As important as it is for our kids to eat a healthy daily diet, it is equally as important for our kids to incorporate daily physical activity to build strength, coordination, endurance, flexibility, and the confidence that will help lay the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle and healthy future. Whether you have a toddler, grade-schooler, or teenager, there are several options for each of these age groups to get them moving! In this blog, you will learn some guidelines on what activities are appropriate and effective by age group and how to best motivate your children to be active daily.
Physical Activities for 2-3-Year-Olds
Children 2 to 3 years old are naturally active as they are now walking, running, kicking, and throwing. This age is a great time to build on these skills by playing games with your child that incorporate age-appropriate balls, toys, riding vehicles, music, and explorative environments to help motivate movement and further define their motor skills. Thirty minutes a day of adult-supervised structured play plus 60 minutes a day of adult-supervised unstructured play is a great daily routine that will keep your child active while having fun. Some activity play ideas include:
- Mommy & Me Classes
- Swimming Lessons
- Kick Bowling
- Create an Obstacle Course
- Ride a Bike
- Dance to Fun Music
- Toss Balls in a Basket
- Duck, Duck Goose
- Bean Bag Toss
- Sidewalk Chalk Art
Physical Activities for 3-5-Year-Olds
Running, jumping, kicking, and throwing skills have progressed in this age group, and at this time, it’s best to continue to refine these skills, build on them, and increase the complexity while still having fun. It’s important at this age group to have kids physically active at least 3 hours a day and do adult-led activities that include jumping, hopping, and tumbling to strengthen their coordination and bones. Some activity play ideas include:
- Organized Team Sports
- Dance Class
- Yoga Class
- Go on a Nature Walk
- Backyard Scavenger Hunt
- Freeze Tag
- Play Catch
- Splash Pad
Physical Activities for 6-12-Year-Olds
In this school-aged group, kids want to gain more control over how active they are. They tend to have various activities, sports, and games to fit their personalities, abilities, and growing interests. Talking with them on what type of physical activities they’d like to participate in is key. It is recommended for this age group to get 1 hour or more of moderate to strong physical activity a day.
Encourage them to explore other kinds of physical activity areas like skateboarding, bicycling, rock wall climbing, surfing, martial arts, fencing, golf, and tennis to provide a wider variety that can tap into an unknown interest.
Physical Activities for 13-18-Year-Olds
As your kids enter their teen years, they might lose some interest in their daily physical activity routine given the demands of school, homework, social life, and part-time jobs. However, it is still important to encourage physical activity to help them with their energy level, mood, focus, sleep, and overall health. It’s equally important to allow them to choose how they want to stay physically active. It is recommended for this age group to get 1 hour or more of moderate to strong physical activity a day.
In addition to organized sports and activities previously mentioned, adult-supervised weight training and endurance types of activities, including track and field, are a great way to help strengthen muscles and bone development in this age group.
The Key Takeaway
Staying active at any age helps to promote overall health!
- KidsHealth from Nemours. Fitness and your 2- to 3-year-old. Fitness and your 3- to 5-year-old. Fitness and your 6- to 12-year-old. Fitness and your 13- to 18-year-old. Retrieved from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/fitness-6-12.html
- Playworld. 12 Physical Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers. Retrieved from https://playworld.com/blog/12-indoor-physical-activities-for-toddlers-and-preschoolers/
- Active For Life. 49 Fun Physical To Do With Kids Ages 2 to 4. Retrieved from https://activeforlife.com/49-fun-physical-activities-to-do-with-kids-aged-2-to-4/