Limited data are available on energy cost of common children’s games using measured oxygen consumption.


Children (10.6 ± 2.9 years; N = 37; 26 male, 9 female) performed a selection of structured (bowling, juggling, obstacle course, relays, active kickball) and unstructured (basketball, catch, tennis, clothespin tag, soccer) activities for 5 to 30 minutes. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) was calculated using Schofield’s age- and sex-specific equation. Children wore a portable metabolic unit, which measured expired gases to obtain oxygen consumption (VO2), youth METs (relative VO2/child’s calculated RMR), and activity energy expenditure (kcal/kg/min). Descriptive statistics were used to summarize data.


Relative VO2 ranged from 16.8 ± 4.6 ml/kg/min (bowling) to 32.2 ± 6.8 ml/kg/min (obstacle course). Obstacle course, relays, active kickball, soccer, and clothespin tag elicited vigorous intensity (>6 METs), the remainder elicited moderate intensity (3–6 METs).


This article contributes energy expenditure data for the update and expansion of the youth compendium.

Clevenger (, Aubrey, Suton, and Pfeiffer are with the Dept of Kinesiology, Michigan State University. Moore is with the School of Health Promotion and Human Performance, Eastern Michigan University. Peyer is with the Dept of Kinesiology, Iowa State University. Trost is with the Center for Children’s Health Research, Queensland University of Technology.