A note about the author, Erin Olson is a Community Health Consultant with the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Preschool-aged children should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development. Physical activity habits learned in early childhood can last a lifetime. Here are some low-cost ways you can incorporate physical activity into your schedule, no matter what space and equipment you have to work with.
Moving to Music
Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can create opportunities for movement by using music. Play soothing music during infants’ tummy time; provide instruments and have a toddlers’ parade. Preschoolers can play “freeze dance.”
Encourage children to work together to form different shapes (circles, triangles, rectangles) and letters (“C” and “Y”) out of their bodies. Older children can help younger children. If you have infants, hold them so they can watch.
Clean Up the Floor
Divide a play area in half with a barrier (rope, tape, cones, etc.) and dump a basket full of soft balls, fuzzy dice, or roll up a pair of socks on each side. Tell the children to throw the objects over the barrier to the other side. The goal is to get all the balls to the other side. Set a timer, let the children throw, and when the time is up, count how many are on each side and play again!
Check out these additional resources on low cost ways to promote physical activity:
Sesame Street Healthy Habits for Life
Nemours Healthy Kids Healthy Future
Iowa Team Nutrition Move for Thought