These days kids are more exposed to technology than ever before. Most kids learn to control a smartphone or tablet at such an early age that they spend more time looking at screens than doing any physical activity.
While to a certain degree these gadgets help in the learning process of a child, too much screen time can also harm your child. They need to spend more time moving about and consuming their energy in a better way. They also need to develop their gross motor skills which will be difficult to do if they keep staying indoors and spending too much time in front of gadgets.
As parents, it is our role to find ways for our kids to still love doing outdoor activities. This is a challenge since lots of outdoor games already have virtual counterparts.
So how can you encourage your children to go out and play?
You should make outdoor playtime more fun and engaging and different from anything they play virtually. Enjoy this list of outdoor physical activities for preschoolers.
Toddlers have so much energy since they are still growing and developing. This makes it even more important for them to find various kids’ activities that allow them to use that energy. It can help them develop physically and mentally.
Physical activity can help kids in their development. They learn better focus, better mental capacity, and better behavior development which can lead to performing better in school.
Some benefits of having a physically active child are:
- Better sleeping habits
- Build stronger bones
- Enhance fine motor skills with gross motor activities
- Healthier weight and overall wellbeing
- Improve coordination
- Higher endurance and flexible
- Improve body posture
- Enhance ability to focus
- Become more confident
When your preschooler does fewer physical activities, they physically develop slower and might gain early health problems like high blood pressure and excessive weight gain. It could also lead to the manifestation of heart diseases and other internal problems.
Just like how adults need to exercise to maintain a healthy body, children are no exception. This makes it even more important to help them understand the importance of physical activity at a younger age. What better way to help them grasp the idea of a healthy body and a healthy mind than to let them get used to physical activities?
Here are a few outdoor physical activities toddlers can enjoy with parents, family, friends, and even with themselves:
This game is fun and easy to set up. All you need are things that can be randomly found in your home. Choose toys, pens, balls, and any other item that your kids are familiar with. Hide them around your yard at different levels of difficulty. Some should be easier to find than others. This way, your toddler won’t feel too frustrated while searching, which could happen if you hide them in difficult places. Remember that the objective of the game is to let them have fun while staying outdoors. The easy ones they find will encourage them with the little wins.
Then create a list of the items you’ve hidden and give it to your kid to search for. Make it extra fun by giving them drawings or photos of the objects instead of a simple list.
Kids love to play in the water. This would especially be fun during the summer. If you want to, you could even start teaching them how to swim at an early age. This will tremendously help them to build a stronger body while having fun!
Put a twist to your usual scavenger hunt with the help of a mobile phone. This is something this younger generation will love to do since they are more familiar with smartphones already.
All you need to do is play music on your phone, then hide it somewhere outside your home. Then, your child can go ahead and search for the phone by following the sound.
Of course, you can also do it another way by using a blindfold on your child and using basic sounds like clapping or making animal sounds so they can come and find you.
Whatever way you choose, one thing is for sure – it’s a great physical activity, and you are also helping your child improve their auditory skills.
Print our circles or cut them out from colored paper. The colors should be that of the traffic lights – red, yellow, and green.
The rule is for the rest of the kids to move towards the lights when the green paper is raised, move slower when it’s yellow, and stop when it’s red.
This is also a great way to help them understand the purpose of traffic lights and why following them is important for safety.
Some variations only use the green and red colors and that’s a great option, too.
For this activity, you will need vegetable toys that pair up with a flashcard showing the same vegetable. Hide the toys around the yard and give out a card for your child to search for the vegetable that matches the one on the cards you give them.
You can check out these printable vegetable flashcards to help you get started with this activity. If there are no toys, matching flashcards will also do. This will not only serve as a physical activity but also a great way for them to learn their vegetables as well!
Have them crawl, jump over, hop, roll, run, and climb throughout a kiddie obstacle course that you can easily set up yourself using whatever you can find at home like boxes, hula hoops, chairs, etc.
Of course, you will want to be sure that you set it up in a safe area and be attentive every step of the way.
Hide and seek is a classic outdoor game that kids of all ages love to play. But of course, for your toddler, you should make sure that you condition them first about the game. In the beginning, make yourself easier to find. You should wait until you can see that they are getting more comfortable with the idea that it is just a game before hiding a lot better overall.
You can also make sounds like imitating animal voices or doing gentle coughing sounds to guide them towards where you are hiding. If they don’t find you after some time, they might start to get scared.
The outdoors is a great place for your kids to become more active. They get a breath of fresh air, good sun exposure, and have the time of their day playing with you and your family or friends.
Check out some creative movement activities here.