Your kids shouldn’t be sedentary for more than an hour at a time. Here’s how to keep a toddler active, both indoors and outdoors.
“Let’s go for a walk around the block,” I suggested to my two-year-old today. He ran to the front door to put his shoes and hat on, and off we went for a 40-minute stroll up and down our neighborhood.
As simple as a walk may be, I rely on similar activities to make sure my little guy gets movement every day. I’ve learned how to keep a toddler active, from simple exercise to bigger outings.
We don’t need to push our kids to be active. Leave them to their own devices and they’ll find their own inventive ways to keep their bodies moving. Sometimes though, the entire day seems to have flown by and all we’ve done is sit around the house.
I came up with a list of ideas on how to keep my toddler active should I find myself sitting on the couch wondering what to do.
Here’s how to keep a toddler active:
- Walk around the neighborhood
- Visit a local campus
- Head over to the mall (my kiddo loves an outdoor one with fountains)
- Explore a children’s museum
- Act like a tourist and visit the hot spots in your area
- Take a hike (preferably an easy hike or one that you can leave easily should your toddler tire out quickly)
- Run around at the park
- Climb on a playground
- Walk along a nature trail
- Walk or run on a track
- Rough house indoors
- Play hide and seek
- Run around and chase
- Play catch
- Kick a soccer ball around
- Fly a kite (your kid will likely love chasing after the kite as it takes a nose dive to the ground like mine tend to do)
- Go swimming
- Walk along the beach
- Turn up the music and dance
- Do “gymnastics” in the house (e.g. leg kicks, tumbles)
Promoting health and exercise
Above all, I try to instill the habit of finding joy in being active. Up until I was about 10 years old, I had a pretty active childhood. I played in the backyard, I romped around with my cousins and rode my bicycle every day.
But we moved to a new area different from what I was used to. The active fun changed to TV watching, junk food and not enough opportunities to be outdoors. It wasn’t joining the dance team in high school I was able to exercise daily.
As an adult, I appreciate exercise, even if it’s just to walk and get my muscles going and heart pumping. I want my toddler to enjoy the benefits of exercise while keeping the activities fun.
Perhaps the best way for a toddler to appreciate an active life is to set a healthy example. For some, that may be the sheer joy and pride in finishing a marathon. For myself, it could be relishing a nice walk out in the park. And for others, playing a game of chase can convince kids that being active is healthy and enjoyable.
After work play ideas
Do you struggle with finding time after work to play with your kids? Download my FREE play ideas calendar, perfect for the early evening hours! The first sheet includes ideas for the weekdays, while the second is a blank template to fill with your own ideas. Download it below:
Get more tips:
- 9 Ways to Keep Kids from Getting Sick at School
- How to Raise Kids Who Want to Eat Healthy
- Promote Healthy Eating Habits for Kids
- How to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables
- 15 Creative Ways to Keep Your Toddler Busy Indoors
What are your tips on how to keep a toddler active? What physical activities do you and your kids enjoy?