5 Easy Frog Exercise Moves for Kids

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Get kids active outdoors with 5 easy frog exercise moves! This post is part of an educational Free Unit Studies series and this week’s theme is Frogs. Frogs being a pet peeve of mine, I am thrilled to create frog-based exercise moves for kids. Each activity is inspired by scientific frog behaviors, which means that the moves double as educational material on the humble amphibian. Not only are these frog exercise moves fun, but you won’t need any gear or gym equipment for them. Comfortable clothing and trainers will do. These moves would be great birthday party or school activities on a frog theme. Do you have a park nearby? Show some frog love as a family and get fit together!

#1 Jump Like a Frog Move

Jump Like a Frog - 5 Easy Frog Exercise Moves for Kids

Frogs can jump pretty far, right? For instance, bullfrogs can jump up to 10 times their body length and some champion bullfrogs can do even better. At the Jumping Frog Jubilee of Calaveras County, the all-time record-holder, since Mark Twain wrote his eponymous short story, is a bullfrog named Rosie the Ribeter who jumped an impressive 7.15 feet (2.18 m) in 1986. That’s the equivalent of my 10-year-old, 150cm/5 ft tall, jumping more than 15m or 50 feet in one jump. Can you imagine?

The reason frogs can jump so far is because they use their stretchy calf tendons as coils to fuel their jump. Yes, their legs represent 1/4 of their body mass but that alone cannot account for how high or far a frog can jump. They also jump quickly and far to escape predators, a useful survival skill in nature.

Instructions

For this activity, identify a starting point with sticks, rocks or leaves. It’s the jumping pad. The idea is do do 3 quick jumps in a straight line, as far as possible from the jumping pad where potential predators can be. That’s what a frog would do, before deciding what to do next and that’s how frogs jump at the Calaveras County Fair. Now, kids.

    1. Stand straight with feet shoulder width apart.
    2. Squat as low as possible, hands on the ground.
    3. Leap forward as far as you can.
    4. Stop for a quick breather and leap again, two more times.
    5. Stop at leap #3. Done!

For science kicks, measure the overall distance and compare to the child’s height.

A variation of the frog jump is to do lateral jumps (sideways) to exercise different muscles, or to repeat the frog jumps during a whole minute. Full cardio workout guaranteed!

#2 Swim Like a Frog Move

Science shows that there’s more to swimming like a frog than breaststroke. A study of the African clawed frogs, Xenopus laevis, a pure swimmer, showed that their propelling power in water came more from ankle rotation than from leg pushes. Yes, they do use their webbed feet to kick water backwards but towards the end of the push, they rotate their ankle for an extra humph. They also use their front legs but only for steering, which is really quite different from breaststroke.

Swimming is also a highly sociable activity for frogs as groups of young frogs are known to swim together in schools, much like fish. Last but not least, not all frogs are swimmers. Toads and tree frogs are essentially dry land animals but like their aquatic cousins, they need to come to the water to mate and lay eggs.

Note: this exercise is designed to be done on dry land. Nobody needs to get wet, unless they want to.

Instructions

The idea is to replicate the swimming frog technique on dry land. There are two versions which I’ll explain below.

Version 1: Standing Swimming Frog Move

  1.  Stand upright with both feet close together and arms folded against the chest, palms facing forward and fingers spread out (channel your inner frog).
  2. Balance yourself on one foot, bend your right knee and bring your heel toward your buttock, opening the hips as much as possible.
  3. Extend your leg sideways and in a circle, bringing it back to the ground in extended position and lift yourself up on tippy toes. Balancing can be tough on this one and you might need a tree for extra support!
  4. When you’ve mastered the kick, add the arms for steering and pretend you’re crossing the pond!
  5. Repeat on other side.

Version 2: Lying Swimming Frog Move

  1. Lie down on the floor on your stomach (use a yoga mat or picnic blanket if you have one).
  2. Place your arms in front of you in a comfortable position, elbows bent at a 45 degree angle, fingers stretched out.
  3. Bend both knees and bring your heels toward your buttock.
  4. Kick hard by stretching your legs sideways and in a circle, finishing in a pointy toe position, feet together.
  5. When you’ve mastered the kick, steer with your hands as if crossing the pond.
  6. Repeat and have fun!

