My children are training for the Awesome 3000 which is the one of the largest kid’s races in our town. The first year my daughter ran it, I put her through hard core training. I realized that was not totally necessary for a five and a half year old.
We do run laps around the parking lot or run through the trails in the park. We also have fun with running games. This is one we recently tried…
Fill a bowl or plate with a snack your children like. I used Teddy Grahams, but you could do crackers, chocolate chips, cereal etc.
The kids start at one end of the parking lot. Yell, “On your marks, get set, go!” They run to the plate, grab one Teddy Graham, run back and put it in a plastic cup. They go back and forth until all the Teddy Grahams have been moved from the plate to the plastic cup.
I varied the number of Teddy Grahams by their ages. The oldest can run longer than the youngest obviously.
And a good warm-up or cool down is doing stretching or circuits. Again make it fun so they enjoy it. You could even play catchy music.
We have three trees in our yard. By one tree, they had to stretch and touch their toes. By another tree they had to jog in place. By the third three they did jumping jacks.
When I yelled “Switch” they ran as fast as they could do the next tree.
If exercise is not fun, kids (and adults too!) are not going to want to do it. So many people think running is boring, but it does not have to be with a little bit of creativity.