How much is enough? Physical activity guidelines for toddlers recommend that each day they:

1. Get at least 30 minutes of structured (adult-led) physical activity.

2. Get at least 60 minutes of unstructured (free play) physical activity.

3. Not be inactive for more than 1 hour at a time except when sleeping.

What Kids Can Do?

It’s important to understand what kids can do and what skills are appropriate for this age. By age 2, toddlers should be able to walk and run well. They might be able to kick a ball and jump in place with both feet. By age 3, toddlers usually can balance briefly on one foot, kick a ball forward, throw a ball overhand, catch a ball with stiff arms, and pedal a tricycle.

Keep these skills in mind when encouraging your child to be active. Play games together and provide age-appropriate active toys, such as balls, push and pull toys, and riding vehicles. Through practice, toddlers will continue to improve and refine their motor skills.

Family fitness with your toddler:

Also, these games provide fun and fitness for parents and toddlers:

1. Walk like a penguin, hop like a frog, or imitate other animals’ movements.

2. Sit facing each other and hold hands. Rock back and forth and sing the song “Row, row, row your boat.”

3. Bend at the waist and touch the ground. Walk your hands forward and inch along like a caterpillar.

4. Sit on the ground and let your child step over your legs, or make a bridge with your body and let your child crawl under.

5. Play follow the leader, “Ring around the rosy,” and other similar games.

6. Listen to music and dance together.

Older children:

Children need to be active every day to promote their healthy growth and development. By establishing healthy lifestyle patterns at a young age will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Children need 60 mins of physical activity every day ranging from moderate to vigorous activity, such as cycling, playing in the playground (swinging, using other play equipment), running, hopping, skipping and tennis.

Physical activities promote:

1. Healthy growth and development

2. Better self-esteem

3. Stronger bones, muscles and joints

4. Better posture and balance

5. A stronger heart

6. Social skills development via interaction with friends and similar age groups during such activities

7. Better focus, concentration and attention span

Children should:

1. Include a warm up and cool down as part of each of their activity session.

2. Drink water before, after and during the activities to stay hydrated.

3. Wear sunblock, hat and protective gear when outside in warmer weather.

4. Start at a level that matched their current fitness level.

5. Gradually build the intensity of their activities, such that the body is not strained.

What counts as vigorous activity:

There is good evidence that vigorous activity can bring greater health benefits than moderate activities. As a rule of thumb, 1 minute of vigorous activity provides the same health benefits of 2 minutes of moderate activities.

There is no fixed recommendation on the duration of vigorous activity.

Along with vigorous activities, daily physical activities need to be included in the exercise regiment this builds a balanced exercise profile and catalysis the growth and development of the child.

Preventing problems:

1. Children with chronic health conditions need customized fitness activities after medical consultation.

2. Physical activities risk injuries so be sure that your child is supervised and wears properly.

3. Protective equipment.

4. If your child complains of pain during activities talk to your doctor about it.

Being active is a key part of good health. Exercise strengths, their muscles and bones and ensures their bodies are capable of doing normal kids’ stuff, like lifting a bag pack or running a race.

The key is finding activities that they enjoy, keeping the focus on fun a mix of activities at home and at school are ideal.