Mon. May 20th, 2024

Rockford Health System

Fun Physical Development Activities to Keep Kids Active

6 min read
physical development activities

It can be difficult to find ways to keep your kids active and engaged as a parent. It seems like they are constantly glued to their phones or tablets, and it can be tough to get them away from those devices. But did you know that there are plenty of fun physical development activities that you can do with your kids? This blog post will discuss some of the best activities for helping kids stay active and healthy!

  • Why Is Physical Play for Toddlers & Preschoolers Important?
  • Best Practices and Activities for Children 0 to 2 years old
  • Best Practices & Activities for Toddlers
  • Best Practices & Active Games for Preschoolers
  • Indoor activities
  • Outdoor activities



Why Is Physical Play for Toddlers & Preschoolers Important?

Physical play is an important aspect of a toddler’s and preschooler’s life for various reasons. Physical activity helps to promote physical development, as well as cognitive and social development. It also helps to increase energy levels and improve moods.

Children have a lot of energy that has to be expended, and physical play activities are important for a child’s physical and mental development. Physically active children do better in school, have longer attention spans, and have fewer behavioral issues.

Physical activity also helps youngsters to:

  • Build strong bones.
  • Improve their gross and fine motor abilities.
  • Increase their strength, endurance, and flexibility.
  • Increase their self-assurance.
  • Obtain and keep a healthy weight
  • Reduce their stress levels.
  • Improve their social skills.
  • Enhance their balance and coordination.
  • Improve their posture.
  • Increase their focus.
  • Improve their sleep

A lack of or insufficient physical activity can result in various health problems in other children, like weight growth or development of extra body fat, high blood pressure, bone health issues, and cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, active children have fewer chronic health difficulties, are less likely to become unwell, and are at a lower risk of acquiring diseases or illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and depression.

Actively participating in physical activities today will benefit children for the rest of their lives. Thus, including exercise in a young child’s daily routine is critical. If you’re wondering how to promote physical exercise in early childhood, or if you’re looking for ideas for physical games and activities for preschoolers in the classroom, keep reading!


Best Practices and Activities for Children 0 to 2 years old

Babies between the ages of 0 and 12 months require plenty of chances for unrestricted mobility and floor play, as long as they can do so in a secure setting. It is ideal for providing a setting that promotes your kid to explore and develop abilities such as reaching, rolling, sitting up, crawling, pulling up, and walking.

Your baby can be physically active both inside and outside. However, going outside may give many possibilities to engage large muscles, think imaginatively, and learn more about the environment. Who knew gross motor development could be so much fun!

Before walking

Younger children can stretch and play even before they learn how to walk. A large blanket on the floor (or on the grass outside) for tummy time can be a safe, clean and welcoming place for babies to practice lifting their heads. This helps them develop strong muscles. Pediatric guidelines recommend at least 30 minutes of tummy time spread when the baby is awake throughout the day.

You can encourage your baby to look, clap, reach or move to sound – try talking, singing, rhyming, or action games like pat-a-cake and peekaboo.

If you’re putting your baby on the floor, just remember to look for potential hazards down at the baby’s level. Stay with your baby to keep things safe.

Start walking

Once your child is walking, you can encourage them by letting them move often. This means plenty of time out of the pram or stroller. This is a great time to look for objects and activities that encourage movement – for example, climbing a slide at the local playground.


Best Practices & Activities for Toddlers

Toddlers should be engaged in active play for at least 90 minutes a day. When awake, they shouldn’t be inactive for more than an hour at a time, and ideally, time should be made for both indoor and outdoor playtime and structured and unstructured activities. Walking, playing, exploring your garden, or utilizing playground equipment at a nearby park may be enjoyable activities for the whole family.

These activities can give parents and children entertainment and exercise:

  • Action games: Walk like a penguin, jump like a frog, or imitate the actions of other animals.
  • Hold hands and sit facing each other. Sing “Row, row, row your boat” while you rock back and forth.
  • Bend at the waist and place your hands on the ground. In the manner of a caterpillar, walk your hands forward and inch forward.
  • Sit on the ground. Let your kid step over your legs, or build a bridge with your body and allow your child to crawl beneath it.
  • Musical hide and seek: Hide a phone that plays a song or musical instruments and let your child find where it is.
  • Play “Ring around the roses,” “Follow the Leader,” and other related games.
  • Listen to music and dance as a group.

Best Practices & Active Games for Preschoolers

Preschoolers are bursting at the seams with enthusiasm. That’s important for the physical growth of one child since the regular movement of big and tiny muscle groups strengthens and refines how effectively certain components of the body perform.

Large motor skills (gross motor skills) are the first to develop. Fine motor skills (hand skills) develop next. That’s why 2-, 3-, and 4-year-olds prefer to run, hop, reach, and wiggle rather than stay still when using their hand muscles for painting or manipulating small objects. However, it is advisable to devote time to both types of activity.

Encourage them to participate in these developmental activities:

  • Family walks
  • Sandbox time at the playground
  • Water games
  • Obstacle courses at home
  • Jump rope
  • Balance activities
  • Hopscotch
  • Dance and aerobics

Indoor activities

Giving school-age children exercise options indoors will encourage their active lifestyles. Physical activities designed for indoor areas are often divided into two types. The first activity is specifically designed to develop skills for physical exercise, generally in a big room or gym setting. Other indoor activities are typically referred to as “action games,” as they may be done in smaller classroom-sized settings and are frequently utilized to reinforce a lesson or topic.

Indoor Activities: Large Spaces

Many activities that are planned for outdoor spaces can be adapted to play indoors. Depending on the space available in your program, you can spend time playing group games such as tag, soccer, flag football, dodge ball, or basketball can also be played indoors as long as there is enough space to do so safely.

Indoor Activities: Action Games

Action games are a great way to incorporate movement into school-age children’s daily routines. You can use action games as a tool for concept reinforcement or transitions. They are also a great option to have on hand when you need to fill a few minutes before pick-up time or if an activity doesn’t go exactly as you planned. Examples of action games are Simon Says or Charades.

Outdoor activities

Not all outdoor spaces will be the same. Some programs have large open spaces, playground equipment, grassy areas, or paved areas. Others may utilize a shared space at a school or park. Having physical activities in an outdoor space is a great way to motivate children to be active. Sometimes, games and other activities will be considered free play. This will be when school-age children might play a basketball game or tag or use their imaginations to create their own game. Whenever possible, join in during these types of fun activities. This will demonstrate that you are also committed to being active and setting a good example.

Examples of recommended outdoor physical activities that kids love include:

  • Athletic games: Basketball, football, baseball, etc.
  • Field-day activities: Sack races, scavenger hunts, balloon tosses, etc.
  • Mock tournaments: Hold tournaments for athletic games or Olympic-style competitions.
  • Tag: Freeze tag, color tag, red light, green light, etc.
  • Fitness tests: obstacle course
  • Cheerleading activities

Your child needs plenty of time to play and explore different activities that will help them develop their motor skills. Look for activities that will help them build strength in their muscles, big and small.

Now turn off the TV and get active. It doesn’t take anything more than items around your house and a little imagination. Bond with your child, be a positive role model, and encourage independent movement with plenty of giggles along the way.



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