07/05/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Eeking in Exercise with the Kids Home

Schools is about to let out and moms are rejoicing and biting nails at the same time. Downtime with the kids, ahhh--but at the same time we are determined not to let our bodies get back to their winter hibernation state (more pounds, less firm). It's a juggling act to squeeze in a workout when a shower is not even a guarantee. Bet you appreciate that little old pre-school teacher right about now-huh?

Our crazy schedules as moms has us struggling to kill two, even three or four, birds with one stone so here are tricks to tightening, toning even major calorie burn while simultaneously taking care of and entertaining our little tykes:

1) Without even leaving your house, pushing kids on the backyard swing puts us in perfect position for performing our favorite exercise of all. It's a move adapted from the famed Lotte Berk method that keeps the backsides of the stars (Drew Barrymore for one) high and tight. You keep your knees softly bent and tuck your buttocks under and squeeze in while pulling your stomach in. Imagine a string at your belly button pulling in. The beauty of this move is that just holding this pose will prevent your tush from getting droopy and jiggly and strengthens stomach muscles as well. Once you see results from this you will volunteer to push until the kids are dizzy!

2) Take a walk in the park, and make it no "walk in the park" by using some simple techniques. Walking is the best exercise for staying fit because you burn fat when your heart rate is up but not thru the roof. Use weights--either traditional ankle or arm weights attached with Velcro or the non-traditional types such as the bag filled with toys for the sandbox and a picnic lunch or put your child in a backpack carrier (we love the Kelty K.I.D.S backpack because it weighs just 7 pounds but can hold a child up to 50 pounds) or even up on your shoulders if you'd rather not spend on a carrier. The MBT shoes are a great choice for a walking shoe. The sole mimics walking on uneven surfaces (like how walking on sand leaves us breathless) and activates more muscles in your body while you stroll. The styles they come in are cute but they can cost and arm and a foot--oops I mean leg. K-mart and Wal-Mart both have knock-offs or similar products for a fraction of the cost.

3) Playground participation is another way to melt away poundage. Instead of spectating get in the mix. Get running by helping the kids spin on the playground merry go round and do a few back and forth trips on the monkey bars or even use them as pull up bars--tough toning for our arms. Run races with the kids. . This type of "play"--sprinting for bursts of calorie disintegration--is great for getting your body and mind more youthful and the kids will love your participation.

4) Beach combing is the perfect way to keep fit and fit in some lunges. Whether you're on level sand and searching for the best clam shell or on the jetties and have different rock levels to help make the workout more strenuous. And make sure to lean down and check out snails and other sea life in a squat position while bending your knees and not a bend from the waist. While we are in the water with the kids (yes, you need to forget about your hair and go in), whether at the beach, a lake, or in a pool, treading water is a must and put a lot of effort in to burn a whooping 680 calories an hour. If getting in the water doesn't float your boat, then find a canoe and sizzle 475 calories per hour with even a lackadaisical ride.

5) Lastly there are some old fashioned activities that can keep us lean and in shape and the kids content. Jumping rope--my daughter recently picked up my way-too-long-for-a kindergartener rope and told me she does it at recess. I bought the book Anna Banana Jump Rope Rhymes so we can learn some double Dutch tunes together this summer. Hopscotch--you can't get a more basic burn or back-to-basic game! While playing jacks make use of the time it's your mini-opponent's turn by doing chair dips for your triceps. Or if no chair is around take the time to give a good stretch to your legs while in a straddle on the floor rather than a criss-cross position.

Bottom line is kids crave participation from their parents and driving to or sitting by while they swim or do the playground thing doesn't count. Getting moving with them has us acting unselfishly while accomplishing our exercise goals. We may barely get in a shower some days but at least we'll be buff!