There’s only so much CBeebies a toddler (and mum!) can watch, but sometimes you just need a bit of inspiration about new and exciting ways to get active with your little-un. We feel you!
You may have spent most of your school days avoiding PE, but getting active with your toddler is a heck of a lot more fun than cross country round a freezing field used to be. Still sceptical? We’ve come over all scout leader like to help you encourage your shorty to get sporty. We might not be able to guarantee your toddler turns into the next Usain Bolt, but getting her outside and active is a brilliant way to boost development.
Experts recommend children under five are active for at least 180 minutes a day. Not only does it help your little one maintain a healthy weight, physical activity is also a big part of the way kiddies get to know the world around them. But though being ‘active’ should involve more than a gentle stroll in the buggy to the local coffee shop, it doesn’t have to mean a 10-mile sprint round the park!
We’ve put the cuppa down and hauled ourselves off the sofa to show you the gentle way to encourage your toddler to be more active*.
*Gym kit not required
Experts recommend children under five are active for at least 180 minutes a day
The park is your best friend
But if you feel like your little one is getting a bit bored of the usual swing, slide, roundabout routine try to mix it up a little. You could encourage him to do all his usual activities in a certain order and time limit. Run round the roundabout three times, go down the slide twice, 10 swings on the swing etc... Circuit training for toddlers!
Ditch the Bugaboo
If your toddler protests at having to walk, tell her today is ‘adventure day’. Take a different route than the usual walk to the High Street. And make up a little tick-off sheet of things she can spot on the journey. Simple things like car, lamppost, tree, butterfly, bird, shop may sound boring, but it will keep them interested and add a new focus to the journey. Educational and Active. Winning!
Set up camp
Head out to the garden/park if the weather’s nice or under the table if it’s not (Inside it is then!) Encourage your toddler to collect all the bits and bobs needed to build a den. A blanket/sheet, some cushions, er anything else needed to make a den? Might not sound like much but it will help build muscle strength and co-ordination. And, its blooming good fun! Who didn’t love building dens as a kid? Exactly!
Allocate a tiny patch of the garden to be your toddler’s. In this spot (and this spot only!) he can dig, bury things, rake, make mud castles/cakes and generally do anything he likes without digging up next door’s prized begonias. No space? No worries – allocate a pot or window box where she can do the same. Just watch out she doesn’t decide to try worms for lunch. Bleugh!
Ok we’re not suggesting you don a whistle and order your toddler to drop and give you 10, but a gentle assault course is a fun way to get her moving. Lay out a sheet and tell her to crawl under it, a hoola hoop they can jump in and out of, some balls/fruit to throw into a basket/bucket – you get the idea.