Children need lots of physical activity to develop their motor skills and grow up healthy and strong, and you can foster your toddler or preschooler’s love of movement by making playtime active. To get started, consider these indoor and outdoor playtime toys, games and ideas:
• Ball toss: For little ones, beach balls are a fun, easy and gentle way to play catch and other simple games. Raise the stakes with “Beach Ball Lava,” where the object of the collaborative game is to keep bouncing the ball upwards so that it never touches the ground.
• Get riding: Ride-on toys are a great way to get your child comfortable with the idea of a tricycle or bicycle. Look for one with pizazz, such as the Sort & Recycle Ride-On Truck. This lean, green recycling machine will not only get kids active, but also encourage them to recycle. Made from 90% reclaimed plastic, the truck includes play pieces that represent plastic, metal and paper. Kids can drive around, and at the same time, learn about recycling and reusing everyday objects.
• Bounce around: Give little muscles and minds a mini workout with the Bounce & Discover Llama, which promotes gross motor skills, strength and balance. With a sturdy, stable base and an easy-grasp handle, kids can safely bounce and turn side-to-side while activating buttons that teach colors, shapes and numbers.
• Move to the beat: Whether you’re just having fun simply dancing around the room, using musical instruments like egg shakers and handbells, or you’re playing a game like “Freeze Dance,” one of the best ways to get people of all ages moving is with music! To play Freeze Dance, turn on the music and instruct everyone to dance. When the music is turned off, everyone must freeze until the music is turned on again.
• All aboard: The best toys are those that grow with your child’s physical and cognitive abilities. For example, the 4-in-1 Learning Letters Train from VTech takes kids from floor play to walker push toy to ride-on to pull cart. Featuring 16 activities that help build motor skills while teaching about letters, numbers, places and more, kids can visit new locations in the travel book, explore the 13 double-sided alphabet blocks, and even build a tower on the pull cart.
Different kinds of movement are important, so be sure to introduce a range of toys and games into the mix to ensure your child gets a variety of physical activity at playtime.