Physical activity is important for everyone, regardless of age. It promotes physical and mental health, as well as social and emotional well-being. For young children, physical activity is particularly important as it helps them develop gross and fine motor skills, coordination, balance, and strength. As a parent, you may be wondering how much physical activity your 2-year-old should be engaging in. Here's what you need to know!
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), children aged 1-2 years should engage in at least 180 minutes of physical activity per day. This can include a variety of activities such as active play, running, jumping, climbing, dancing, and games. However, it's important to note that this 180 minutes does not have to be continuous. It can be spread throughout the day in shorter periods of time. Check out the tips below for ideas on how to engage your 2-year-old in physical activity that will benefit important skills they're developing.
- Active play to develop gross motor skills - Active play is an important part of physical activity for young children and it helps them to develop their rapidly evolving gross motor skills (movements that involve the whole body, like running, walking, crawling, and jumping). This can include activities such as chasing bubbles, playing with balls, and running around outside. It's also important to provide opportunities for your child to climb, crawl, and explore their environment. This can be done indoors using soft play equipment or outdoors at a playground.
- Help develop fine motor skills - In addition to active play, it's important to provide opportunities for your child to develop their fine motor skills. This can include activities such as playing with playdough, building with blocks, and coloring. These activities help to develop hand-eye coordination and finger dexterity.
- Exercise through dance - Dancing is a great way to get your child moving. Put on some music and encourage your child to move along to the beat. This can be a fun way to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Let Storypod help you in this department with their curated library of children's songs, perfect for getting your groove on!
- Go for a walk - Children love nothing more than to spend time with their family. Go for a daily or weekly walk outside and explore some nature if you can. Not only will they get a nice bit of exercise and some fresh air, but you'll get the opportunity to bond with them and discuss the things you observe, like the pretty flowers or an interesting caterpillar crawling on a tree.
- Play simple games - Take the time to engage your toddler in simple, physical games like Ring Around the Rosey, Duck, Duck, Goose, Follow the Leader, and Hide & Seek!
It's important to remember that young children have short attention spans and may get bored quickly. It's important to provide a variety of activities to keep them engaged and interested. This can include rotating toys and activities on a regular basis.
Finally, it's important to lead by example. Children learn by watching and imitating their parents and caregivers. Make physical activity a part of your daily routine and encourage your child to join in. This can include going for a walk, playing at the park, or dancing together in the living room. By encouraging your child to be physically active, you are setting them on the path to a healthy lifestyle.