Young children are naturally inquisitive, diagnosis intrinsically interested, and inherently active. Getting preschool-age kids up and moving usually doesn’t require bribery or much pushing.
Even with their innate desire to move, we can help our preschoolers receive solid motor-developing fitness opportunities.
How To Encourage Preschool Fitness
- Keep it fun. Game-like activities keep interest up and show our kids early on that activity and fitness can be fun!
- Keep it short. Short bouts of activity perfectly fit the 2- to 6-year-old age range. Kids this age need at least 90 minutes of activity each day, but that 90 minutes won’t happen in one continuous stretch.
- Keep it encouraging. And keep at it. Over-teach a concept if you need to. Allow for large amounts of repetition for children to practice a new motor movement or novelty direction.
A Simple Yet Effective Fitness Game – Beanbag Dancing!
For some reason, kids love beanbags. Grab a few beanbags (you can purchase beanbags with numbers, fruits/vegetables, colors, shapes, and more on them), put on some upbeat music, and get ready to move!
- For younger toddler or early preschool, see if they can balance a beanbag on their shoulders for 10 seconds while swaying to the music, then switch to an elbow, to under their chins, or to tops of their feet. Try hopping on two feet to the beat while squeezing the beanbag between their elbows or knees. Can they even walk around or side step to the music while balancing a beanbag on their head?
- For upper preschool ages, offer “challenges.” Can they pass a beanbag from their knees to someone else’s knees without touching the beanbag with their hands? Can they toss the beanbag up in the air, clap once, and then catch the beanbag—10 times in row? Can they make up their own dance move with the beanbag and perform it to the music for 20 seconds?
Older siblings can conjure up directions and dance moves for the younger kids, too.
Four More Preschool Fitness Ideas
- Get Up and Move Dice from Growing a Jeweled Rose – This game is simple, homemade, and fun!
- Balloon Badminton from I Can Teach My Child – We used to play a version of this game when I taught physical education in public schools. Balloons, plates as “bats” – what more could a toddler or preschooler ask for? You can provide “challenges” for your child with this game, too. (Examples: Can you tap the balloon up in the air 10 times in a row? Can you flip the paddle over each time you tap the balloon?)
- ABC Exercise Cards in the My Body Lapbook from Homeschool Share – This large document has many great resources, including ABC exercise cards to use for quick activity times or within games.
- I Can Spell My Name Hopscotch from In Lieu of Preschool – A simple, fun way for preschoolers to practice letter order, spelling name, and activity! Check out the variations she suggests at the bottom of the post, too.
What fitness activities do you participate in with your preschoolers?