#3 Catch Bugs Like a Frog Move

Catch Bugs like a Frog Move - 5 Easy Frog Exercise Moves for Kids

Do you know that frogs have an amazing eyesight? Their eyes come in a variety of colors from red, orange, and yellow to metallic copper, silver, bronze, and gold. In most frogs and toads the pupil is horizontal, but many are vertical and some are even round, triangular, heart-shaped, hourglass-shaped, and diamond-shaped. Pretty cool, right? Besides being beautiful, frog eyes are also very well located for maximum bug-catching chances. Located high on the sides of the head, frog eyes offer front, side, and partially rear views, and all while the frog is mostly under water. When the see something moving like an insect, they’re on it immediately. Now to the crux of the matter – catching bugs.

Instructions

This game is played in a group and over an open area big enough so that kids can walk fast over 10 m/30 ft minimum. The idea is that insects try to make it across a pond without getting eaten by a hyper-vigilant frog.

  1. Designate the player who will be the frog. The other participants are insects. The area where kids play is the pond.
  2. The insects stand at one of the pond facing the frog who is standing at the opposite end of the pond.
  3. The area behind the frog is the safe zone. Nowhere is safe between the insects and the frog, it’s the danger zone.
  4. When the frog’s back is turned to the insects, the insects can walk quickly toward the safe zone. When the frog turns around, insects must freeze. Any insect caught moving gets eaten and must sit down until the game is over!
  5. The frog will count “One-Two-Three bugs for me!” before turning around.
  6. Go!

#4 Scare Predators Like a Frog Move

Scare Enemies like a Frog Move - 5 Easy Frog Exercise Moves for Kids

Efficient defense tactics keeps frogs alive and happy. Of course, frogs can run (or hop away) to escape from predators, but some frogs use colors and do not jump away from predators. Instead, they sit or stand in such a way that they show off bright colors on their bodies. The toad above has the perfect body position to avoid being eaten or attacked. It is called the defence posture. Many frogs will also use defence postures without the use of bright colours. For example, the Painted Frog, Neobatrachus pictus, will lift itself up on all fours and inflate its lungs so that it appears larger. It may also make a loud piercing scream to try scare off the predator.

Instructions

The idea is to replicate a frog attacked or threatened by a predator and an effective defence posture. You need 2 players.

  1.  Player 1 is the frog. Player 2 is the predator.
  2. The frog squats on the ground like a frog. The predator is standing 2 m/6 ft away.
  3. When the predator runs toward the frog to attack it, the frog will jump on all fours, stretch and spread its legs wide, and generally make itself as big as possible with a rounded back. If the neighbors are far, the frog can even scream to scare away the predator.
  4. Well done! Repeat 5 times and take turns being frog and predator.

#5 Burble Like an African Dwarf Frog Move

Stand like a Dwarf Frog Move - 5 Easy Frog Exercise Moves for Kids

African dwarf frogs are cute frogs that weigh a couple of ounces and live a completely aquatic life. In the wild, they live in regions of sub-Saharan Africa and spend the vast majority of their time underwater. They are very active animals that leap around a lot but occasionally, they will lie completely stretched out at the surface of the water, as if they were dead. This is a completely natural behavior and it even has a name. It’s called “burbling.” Because of their small size, they are popular aquarium pets and you’ll find websites dedicated to them. Not saying you should get one – I believe in wild animals remaining wild. But there are many pet owner forum discussions on “is it normal that my frog stands there, frozen, in the tank?” Yes, burbling is normal and it must be quite relaxing. Let’s try it out.

Instructions

The idea is to replicate the active behavior of the African dwarf frog before burbling a bit.

  1. Squatting on the floor, get ready to do a quick succession of frog jumps during a minute or so.
  2. When you eel ready to relax, stand on one foot and stretch out the other leg and both arms as far as possible, relaxing them completely.
  3. Keep the pose and burble for a few seconds (a minute if you can).
  4. Repeat!

Conclusion

I hope that you have enjoyed these easy frog exercise moves for kids. Apart from the frog jump (quite popular and obvious) and the Catch a Bug game (school material), I created all the other moves based on scientific and known frog behavior. In my research, I actually learned a lot about frogs and I hope that your kids will enjoy these activities with their friends. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for my fingers to burble.

Cheerio, little frogs!

Additional Frog Resources

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Laure Latham

Laure is an author, environmental advocate, blogger, open water swimmer and now mother. She's passionate about inspiring families to enjoy the outdoors with their children, learning to unplug and living a healthy lifestyle, giving kids life skills and exploring the world around us sharing Family Friendly, Fun Ideas for the whole family on Frog Mom.

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