We are very fortunate in this state that when winter comes we all go outside. Parks, playgrounds, and backyards are open to fun for the entire family and a great way to get fit.
Below are some great ideas from the Illinois Early Learning Project.
- Offer play equipment and toys that help toddlers get moving. Provide large blocks, construction toys, riding toys, balls and beanbags, and climbers.
- Schedule at least 60 minutes daily for active free play. Toddlers need more than an hour of unstructured physical play in a safe place every day. Let them set their own pace! They can walk, run, roll, climb, slide, pull, push, throw, and jump until they’re tired.
- Turn off the TVs, DVDs, and computers. Toddlers should not sit in one place or lie down for more than an hour at a time except when sleeping.
- Plan ways to make exercise fun. Up to 60 minutes a day of structured physical activities can be good for toddlers:
- Lead them in creative movement. Toddlers practice skills and learn new ways to move by pretending to be animals, workers, or machines.
- Make an obstacle course. Indoors or out, toddlers can take turns going over, under, around, and between furniture, boxes, and climbing equipment.
- Move to music! Bounce, sway, clap, march, dance, or play rhythm instruments. Teach musical games like “Ring around the Rosie.”
- Exercise together. Make it a part of your routine. Do stretches before lunch. Play in the park or take a walk before the sun goes down (but not too close to bedtime!).
- Set a good example. Let toddlers see you walk, run, bike, build, dance, climb, or play ball.
- Keep safety in mind. Check with a health care provider if you have questions or concerns about the physical activities that toddlers can do.
- Share books about people being active. Stories about activities such as sledding, canoeing, dancing, building, gardening, or playing sports show toddlers the benefits of being fit.
Have fun out there!