Physical activity is critical for everyone’s general health and well-being. Regular physical and mental activity has both short and long-term health advantages. Everyone has to exercise at some point in their life, thus we need to be informed on the advantages of exercise and how to include daily physical activity as soon as possible.
It is easier to include a regiment into your toddler’s life. In an early stage of development, any routine is easier to adopt; once it becomes fundamental to your child’s lifestyle, they are more likely to follow it throughout their lives. Play-based activities and games that mix physical exercise with your child’s interests and skills should be integrated into their play-time.
Why are Physical Activities for Children Important?
Children have a lot of energy that has to be utilized, and physical exercise is a way to creatively channelize that energy into something productive. Not only are physical activities essential for a child’s physical and mental development; but also, active children do better in school. They have higher attention spans as compared to those who do not engage in physical activity regularly.
For young children, insufficient physical exercise can contribute to a variety of health problems. Lack of exercise can result in unwanted weight gain or extra body fat, high blood pressure at an early age, issues with bone health and bone strength, and worst of all, cardiovascular diseases in the future.
Engaging your toddler in physical activities throughout the day is an easy fix for this. Children between the ages of 2 and 4 require a lot of movement and mobility in their lifestyle. Having said that, it is also important to provide a variety of movements to your preschoolers. While it’s important to schedule unstructured playtime and have lots of fun, it is equally important, if not more so, to make sure you schedule activities that help in the overall development of your toddler.
It goes without saying that physical activity at a young age has a number of benefits; from helping children develop fine and gross motor skills, to increasing the duration and quality of their sleep. And who doesn’t like a napping toddler?
Physical Activities for Toddlers
Well, we know easier said than done. The importance of physical activity is undeniable. But after a couple of activities it is possible to run out of ideas or just not know what to do next. We have got you covered! Here are 10 easy, engaging and productive activities for your toddler.
|1. Hit the Balloon||Challenge your young ones to keep a balloon off the ground for as long as possible. Have them hit the balloon in different directions and encourage them to break their previous record time. This promotes friendly competition with oneself and also helps develop gross motor skills. It is also one of the best sensory play activity for toddlers that can improve coordination between your child’s legs and eyes.|
|2. Pulling & Pushing||Small objects such a soft plush or an empty toy box can make for great resources for this activity. Ask your toddler to push the objects along a straight line or past a marked post. Challenge them to pull pillows and bedsheets in their play area. This helps with your toddler’s grip, balance, and coordination.|
|3. Playing with blocks||When your little one has just learned to recognise various objects, it is fun to challenge them to recreate those shapes using building blocks. This promotes constructive thinking and also develops fine motor skills. It also helps kids unleash their imaginations.|
|4. Garden Walk||Your toddler will really enjoy taking a long walk outdoors! It will enhance their coordination, balance, and even aid muscular development. Walking on an uneven surface (such as grass or stony paths) allows children to use muscles that are different from those used indoors on flat surfaces. Plus, walking on grass is a great way to connect with nature at an early age. Your garden walks with your toddler can also be used to educate them about plants and animals.|
|5. Hide & Seek||While on the surface, a game of Hide & Seek may seem like a very basic game, it is a fantastic game both in terms of physical and mental exercise! It will help your toddler gain planning and organization skills, as well as help them develop object permanence. A game of Hide & Seek can also be used to teach your toddler how to count!|
|6. Dancing||There is no party like a Dance Party! Turn up the music and let them dance their hearts out to their favourite tunes. Dancing will help your toddler increase their coordination and balance while also increasing the flow of serotonin, the feel good hormone. An easy way to uplift your toddler’s mood on an off day while also teaching them some sweet moves!|
|7. Hopping & Jumping||Whether on a play mat or on a trampoline, hopping and jumping are great exercises to release all that extra energy! It will also help energize your children for all the other activities and can substitute a full body warm-up.|
|8. Messy Play||Get paint, clay, mud or slime and let your toddler go to town with messy play! Unleash their inner creativity and develop their fine motor skills with this activity. By creating a controlled “mess” children can learn to express themselves in various ways.|
|9. Walk like an Animal||Turn on some music and see who can perform the greatest animal impersonation! These whole-body exercises are excellent for allowing toddlers to experiment with their own movements. These activities can also aid in the development of gross motor abilities in your child. Let’s see who can be as sly as a fox, as strong as an ox; as fast as a hare, as brave as a bear! Okay we’ll stop quoting song lyrics, you get the gist.|
|10. Bubble Play||Blowing bubbles is a fascinating activity that will appeal to children of all ages. It’s also a great way to help your toddler recognize various parts of their body. Try to pop the bubbles with fingers, elbows, or even noses!|
Physical Activities for Preschoolers
If you think your child is too advanced for these activities and would quickly get bored, do not worry, we have a list of 10 more activities for your preschooler!
