Exercise for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Once your baby is able to walk, he has reached a crucial point in his development. As a toddler, and even as an older preschooler, it is important for you to help your child build and develop coordination through a wide selection of toys, sports, and regular outings to avoid his favoring sedentary habits.
The toddler's basics of movement involve learning how his toys work. Make sure to have plenty of pull/push toys, balls in various sizes, musical instruments, ride-on toys, child-size brooms/mops or gardening and lawn equipment, sports equipment, and at least a couple tumbling mats and butterfly nets. From learning how to move the wheels on a walker, to squealing with delight when his toy dog barks with each tug on the string, or even helping you sweep the kitchen floor—your child will begin to see that interacting with and enjoying the world around him is hands-on. The more he moves, the more energy he burns, keeping him fit.
Physical activity is also a mood-booster, so your child will tend to have a more positive self-image. Plus, you have the added benefit of having more restful nights for the whole family after your youngster is tuckered out from "playing hard" during the day.
Once your child has mastered walking, running, climbing, and even jumping, you can start to include some of these activities:
- Hopscotch or jump rope
- Kite flying
- Sledding with an adult
- Ball games
- Chasing games
- Leap frog
Encourage your child to walk as often as possible by:
- Visiting museums, zoos, and aquariums.
- Visiting community or amusement parks, playgrounds, or campgrounds, and fitness facilities.
- Walking instead of driving to closer destinations.
- Refraining from parking closer to your destinations.