As you get engrossed in the world of teaching reading don’t forget about the importance of movement and physical activities for toddlers. Exercising keeps children healthy, improves their posture, inspires kids to be more outgoing and social. Physical activities are extremely important for your child's early development years as well. Movement activities and regular exercises promote cognitive development in children during the early years.
Toddlers and physical activities
For children of this age (12-36 months) physical activities are very important. Because this is a time when children are just learning about their bodies and their capabilities. With every new physical activity, a child gets an ability to have more confidence in his/her moves, and therefore their body awareness is forming. There are many tools available
You should not forget, that children at this age need all types of movement - to walk, run, balance, jump. These movements are very important for developing the right posture, the feeling of balance and improving physical skills. The other reason why you should create plenty of exercises for your toddler is that children of this age really enjoy them. Through them, children learn about their bodies and with time gain full control over them.
“Body Crossover Exercise” Activity.
- Ask your child to join you in doing a crossover exercise. Touch your right knee with your left elbow. When you are saying: “It’s time to change” do the opposite. Touch your left knee with your right elbow.
- Continue having fun, ask your child to put his/her right thumb on his/her left ear. Then your child needs to touch his/her right ear with his/her left thumb. Tell your child that when you say, “It’s time to change!” he/she needs to reverse the position of their hands. This activity can get hilarious!
Having a trampoline in your home can be a great energy burner as well!
Try another great movement activity below.
“Musical Statues” movement game
- Put some music on – it can be your child's favorite song or a song that you both enjoy. When the music is playing start dancing with your child. When both of you are carried away stop the music suddenly and say: “Freeze”!
- You and your child need to freeze in whatever positions you were caught. Discuss your poses - what animals walk like that, and have a good laugh!
It's very common for movement activities to be paired with music activities. The two really complement each other. Therefore, music and movement activities should be completed together, as only together they create a special atmosphere of fun and enjoyment (the same is with adults, whenever we go to the gym or exercise at home we always put music on).
Don't forget about toddler's favorite physical activities! Children just love playing "You are a champion" activity.
"You are a champion" physical activity for toddlers
Materials: a small ball.
- As few as two players can take part in this activity. So you can start playing together with your child even this afternoon!
- If your child has friends over and they decide to play together, we suggest that there should not be more than 5 individuals involved, as if it gets crowded other players need to wait for too long.
- This activity has 5 rounds. In every round, a player is given a chance to kick a ball with his/her feet in the air. When the ball drops on the ground it's the next player's turn.
- There is going to be a winner of every round - but only the winner of all 5 rounds is a Champion!
- Finally, to add variety and whole-body exercise you can add some new rules. For example, you can allow a ball to be kicked with hands, palms, and feet.
- As a result, some children tend to be very competitive, so this game will be a lot of fun!
To sum up, movement and physical activities for children are not just fun. They can develop reasoning, mathematical thinking, coordination, creativity and promote a child’s inner talents. Physical activities for toddlers are an important part of overall cognitive, physical and emotional development of your child.
- Edwards L. C. (2013). Music and Movement. A way of Life for the Young Child (7th Edition). Upper Sadly River, NJ: Pearson.