|1. Paper Planes||Paper planes make for great economic toys that will keep your preschooler engaged for hours! A simple origami plane will enhance your child’s fine motor skills and concentration. Fly them indoors or outdoors; see how far, or how high your child can fly their plane and watch their happiness take off!|
|2. Egg and Spoon||The ultimate balancing game that requires tremendous hand-and-eye coordination is sure to entertain your preschooler at any time during the day, indoors or out. Give your child a spoon and have them balance a hard-boiled or plastic egg from one location to another as fast as they possibly can. Spice things up with an added obstacle and ask them to throw in a dance move; this one will definitely keep them on their toes!|
|3. Hopscotch||A playtime classic, hopscotch is a game that can be played alone or with friends, indoors or even outside! Draw the traditional hopscotch diagram and then ask your kid to throw a stone or a twig in the first square. Then ask them to complete it by hopping using one leg.|
|4. Scooting||Scooting kids are happy kids. Kids love the thrill of scooting their way around the house or even outside in parks. Just fasten the helmets and watch them chuckle! To make things interesting, place pylons in a straight line and challenge them to scoot their way through the zig-zag. If you are looking to buy a scooter for your kid then do check out our reviews on Best 2 Wheel Scooters for Kids in UK. We have even made a separate list for toddlers and 5 and 6 Year Olds.|
|5. Skipping||There’s nothing more energizing than good old skipping. Fun for the kids, good for your hearts, so even you can tag along! If the ropes leave your preschooler entangled, try it without them. It’s fun just jumping to the beat.|
|6. Fly a Kite||Do you know what a Kite is? Find out as you take your little one for a kite adventure. It’s a great way for your future pilots and astronauts to learn about the basics of wind and aerodynamics. Plus, who doesn’t like a windy adventure?|
|7. Play Football||Everyone loves football! A great way to learn sportsmanship and teamwork while also keeping all the fun! Complex games like this, that involve rules and organisation help the little ones learn important life lessons before they even go to school!|
|8. Swimming||A life skill that your preschooler probably already knows? That’s right! Our babies have a natural ability to swim from their nine months of practice. Ensure they do not forget it! Swimming activities develop stamina and are also very relaxing for the child. It’s even more fun when you dive in!|
|9. Climbing||Allow your preschoolers to climb nets, monkey towers and even trees! Let them go as far as you feel safe and help them improve their balance and muscle strength. Take this opportunity to teach them to always look for the bigger picture from above.|
|10. Treasure Hunt||Treasure hunts can be done almost anywhere! Let your little Sherlock solve the clues you provide. Treasure hunts will help improve their observation and cooperation skills. All you need to do are hide clues in your surrounding areas that lead to a final reward!|
Physical activity is the key to maximising a child’s growth in a variety of ways. It has physical and mental health benefits for your child and will definitely go a long way in helping them lead a more fulfilling life. Our advice would be to go out RIGHT NOW and try a fun game with your little one!
Laura is a trained primary teacher who takes a profound liking in interacting with and bringing out the best in children. She is also an ISSA certified pediatrician with an extensive practice of over 12 years. Laura comprehends the needs of infants and now compresses her expertise into writing thorough parenting guides to aid new parents.