Thursday, June 11, 2015

How to Create a Momma and Kiddo Exercise and Play Group

We all know we should move (exercise) regularly right? We also probably know being a Mom can be a tough gig right? An exercise and play group for mommas and their kiddos is packed with benefits:

* Exercising regularly keeps your muscles strong, joints mobile, energy boosted, encourages healthier daily habits, releases stress, improves mood, prevents illness and disease, and improves self confidence.

* When you exercise with others you push yourself more, don't quit as early or as often, challenge one another, laugh and try new things.

* When you have a scheduled time to exercise you make sure it happens (even if you only are able to exercise for half the class due to kiddos needs, half a class is better than nothing!) As mommas we often put others needs ahead of our own. Joining a group, we are investing in ourselves and well being more.

* Socializing with fellow mommas gives you the opportunity to ask questions, share your exhaustion and know everyone else understands how you feel, and be in an environment where saying poop 25 times a day is the norm.

* The kiddos are exposed to interaction with other kids (and most importantly wear each other out). An easier nap time? Yes please!

* Joining a group gives you the accountability to get out of the house. It's easy to get "stuck" in your home all day. Let's face it being cooped up with chores and tantrums is no fun.

* There's an extra added bonus of being able to meet up outdoors and soak up your daily dose of vitamin D.

So how do we create an exercise and play group? There are a lot of different options. Start by deciding the structure of your group.

Will it be co ed or just mommas?
Are expecting mommas welcome?
Will there be modifications available for pregnancy and postpartum?
Will some mommas be wearing their babies and need modified options for exercises?
Do mommas have to bring their kiddos to participate in the workout?
Can friends of mommas join who are not parents?
Can older kids come when they are out of school?

Will the kiddos be expected to stay in strollers the entire workout?
Will the class be moving or staying in one spot?
Will the location be safe for kiddos?
Is shade available?
Will the location need to change as seasons change?
What days will the class be?
What time and how long are the workouts?
Will there be play time during the workout and/or afterwards?
Who will lead the workout?
Who will be the back up to lead the workout when needed?
If you are charging for the class a certification and liability insurance will be required, do you have this?
What type of workouts will you be doing?
How will you balance the workouts to cross train?

There's a good chance additional questions will come up as you create your group and as new participants join.

Here's how I run our free momma and kiddos group at Ft. Irwin, CA. If you live in a colder climate, your indoor and outdoor schedules may be flipped:

We meet Monday - Friday at 9-10am.

We began at a grass field in front of a community building. A few days during the winter we had to cancel the workout due to wind, rain and cold temperatures. The building helped block some of the wind, but you have to always keep the kiddos in mind - a one hour workout isn't worth a bunch of kiddos getting cold and sick.

Now that it's summer we need more shade to protect us from the strong, hot sun. We have moved to a field that is gated and provides shade for everyone. Soon we will be moving to an indoor space because no amount of shade can make the desert heat tolerable or safe for everyone.

My pre summer routine (outdoors)
Monday - body weight intervals
Tuesday - on the go stroller exercises
Wednesday - yoga and Pilates
Thursday - on the go stroller exercises
Friday - body weight intervals

Tuesday and Thursday kiddos had to be in a stroller or in baby carriers, because we were on the move. We went out on different paths with exercises along the way. The other days, kiddos could be out in our circle playing together.

Summer routine (indoors)
Monday - body weight intervals
Tuesday - yoga and Pilates
Wednesday - variety day
Thursday - yoga and Pilates
Friday - body weight intervals

At the beginning of each workout we each introduce ourselves and kiddos and answer our question of the day (ex. What's your favorite healthy snack).

We always do the same warm up so participants learn a dynamic warm up.

The workouts are always different ( I love variety and my mind races with creativity for movement). I like to incorporate partner workouts and fun ways to move such as a fitness scavenger hunt.

I welcome all mommas, expecting mommas and non mommas to join us. Dads, grandparents, and older kids are all welcome to join us too.

For each exercise I show a a safe modification for pregnancy, postpartum and baby wearing. I also show an advanced option, so everyone can choose what's right for them.

Every day after the workout, mommas are welcome to hang out for playtime. On Fridays we have craft time after the workout for the kiddos.

I also create a monthly fitness challenge, health focus and lead a monthly wellness workshop. I get us involved in community events and also create fun gatherings for us and the kiddos (such as a fire station visit and picnic).

If I'm traveling I don't cancel a workout I create a workout plan and rotate through asking other mommas to lead the group.

Whether you have been teaching group exercise for 10 years or just love to be active you can create your own momma and kiddo group. Make it fun, make it something you look forward to, and create a positive and encouraging environment.

Need ideas for your workouts? Check out Pinterest and YouTube for endless amounts of new moves.

I love to exercise and I love encouraging other mommas to be happy and healthy so there's nothing better than 35 mommas forming a circle for a good workout.

This is my favorite group to lead because I get to encourage two generations to live healthier lives.


Featured at Home Matters Linky Party


  1. Great way to set an example for your child! Love this idea.
    Stopping by from the Friendship Friday hop, come say hi!

    1. I love that my son is with me everyday to lead these momma's in a workout!

  2. What a wonderful group of mom's and kids! I love this idea. I am part of a small local Fb group of mom's looking for motivation to get active. I am going to share this post with them!

  3. What a fantastic idea and great to see such a good turn out! Stopping by from Sunday's Best over at Mother 2 Mother

    1. There's a great turn out for where j currently run this :)

  4. I run this group in the middle of the desert. We live on a military base where the community really benefits from this!

  5. A great idea for summer and all year round! Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty - we're looking forward to what you have to share next week. :)

    Life With Lorelai

    1. Thank you Lorelai. The climate we live in we are able to stay outdoors all year except summer is too hot in the dessert!

  6. Great idea!! Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday - Link Party!! Hope to see you again this week!! Love having you!! Pinned!!!

    1. Thank you for your support Elaine.

  7. Great idea! Children need to learn that exercise is good for them and should be part of their life. You are setting a great example. Thanks for sharing this with us at #WednesdaysWisdom

    1. Thank you Sue. I love that all the kids see the momma a moving to stay healthy! A lot of them even join in or start mimicking the moves at home.

  8. Hey, Vanessa! Just wanted to let you know that we loved your link to the #HomeMattersParty so much last week that we featured it this week! Would love for you to come by and check it out, if you have the time! Happy Friday!!!

    1. Thank you Kristen! I will check it out. Thanks for the support!

  9. Thanks for sharing on the Healthy Living Link Party.

  10. How awesome! My name is Nicole, and I'm one of the co-hosts for the Merry Monday linky party. I wanted to stop by and thanks for sharing this at Merry Monday's! Have a great week!

  11. Wow, that's amazing to have a momma and kiddo exercise group. This is the first time I've seen such a large and oraganized group. Thanks for sharing on Merry Monday.

    1. Thanks Erlene, so far the largest group we have had is 34 mommas and 34+ kiddos.

  12. Very nice post thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop.

    1. Thank you :) I love running this group.

  13. This is such a great post! Thank you for sharing at the Healthy Living Link Party!

  14. This is such a great post! Thank you for sharing at the Healthy Living Link Party!

  15. Awesome tips! Thanks for sharing with us at Waiting on...Wednesday!

    Holly @