How do you work out with a toddler?

Here at snackdinner, we're more known for competitive donut eating than fitness. But if, in the run-up to Halloween, you bob through a few boxes of mini donuts...and then eat all of the candy before Halloween...and then replace the candy...well, you might be more interested in a workout. 

Once you've decided to work out, the real challenges begin, either because your yoga mat is boobytrapped, or your child thinks it's hilarious to hide your running shoes, or because two minutes into your favorite Jillian workout you have to change a dirty diaper.  

Boobytrapped yoga mat.

Boobytrapped yoga mat.

Here are four workouts that you can do even with a house full of kids. You don't need any special equipment to do them, just a little creativity about what you already have in the house.

52 card pick-up

If you've got a deck of cards, you can do this workout. [If you don't have a deck of cards, you can print out a paper deck here.] Assign an exercise to each suit and have kiddo hand you one card at a time. He gets practice with colors, numbers, shapes, and throwing paper around the room while you get 105 burpees.


For kids, there are few things more fun than grown-ups pretending to fall down. If your kiddo loves running into you while you pretend to crash, you've got a workout goldmine. Make this game a workout for you by "crashing" slowly, crunching abs as you go. Add in slow motion kicks and flails for a pilates-style leg and arm workout. Have your kid grab your hands and as he "helps" you up, get in another crunch. You will likely tire out long before he does, but if you're looking for more challenges start "crashing" in other directions for push-ups and side planks. 

Yoga instructor

The Longest Shortest Time's Hillary Frank offers a great tip for those parents who want to do yoga but can't get their kids off the mat. Ask your child to play yoga instructor. Lay out towels or blankets on the floor for a makeshift yoga studio. Have your child bring favorite stuffed animals or dolls to the studio. Tuck your yoga mat into the back of the class. Then ask her to be your yoga instructor. While she teaches the class, you can get in a few sun salutations. 

Run for your lives

Want a 10-minute cardio AND clean floors? If you don't already own a lightweight cordless vacuum, now's the time. Pretend the vacuum is a monster (a tickle monster, or maybe a Cheerio monster if your floors look like mine). Keep yelling "run for your lives!" as you chase each other around the house. When the battery runs out, you win!