Raising healthy active kids
While keeping active is important for a number of health reasons, your toddler also uses movement and play to make sense of the world, developing socially, emotionally and cognitively too.
Start building healthy habits early with these fun activities you can do together:
• Balloon volleyball – Blow up a balloon and take turns hitting it up into the air. See how long you can keep the balloon off the ground. Mix it up by using different body parts, and count out loud the number of hits you can get up to. Can you beat your high score?
• Become tightrope walkers – Set up a balance beam, starting with a line on the ground or a plank of wood. Can your little one balance all the way across and back?
• Pretend the floor is lava – Lay out pieces of coloured paper on the floor and get your toddler to choose one or two colours. Together, your mission is to try and get from one side of the room to the other without touching the floor, only using those chosen coloured pages as assistance. Practise jumping and balancing from one page to another. Change up the colours and try again. If you have no coloured paper, pillows and towels work just as well
• Play statues – Turn on some music and dance to the beat. When the music pauses, everyone has to freeze like a statue
• Follow the leader – Imagine you are going on an adventure through the jungle – climb, crawl, balance and creep around the backyard or through house. Take turns being the leader, and watch out for snakes!
• Try your hand at sock ball – For this you will need a few pairs of rolled up socks and a large bowl or bucket. Take aim with your sock balls and try and get it into the bucket. Once your toddler scores get them to take a few steps back and try again. If they are having trouble you can hold the bucket as they throw to help catch the ball
• Animal charades -Take turns acting out different animals (with no sounds for a real challenge) until someone guesses correctly. Try running like a crab, jumping like a kangaroo, flapping like a bird or slithering like a snake
Learn more from the Ministry of Health about keeping active as a family, check out their activities for under-5s.