Regular physical activity is critical for young children. According to Let’s Move! Child Care, the benefits of physical activity include: fewer behavior problems; longer attention spans; increased confidence; better performance in school; improved social skills; strong bones; better sleep habits; and increased strength and flexibility.
Incorporating physical activity into your young child’s life can be fun and easy. Here are ideas to help your child keep active both indoors and outdoors.
Indoor activity ideas
- Put on some music and dance. Young children love to dance to music, and you can keep it interesting by having them invent their own dance or having them mimic your own movements.
- Practice throwing, catching, and kicking. Throwing a bouncy ball around your living room isn’t always a good idea, but you can substitute with a small bean bag or even a rolled-up pair of socks.
- Create an indoor obstacle course. Using household items such as stools, chairs, stuffed animals, and storage bins, you can create a fun supervised indoor obstacle course. Look for ways to help your child practice balancing, jumping, throwing, and running.
- Not only can yoga help your child relieve stress, it can also increase their flexibility, strength, and balance. Yoga studios often have classes for children, and there are also many books and online videos available.
Outdoor activity ideas
- Visit the playground. You likely won’t need to convince your child to visit your local playground. Depending on your child’s age, there are multiple chances to climb, swing, run, and jump.
- Go for a bike ride. Bike rides are a fun outdoor activity. Even a quick trip down the block after dinner is an ideal opportunity for the entire family to spend quality time together while being active.
- Hopscotch or jump rope. Games like hopscotch and jump rope are not only fun, but they also increase coordination and bone strength. With hopscotch, your child can get involved and help you create a court with sidewalk chalk.
- Take a walk. Walking is an easy way to incorporate physical activity into your child’s everyday life. You might want to start walking with your child to and from school, going for family hikes on the weekend, or even just taking a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood.
For more ideas on helping your child get more active, you can also visit your local recreation center for drop-in classes or organized sports. Your child’s preschool or daycare is also an ideal resource for easy and fun physical activity ideas for your child.