Who doesn’t like watching kids run around outside in a spontaneous game of tag, push a friend on a swing, or construct a fort from tree branches and sticks? But we live in a time where parents are afraid to let their kids venture outside alone. In addition, older kids are so over-scheduled that they rarely have time for any fun physical activities.
Now instead of going out to the park with friends and organizing their own game with their own rules, kids are stuck to their devices that are right there in their pockets. When left to their own devices, they feel “bored” and have no idea what to do with themselves. Moreover, there are too few free resources available that offer ideas of fun physical activities for kids.
Let’s face it. It really is High TIME to take a look at how our kids are spending their time.
Why Physical Activity is Important in Early Childhood
If we wish to raise a happy, healthy, strong, resilient, and capable generation, there’s no alternative to physical movement. Children need to learn to maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle from a young age. Regular physical activities offer a wide range of benefits for kids:
- helps kids cope with stress
- helps them develop the capacity for freedom
- promotes healthy growth and development
- helps improve confidence and self-esteem
- gives children the opportunity to develop healthier social, cognitive, and emotional skills
- helps build a healthier body composition, stronger bones, and muscles
- helps in building concentration and coordination from an early age
- gives them the opportunity to learn new skills
- makes them feel good
- helps them maintain a healthy weight
- improves motor skills, strength, and stamina
- lowers the risk of several diseases
Even these benefits continue to carry to the later stages of their life. A recent study shows that children who are physically active absorb and retain new information more effectively than children who are sedentary and out of shape. So encourage your kids’ physical activity every single day and make it a habit.
How to Encourage Your Child to Be Physically Active
Engaging in regular physical activities is important for people of all ages, not just for kids, to ensure a balanced life. Here are some ways to encourage your child to be physically active.
1. If you want to encourage free play, start with yourself first. Set an example by being physically active. Exercise at least 30min, four to five times a week, both personally and with kids. Also, have regular conversations about the benefits of physical activities.
2. Kids love activities that promote excitement and fun. Encourage them to pick activities that they find fun.
3. Whenever possible walk, to get somewhere nearby.
4. Children need to play with a variety of toys, but make sure to buy kids’ toys that encourage physical activities.
5. Any physical activities are going to make them hungry. Make sure the kids are drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, and getting the right nutrition.
6. Let them play without much adult supervision. Give them the opportunity to play in their own way, to make their own rules, to interpret their world, to make their own amusement, and to enjoy freedom.
7. Try to keep kids off the computers, tablets, and phones. If you cannot do that, at least limit their technology use at home. Try to balance TV, books, computer, console, and physical activities during the holidays. In this case, follow AAP’s new recommendations for kid’s media use.
Again, remember to set a good example. Get your child to play outdoors, read a book, or play a game together. Don’t drag them around while you are talking on your cellphone, texting, or browsing.
Ideas of Fun Physical Activities for Kids of All Ages
There are many fun physical activities that kids would love to do. So, instead of wasting away in front of the TV like a couch potato, get your children excited about physical activities. Here are some ideas for daily, quick, and fun physical activities for kids of all ages.
Fun Physical Activities To Do With Toddlers (Ages 2-3 Years)
Apart from reading stories and singing songs/rhymes together, there are a ton of things you can do with your toddler. Here are some fun activities that both you and your little one will love to do together.
Indoor Physical Activities for Toddlers
These indoor physical activities for toddlers are the perfect solution when you’re stuck at home on a freezing cold or a rainy day.
1. Follow the Leader
If you have more than one kid, make one of them the leader. Otherwise, you can be the leader. Encourage your kid to follow the leader. Try to incorporate activities such as jump, skip, catch something, and more. It’s a simple way to get a good workout done by your kids.
2. Bouncing on the Bed
This is a simple but fun way to get the heart pumping. When your kids can’t sleep, do this for a couple of minutes. They will drift off to dreamland in no time.
Dancing is a fun physical activity to do. Play some kid-friendly music, and let him/her dance with the music. You don’t have to be an expert dancer, just shake your body and have some fun together.
4. Hide and Seek
It’s a popular kid’s game. Keep a toy hidden somewhere in the house and ask your kid to find it. You can use different cues to guide him/her.
Outdoor Physical Activities for Toddlers
Parents should try to spend as much time as possible outdoors with toddlers at this age. Outdoor free play will help stimulate their curiosity, observation, imagination, and love for nature. Here are some fun and simple outdoor physical activities you can do with your toddler.
1. Explore The Playground
Just go out for a walk with your toddler and talk about the surroundings. Not only beneficial for your kid, but this is also a great activity to boost your mood among the daily grinding of parenthood.
2. Tickle Tag
Toddlers of this age love to be chased. So chase them around the house or the yard. When you catch them, tickle them or swing them around. They would love to play this game for hours. Make sure to clear all child-hazards in the way prior to this activity.
3. Catching /Throwing Balls
There are endless ways to play with balls both indoors and outdoors. Get some fun balloon balls that bounce and stretch. Throw the balls up and try to keep them off the ground. Or you can just play ball catch. This is a fun way to keep your kids occupied for hours.
4. Outdoor Treehouse Fun
You can build a kids’ treehouse in your backyard with a slide and swing set. Setting up a quality custom playset is the safest option for little kids. Just make sure the stairs are easy for your kids to get up to the treehouse and have a slide. Your little ones will love to spend hours climbing the steps.
