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23 Warm-Up Activities for Kids

By MK Editor, May 23, 2021

Kids should do a warm up before every run. Here are a few tried and true warm-up activities you can use to prepare your runners before each running club session.

warm up activities

Warm-Up Activities

PLAY TAG: Choose one person to be “it.” As the “it” person tags others, they too begin chasing those who have not been tagged, until everyone has been tagged.

FOLLOW THE LEADER: Choose a runner to be the “leader.” Have the “leader” choose their favorite warm-up activities that get them moving, that the others will copy. Play Follow the Leader until warm.

FIGURE EIGHTS: Walk/run in figure eights of varied sizes. Be sure to keep quick feet and feel your back and hips stretch.

BICYCLES: Lay on backs with legs and feet in the air. Move legs like pedaling a bicycle. Pedal slow, medium, and fast for 30 seconds each. Rest in between each pedaling speed.

HIGH SKIPS: Skip as high as you can for a designated distance. Be sure to stretch your raised arm up high when you skip, to jump even higher! Repeat until warm.

ROBOT WALK: Bring one leg straight up, bend waist to touch toes with hand. Walk slowly and touch alternating toes with each step until warm.

CRAB WALK: Walk backwards like a crab on hands and feet for a designated distance. Repeat until warm.

HIGH KNEES: Do high knees for 20 seconds. Jog in place, bringing knees up as high as they will go. Rest, then repeat until warm.

MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS: Start in push-up position. Legs “climb the mountain,” similar to running, for 20 seconds. Hands stay on the ground. Rest, then repeat until warm.

STAR JUMPS: Do 10 star jumps. Jump with arms and legs outstretched, like a star, while in the air. Rest, then repeat until warm.

BEAR CRAWL: Crawl on your hands and feet, like a bear, from one designated spot to another. Rest, then repeat until warm.

Warm-Up Activities Flyer

LEG BALANCES: Make 30 circles with both arms at the same time. Next, make 10 circles with one straight leg lifted off the ground. Switch legs. Repeat process until warm.

RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT: Act like cars while Coach calls out a traffic light color. Run on green. Walk on yellow. Stop on red. Mix up the colors and continue until warm.

OBSTACLE COURSE: Make a simple obstacle course. Ideas include zigzagging between cones, hopping over imaginary lines, etc. Repeat until warm.

TOUCH YOUR TOES: Spread arms out to sides. Bend at waist and touch right hand to left foot. Stand up, then touch left hand to right foot. Repeat until warm.

FLAP YOUR WINGS: Flap arms like a bird for 20 seconds. Now jog in place while flapping arms for 20 seconds. Repeat until warm.

DANCE PARTY: Turn on music and dance in place for 30 seconds. Stop the music. Rest, then turn the music back on and repeat until warm.

JUMP ROPE: Pretend to be jumping rope for 30 seconds. Rest, then repeat until warm.

JUMPING JACKS: Spell out “Marathon Kids” while doing jumping jacks. Rest, then repeat until warm.

JOG AND JUMP: Jog in place for 30 seconds, then jump in place for 30 seconds. Rest, then repeat until warm.

ARM CIRCLES: Move your arms in big forward circles for 30 seconds, followed by backwards circles for 30 seconds. Rest, then repeat until warm.

FROG JUMPS: Jump like a frog 10 times. Touch the ground and reach for the sky during each jump. Rest, then repeat until warm.

TUCK JUMPS: Do 10 tuck jumps. Jump up and tuck knees up to chest. Land with knees bent. Rest, then repeat until warm.

Find 23 Cool-Down Activities for Kids here!


Marathon Kids is on a mission to get kids moving. The nonprofit organization offers physical education programming and tools through Marathon Kids Connect, a FREE, cloud-based platform that makes tracking and reporting on kids’ physical activity simple.

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