Playing physically active games gives kids the chance to grow their balance, coordination, strength and confidence. Activities like climbing, crawling, bending or stretching get them moving and learning about their little bodies.
Getting bodies moving
Wherever you live, there’s many opportunities for physical play:
- Ride ‘em – Bikes, scooters and other wheeled toys.
- Rope ‘em – Walk along, crawl under, use one to skip.
- Jump ‘em – Jump over a rope, while it’s still or being moved.
- Balance and control – Walk along garden edges, step along a hose or hop over a mat or brick.
Tag: Classic rules outdoors
- Choose one person to be ‘it’ and try to tag the other player/s.
- The other player/s need to run away from the person who is ‘it’.
- The person who is ‘it’ will try to tag the player/s, using their fingers gently.
Obstacle course fun
Making an obstacle course turns everyday items in to big fun.
Chairs, tables, tyres, ropes, logs, rocks and boxes can all become a great little landscape for your child to learn to move their body in. Encourage them to decide on their path and the actions to take to get around the obstacles. Follow them through the course to lend a hand when it’s needed and so that they feel like you’re involved.
Follow the leader
More fun with obstacles (outdoors or indoors).
- If you can, set up obstacles like chairs, tables, boxes or baskets.
- Ask your child to stand behind you and tell them to follow what you do.
- Lead the way, following the course around the objects.
- Move in different ways, such as jumping, hopping, running, crawling, climbing or sidestepping.
- Encourage your child to be the leader and you can follow them!
- To make it more challenging, move your body in different ways.
Basic ball skills
On-the-ball body control and strength.
Kids develop their hand-eye and foot-eye coordination when they throw and catch balls. It teaches them how to track moving objects and judge distance as they roll, throw, hit and kick. They also learn how to control their larger muscles. Here are some ball game ideas:
- Kick, throw and catch a ball alone or with a partner.
- Roll a ball in a line to hit a target. Move a little further away after each turn.
- Roll a ball to knock down homemade skittles or bowling pins (for example, plastic bottles filled with dirt, sand or water).
- Throw a ball at a target on a wall or fence on the ground.
- Bounce a ball on the ground with two hands, and catch it.
- Throw a ball in the air and catch it as it comes back down. Hit a large ball with a rolled newspaper to strike a target (for example, a tree or a fence).
- Hit a small ball, hanging in old stockings, with a hand, bat or racquet.
- Kick a ball at a wall and stop it with a hand or a foot as it bounces back. Kick a ball along between two rope lines on the ground.
- It may be easier for your child to learn to catch using a beanbag. Make a beanbag ball by filling an old sock with rice or dried beans.
Remember to play it safe
For starters, make sure your play area is safe. Check that obstacles are stable and safe to climb on. It might also help to talk about rules and safe ways to move. If there are ropes or bars to swing on, show your child how to swing safely: leaning forward and back, stretching legs, pushing legs out.