something with jumping and tossing toys in bins. LIke a jump-squat over-head press with toys? I’ll keep thinking…

  • Elaine

    I “fly” my kids all the time by laying on my back, tucking my (bare) feet into their hips while they stand and then (while holding their hands) fly them into the air so they are above me. You do a bunch of these and you’re going to feel it… especially when one of your kids is a 6yo.

    Getting a photo of that? Um, I could try!

    What else?

    The other day I got photographed carrying the 6yo on my back and the 4 yo on my front, but that wasn’t exactly for the sake of exercise and is only helpful if you have more than one kid.

    Um…. I’ll keep thinking!

  • Sonja

    Yes! I love this idea. Of course, I have very little to contribute because after that one time Noah climbed onto my butt while I was doing pushups, I’ve been exercising when he’s asleep. I’ll try to think of something, though!

  • Erin

    I’ll have to get a picture of this when I can, but I discovered a mommy exercise while I was at church the other day. Hold baby right in front of you on your chest, centered facing you or out, or on your back. Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder width apart with your toes faced outwards. Lean to one side, and then to the other, not letting your knee extend over your foot. Something like a mini-side-lunge, back and forth. Basically, lean all your weight (keeping your torso straight up and down) over one bent knee, straighten to center, and go the other way. About 15 minutes of this as a slow, controlled motion had my thighs burning. And my kid finally fell asleep! My baby weighs about 20 lbs…

  • dori

    Dang it! I love your idea. I don’t have a kid though. I’ll have to substitute a sack of potatoes or my cat or something, but I’m playing along!!

  • Martina

    Kid-on-leg lifts are fun and great for the thighs. Lay/ Lie? on back and bend knees, lifting feet off of floor. Sit a (not too heavy) kid somewhere on shins and holding kid’s hands, lift legs up and down and even in circles. Can be rough on knees though, so take it easy.

    Kids also make great sit up anchors and is a great way to play peek-a-boo

  • brooke

    My favorite part is your facial expression in each of these : ) My husband does his push ups with one of the kids on his back most nights, I’m not sure if that works as a “mom” exercise though. My best kid exercise is to simply put her in the jog cart and go roller blading. The roller blades make me go fast enough that she’s content to sit in the stroller and my son cruises along on his bike way out in front of us since he would NEVER sit in a stroller.

  • turkey lurker

    Love the idea. My little one is 10 months (about 18 lbs) so I can still get away with a few more things. She loves “horsey” on my calves. I cross my legs and she grabs my dangling calf and I bounce her up and down. Good thigh workout?

  • Amy

    My personal favorite, one which works up a sweat EVERY time, is pulling my 5yo on a trail-a-bike ……. attached to my bike ……. uphill ……. because EVERY where we go is uphill. HeHe

    I know this is actual-for-real exercise, but it does qualify as time with my kids! This summer we are using the set-up for traveling to the library, the pool, the store (I have a basket on my bike) and small errands.

    This post on my blog ( shows the trail-a-bike. I’ll try and post a photo of us on it.

  • Andrea

    I love this idea. For those with babies, I’ve found that good old airplane lifts are great for the arms. Lay on your back and lift baby up and down above you. Close mouth.

  • anne

    Fabulous idea! I’ve got a great “baby crunches” I could add to your pile! Also: my kiddo is juuust about old enough for me to break out the ABC cards you made. I’m so excited. I’m pretty sure I love them more than she will, but that’s ok. :)

  • C @ Kid Things

    I have no bright ideas on the subject, although I believe just the simple task of picking up your almost 1 year old a million times a day has got to be good for your arms/abs/legs something, but that is a great idea! And cute!

  • margalit

    My kids are extra large so I don’t do much exercise with them, I’m more of an exercise alongside them. But I love doing leg lifts with my daughter, who can get her lets up so high I’m green with envy. And we also do arm circles and a lot of easy yoga poses for our aching backs. Would that count?

    LOVE this idea!

    You might consider buying the 30 day shred (on sale at amazon for under $7) and checking out the exercises there. They’re wicked but they work.

  • Amy

    “Secret Agent Mom Exercises”

    Running.. Doing little sprints with the kids at the park.

    Stair climbing, if little one is wee keep on stepping up and down as she climbs.



  • Sara @ Our Best Bites

    oooh, LOVE this! I have no choice but to exercise with my kiddos because the moment they see me in my tennis shoes it’s like some internal trigger makes them instantly needy.

    One thing I do is lie on my back and bend my knees. I raise my knees up so my shins are parallel to the floor and a kiddo lays on his tummy on top of them and holds my hands out in front of them. Then while holding onto their hands I lower and raise my feet to the floor. For extra ab work, I raise my shoulders off the ground too. Does that make ANY sense at all?? lol. I’m thinking pictures would be helpful, but I swear it works!

