It will come as no surprise to parents and carers that toddlers and pre-schoolers generally don’t like to sit still. That’s because children naturally enjoy doing what is healthiest for them, and that’s being active!
Toddlers (1 to 3 years) and pre-schoolers (3 to 5 years) should be physically active for at least three hours every day. It sounds like a lot, right? However, activities don’t have to be structured. They can be accumulated throughout the day and can include even light activities like standing up, playing and moving around.
- Walk to places rather than driving or using the stroller.
- Take them to the park as much as possible – toddlers love climbing, swinging and running around making as much noise as possible!
- Involve them in household tasks like tidying, unpacking shopping or sorting washing (a bonus for you).
- Give them toys they can pick up and move around, which will help improve their co-ordination and develop their arm and hand muscles.
- Choose toys and play materials that encourage movement and help develop skills like running, kicking, throwing and catching, such as balls, bats, tricycles and kites.
- Play with different sized balls, twirl and run with streamers, blow bubbles and chase them through the air, play with balloons and walk barefoot on different surfaces like grass, carpet, concrete or sand.
- Engage in creative play – pretend to move like different animals, play dress ups and act out different roles, and try action songs like “Ring-A-Ring-A-Rosie” or “Head-And-Shoulders-Knees-And-Toes”.
- Play games like Hide-And-Seek, Follow the Leader, Stuck in the Mud, obstacle courses or tip/tag games.
- Minimise screen time. For children aged 2 to 5 years of age, sitting and watching TV and the use of other electronic media (DVDs, computers and other electronic games) should be limited to less than one hour per day.
- Supports healthy growth and development including being a healthy weight and reducing the risk of diseases like diabetes and cancer later in life.
- Builds strong hearts, muscles and bones
- Helps children learn fundamental movement skills
- Improves movement, balance, coordination and reaction time
- Increases mental wellbeing
- Improves social skills, self-esteem and confidence