House of Cards, Toddler Edition

This afternoon, Reece (my oldest daughter and I) were killing time while Vera napped. It was the perfect opportunity to fit in a bonus workout with my mini. So, I busted out a new “game” that I learned from America’s Sweetheart Trainer, Jillian Michaels.

All you need is a deck of cards and a good attitude (and patience, if you’re playing the Toddler Edition). You choose the exercises, meaning you determine the intensity and focus of the workout. Since I was already showered and dressed for the day, I chose a low-impact, low-sweat, ab workout. It took me almost 30 minutes to go through the deck – child’s play or no, I cannot remember the last time I did 30 minutes of solid ab work! Not bad, not bad at all.

Pre-game chat

Pre-game chat

Instructions for House of Cards:

  1. Grab a deck of cards.
  2. For each suit, designate an exercise. Get creative – see example combinations below.
  3. Select a wild workout for the Joker cards (if you have any).
  4. Designate an exercise for the Ace.
  5. Turn up the tunes and get ready to play House-Of-Caaaaaards!
  6. Flip the deck over and select one card at a time. The number on the card indicates the number of repetitions. The suit indicates the exercise.
  7. As soon as you perform the exercise and reps indicated by the card, move on to the next card immediately.
  8. In this casino, you’re the boss. So, if you get tired of a certain exercise mid-game, switch it up! Get creative and have fun!

Toddler Edition Notes:

  • You may want to take a pre-game shot or two. If that’s not an option, just opt for a chill pill.
  • Stay focused, but keep your toddler engaged. Ask them to count with you, sing a song, take a lap around the kitchen table, etc.
  • The discard pile is free game, but don’t let that toddler near the remaining cards. It would be a pity to have to start at the top if they threw the game (literally).

Reece, working on her card counting technique

Possible Combinations

Ab Circuit: 1) Spades – Plank with cross knees*, 2) Clubs – Side plank raises*, 3) Hearts – V-ups, 4) Diamonds – Full extensions, 5) Ace – Bridge hold for 30 seconds, 6) Joker – Headstand hold 

Cardio Circuit: 1) Spades – Burpees, 2) Clubs – Squat Jumps, 3) Hearts – Mountain Climbers, 4) Diamonds – Lateral Side Hops, 5) Ace – 30 second rest, 6) Joker – Squat hold for 30 seconds 

Legs and Buns Circuit: 1) Spades – Pulse lunges*, 2) Clubs – Drop squat jumps, 3) Hearts – Curtsy lunges*, 4) Diamonds – Sumo squats, 5) Ace – 30 second rest, 6) Joker – Bridge hold for 30 seconds

Core Circuit: 1) Spades – Lying side leg lifts*, 2) Clubs – Bridge lifts, 3) Hearts – Russian twists*, 4) Diamonds – Crunches, 5) Ace – Side plank hold for 30 seconds*, 6) Joker – Side plank dips, 20 on each side

Upper Body Circuit: 1) Spades – Tricep dips, 2) Clubs – Walk outs, 3) Hearts – Push ups, 4) Diamonds – Plank walks, 5) Ace – Plank hold for 30 seconds, 6) Joker – 5 chaturangas

* For these exercises, complete the reps on both sides.

As we made our way through the deck, Reece worked on her numbers, counting, and side plank form. And when she tired of the game (after about 10 minutes) she had fun with the cards we already discarded. Vera woke up at the tail end of the workout, so we put her on the Clean Up Crew.

Vera, on clean up crew

Vera, on clean up crew

Now, for a super realistic question for you: if you could only do four exercises for the rest of your life, what would they be?

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