  • franticallysimple

    Your cards ae so cute!
    I don’t have a picture but this is a fun one. Stand back to back with your kid. You hold a soccer ball. Each of you bend over. Pass the soccer ball through your legs to your kid. Both of you stand up. He or she should reach as high as he can and pass it over head to you. You may need to do a bit of a back bend to reach it.
    Repeat until you are sick of it. :)

  • Kate

    Don’t have kids, but I will de-lurk to tell you that my sisters and I used to hang on to my parents’ legs while they walked around the house. (Sitting on their feet with arms wrapped around the leg) :)

  • cath

    CAn’t help with the kid friendly exercises, but as for a name, i reckon you should call it ‘operation meltdown’. The meltdown could be the weight loss, or it could be the results of attempting to make 52 cards, drawing them all up, having them ready to print, uploading them individually all whilst trying to keep a tiny tot happy and exercising with you, for research purposes only of course.

  • Amy

    Oh, Oh ……… another card idea. Leap Frog! Not over each other, but along side. I found myself lying in bed last night thinking of these cards. What a great idea.

    -Pulling a child in a wagon; turn around and then push it
    -bringing laundry downstairs one arms full at a time; racing back up the stairs (ouch)
    -shoulder rides – have child stand, facing away from you, grab her by the waist and hoist up and over your head to have her sit on your shoulders. Jump up and down 10 times; place her down.
    -horsey rides – child on your back while you pretend to be a horsey/donkey/elephant/rhino/whatever ….. not good for bad knees!
    -hopscotch – using one leg, then both legs to jump.

    That’s all for now!

  • Jess

    Yaaay! SAJ, you and your commenters are geniuses. I can’t wait to try all the exercises. I sure need them.

  • Mel

    Great idea! For proper motivation, the kids may need to be the keepers of the cards. You know, when us moms don’t think of it our kids will come up to us with card in hand and say “Mommy, let’s do this NOW!” They could sweetly guilt us into moving a lot more, it just might work.

  • BeachMama

    What a fun idea!! I am sure I could come up with a few exercises that incorporate your kids. I have been doing some that you can let your kids workout along side you, but had not thought of making up cards, you are such a Genius.

  • Deidre

    I know that there are some yoga poses that work really well for kids and parents to do together. One is downdog where you’d do down dog and then Bug would put her feet on your shoulders and do her down dog with her legs lifted – you could make a game out of it to see how long you could hold it each day…?

    I don’t actually have kids — but these always seemed fun for me!

  • Samantha

    I do the nursing ab-crunch. Sit on a bed or surface w/out a backrest. As you nurse your infant/toddler, start to lean back and tighten your abs (be sure to sit up straight). Not sure how effective it is, but I like to think it helps!

  • workout mommy

    This is a GREAT idea!

    When my guys were little i did lunges and squats while wearing them the Ergo.
    Now that they are bigger, we play lunge tag. (every time i get tagged, I have to lunge or squat)

    I also do push ups while helping clean up toys. Really it’s a ploy to hope they do all the clean up themselves!

    I love this idea though, i’ll try to think up more!

  • Robin

    outstanding idea………..but fresh out of ideas.

    actually wanted to nag you about Aug calender……..did I miss it somewhere?

  • Aunt Kathy

    What a good idea! I thnk with all this help you’ll be able to come up with more than 52! Remembering when my four were small and trying to do “my” exercizes. It didn’t work! They wanted to be with me and now I wish I had known what to do to include them! You’re on the right track.

  • mrs doodle

    I love this idea… I will think of something and send it to you. I am always doing something while lugging around my 24 lb. monkey… I mean sweet little girl:)

  • Estrella

    Love your pictures!

    Brainstorming names for the cards…
    Movement for Mommies
    Calisthenics with Kids Cards
    Workouts with Wee Ones

  • Anne-Marie

    My children both love to play endless games of tag/ chase and always want me to be chased. My seven year old will also do the Shred workout with me, though she usually stops in the middle and then just critiques my form (“no, mommy, that is NOT what her legs look like.”)

  • Jennifer

    Your Bug and my Boo must really share some genes – so alike. I’ve been thinking she’s terrible too about listening in class, we’ve done swimming and plan to start dance in the fall.

    I was just doing a kid exercise yesterday; the one kid teeter-totter press. Boo’s friend wasn’t with us at the playground, so I pushed the other side while she rode. Can be done one arm at a time or both together. So great for the arms/chest I had to take a break and let my non-mom friend take a turn. Boo squealing and giggling the whole time.

  • Amanda of Shamelessly Sassy

    My personal kid exercise:
    I do lounges the entire time that I vacuum up the crumbs my daughter has gotten in the floor. I just make myself vacuum the whole house and only lounge. It’s pretty hardcore. You know, I don’t know if I’m spelling lounge the correct way. However, spell check isn’t yelling at me with the red lines. So I’ll pretend it is okay.