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!
Josh, Physical Therapy Team