Physical Activities for Preschoolers (Ages 3-5 Years)
Preschool physical activities play a very important role in shaping a child’s personality and improving motor skills. There are lots of fun and creative physical activities that can be included in preschools.
Indoor Physical Activities for Preschoolers
Here are some fun indoor physical activities for preschoolers.
1. Bunge Jump
Bunge Jump is a fun indoor/outdoor activity for preschoolers. It is also great for improving motor skills for preschoolers while burning off some rambunctious energy. Flybar has a great indoor Bunge Jumper for preschoolers that can be easily used in imaginative play.
2. Build an Indoor Playhouse
Help your child build a fort using either pillow or blanket. If you are looking for something more practical, get your child a Kiddey Play Tent set. You will be amazed by seeing how they architect a little place of their own.
3. Walking on Balance Beam
Balancing is more than just a physical activity. It develops balance and co-ordination skills and helps preschoolers learn body awareness. Get a floor balance beam and have your child try to walk along the beam with outstretched hands. Slowly make it harder by incorporating physical movement activities such as walkovers, donkey kicks, handstands, jumps, and leaps.
4. Set Up an Indoor Fun Play Gym
Help your child develop good exercise habits from an early age. Build an indoor gym for your little gymnast. Try to promote fun and imaginative play by incorporating equipment such as Indoor Climbing Equipment, Trampolines, and Indoor Swings.
Outdoor Physical Activities for Preschoolers
Here are some fun outdoor activities for preschoolers that will keep them busy for hours!
This is something you can add to kids’ daily routine. Running not only helps your child’s cognitive development, but it also improves their mental health. Encourage your child to run daily. You can also set a good example by running together in the afternoon daily.
2. Lily Pad Jumping
Fun outdoor activities like Jumping on the Lily Pads help children develop motor skills, balance, and core muscle. Use chalk, masking tape, or hoops to make four lily pads stretching out in a straight line. Then put targets on the lily pads and have kids jump like a frog from lily pad to lily pad. Here is a good reference video you can follow.
3. Scavenger Hunt
This is quite a popular game that is loved by little kids because of all the fun surprises they find and the thrill of seeking them out. This game doesn’t require any intense physical activity but can still get the mind and body pumping.
4. Mow the Lawn
Are we telling you to let your child mow the lawn? Hell no! Little Tikes kid’s lawn mower will encourage pretend play and get your kid moving. She/he will love pushing it around the house and in the back yard. What’s more, it makes a fun popping noise when pushed.
Physical Activities for Children (Ages 6-8 years)
Children are designed to move around. They should be making things, trying, failing, trying again, all while actively engaged. There are ways to get children to be physically active both indoors and outdoors.
Indoor Physical Activities for Children
Check out these fun and creative indoor play ideas when you’re stuck at home.
1. Do Chores Together
Age-appropriate chores boost confidence and teach children not to expect handouts. Let them help you clean dishes, put food on plates, feed to the dog, etc. Cook a desert from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. Your little harry potter fan will enjoy the whole time in the kitchen.
2. Try Yoga Poses with Your Kids
Do you know that the best age to start doing yoga is 8? Yoga can improve the strength, coordination, and flexibility of your child. Moreover, yoga lays the foundation for a fit lifestyle that children can carry with them for a lifetime. Get a cute yoga mat for your little yogi, put on some soothing sound effects, and start doing some easy and fun yoga for kids’ poses from the book “Yoga for Children.”
3. Skipping Ropes
Skipping ropes can enhance your child’s coordination and agility. Get a quality jump rope and get started skipping with your child. It can be done indoors as well as outdoors.
Outdoor Physical Activities for Children
Here are some fun physical activities that are perfect for a dry and shiny day.
1. Obstacle Course
If you’re looking for something more challenging and fun, then this is the one for you. This is just like a normal chase but with obstacles in the way to add a little twist. It’s even more beneficial than normal chasing because it tests their reflex skills and mental capacity. You can also make a fun American Ninja Warrior course in your back yard and enjoy a great weekend with your child.
2. Throwing Activities
It is essential for a child to engage in activities that ultimately improve hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and timing. Throwing is a perfect exercise for that. Sports that involve throwing such as baseball, basketball, and volleyball should be encouraged to play. If you want to keep it simpler, then just set a target and make the child aim for it with every throw.
Create small running competitions for your children and their friends. Running is a very simple but very beneficial exercise for children. You can also offer incentives to make the game more enjoyable.
4. Bicycle Riding
Bicycle riding can help your child get their calf muscles in shape. Children also love the thrill that comes with bike rides. Just remember to keep their helmets on!
Swimming is a very important life skill to have. In addition, swimming is fun and a great way to increase your child’s stamina and posture. It’s better to start swimming lessons from a very young age because it can be more difficult to catch onto as they get older.
How Often Should Children Get Physical Activities?
It depends on the age of the child, because children under 2 years old may not need such regular activity. Older children must take part in regular physical activities to keep their bodies healthy. Physical activities should be simple and less-intense for kids. But after hitting the pre-school mark, the intensity should gradually increase with age.
The above list of physical activities for kids can create a foundation for a healthy and fit lifestyle. It is important to emphasize the benefits of exercise to children from a young age. They do not always have to be intense and tiring but can be fun and calming too. However, It may not always be easy to get them to do activities so often offer some incentives, fun, or competitive games. Embrace a healthier lifestyle yourself, be a role model to your children.