The Importance of Physical Activity
Regular physical activity is important at any age, but getting your youngster practising healthy habits from the start will set them up for a lifetime of good fitness and mobility. As adults, we can sometimes see our set physical activities as a chore, but we must remember that children are naturally bursting with energy, as long as we make it fun they will embrace any opportunity to burn off some of that steam!
Healthy physical activities for 0 to 2-year-olds:
Even before your baby can stand or support themselves, they can practice ‘tummy time’ on a mat or blanket. While supervised on their tummy, just lifting their own head is brilliant for many of their newly developing muscle groups. As they learn to roll, creep and crawl you can even place a favourite toy in front of them to encourage more reach and movement.
Babies under a year old will benefit greatly from just having the freedom to move around in a safe environment. With proper supervision they should practice; crawling, pulling themselves up, walking (with support if needed), reaching, rolling, sitting, rocking, bopping, kicking and clapping. All natural, yet super fun, movements for a little learner!
Once your baby starts to toddle you can practice and encourage many new movements. Depending on the developmental stage of your child they may need more or less support from you, but always be sure to supervise. They can start to use some of the play equipment at the park, and walkers, cars, trikes and even furniture can all aid a great toddler workout. Also, if you haven’t already, it’s time to start enjoying the swimming pool together.
Self-confidence, balance and spatial awareness are all essential skills that develop through physical activity and good mobility.
Healthy physical activities for 2 to 5-year-olds:
Anywhere can be a playground for a 2-5 year old and almost anything can be turned into a game! As long as the area is safe and spacious enough, and there is appropriate adult supervision, this age group often don’t need too much encouragement to tear around. But if they do need some inspiration, try some of these fun activities:
- Blowing and chasing bubbles or jumping in puddles
- Bounce and catch with soft sponge or beach balls
- Catch and throw with beanbags or soft toys
- Music, rhythm and rhyme – encourage songs and lots of silly dancing
- Mimicking animals; jump like a rabbit, walk like a chicken, flap like a bird
- Play in parks, make use of the swings and the monkey bars and:
- Don’t forget that swimming pool!
Good childcare centres such as the Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning and Childcare Centres in NSW, encourage a great range of physical activity in their centres. The fun activity-based curriculum is very hands-on and the state-of-the-art play areas all offer water play features, shade sails and sandpits. The majority also boast in-ground trampolines and fixed climbing equipment.
Enrol with your local centre now!