Best Physical Activities for Children Under 5 Years

Are you looking for fun and engaging ways to keep your little ones active and healthy? Look no further! This blog post will explore the best physical activities for children under 5 years old. From indoor games to outdoor play, these activities are fun and promote physical and mental development. Let's dive in and discover the benefits of physical activity for children and why it is essential for their overall well-being.


Why Kids Under 5 Need to Be Physically Active

There are many benefits of physical activities for young children for several reasons:


Physical Development

Physical activity helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints. It improves strength, flexibility, and endurance, laying the foundation for a healthy body.


Motor Skills Development

Engaging in various physical activities enhances both gross and fine motor skills. These skills are essential for everyday activities such as walking, running, writing, and self-care tasks.


Cognitive Development

Physical activity stimulates brain development in kids and improves cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. Active play also encourages creativity and imagination.


Emotional Well-being

Physical activity helps children manage stress and anxiety. It boosts mood and promotes better sleep patterns, contributing to overall emotional well-being.


Social Skills

Participating in group physical activities teaches children critical social skills such as cooperation, sharing, and teamwork. It also provides opportunities to build friendships and develop a sense of community.


Also read: The Power of Associative Play in Early Childhood Development


Physical Activities for Children: 0-1 Years


Fun indoor exercises for babies and toddlers

Image Source: Behavioral Health Services North

Tummy Time

Tummy time is crucial for infants as it helps strengthen their neck, shoulder, and arm muscles. Start with a few minutes several times daily and gradually increase the duration. Use a soft blanket on the floor and engage your baby with toys or your face to encourage lifting their head.


Reaching and Grasping

Place toys out of your babys reach to encourage them to stretch and grasp. This activity helps develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Choose colorful and textured toys to stimulate their senses.


Rolling Over

Help your baby practice rolling over from back to tummy and vice versa. This milestone usually happens around 4-6 months. Use gentle encouragement and praise to motivate your baby to keep trying.


Supported Sitting

When your baby shows signs of being able to sit with support, prop them up with pillows or sit them on your lap. This helps them build core strength and balance. Always stay close to prevent falls.


Baby Yoga

Simple yoga poses can be fun for you and your baby to bond while promoting flexibility and relaxation. Look for classes or online videos that focus on baby-friendly yoga routines.


Physical Activities for Children: 1-2 Years


Dance Parties

Turn on some music and have a dance party with your toddler. Dancing is a great way to burn energy, improve coordination, and have fun together. Let your child lead the way with their moves.


Climbing Adventures

Encourage your child to climb if you have a safe climbing structure or access to a toddler-friendly playground. Climbing helps build strength, coordination, and confidence. Always supervise closely to ensure safety.


Ball Play

Soft, lightweight balls are perfect for toddlers. Practice rolling, throwing, and kicking the ball back and forth. These activities enhance hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills.


Indoor Activities for Kids Under 2


Crawling Games

Encourage your toddler to crawl through tunnels, under tables, or around obstacles. Crawling games help develop coordination, strength, and problem-solving skills. Set up a safe, obstacle-filled space for them to explore.


Push and Pull Toys

Push-and-pull toys like wagons, carts, and small strollers help toddlers practice walking while improving balance and strength. These toys also provide a fun way for them to transport their favorite stuffed animals or toys.


Physical Activities for Children: 2-3 Years


Nursery teacher helping one of her students during a physical education lesson


Running and Chasing Games

Encourage your child to run and play chasing games like tag. These activities help develop speed, coordination, and endurance. Make sure to play in a safe, open space free from obstacles.


Simple Sports

Introduce simple sports such as kicking a ball into a goal or throwing a ball into a basket. These activities help improve motor skills, coordination, and teamwork. Start with soft, lightweight equipment to ensure safety.


Nature Exploration

Take your child on nature walks to explore the outdoors. Encourage them to observe and interact with their environment. Nature exploration promotes physical activity, curiosity, and a love for nature.


Indoor Activities For Kids Under 3


Riding Toys

Tricycles, balance bikes, and ride-on toys are great for this age group. Riding toys help develop balance, coordination, and leg strength. Ensure your child wears a helmet and supervises closely.


Building and Stacking

Provide your child with blocks or other stackable toys. Building and stacking help develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving abilities. Encourage them to build towers or create structures.


Physical Activities for Children: 3-5 Years


Go into Nature

One of the best ways to keep children under 5 active is outdoor play. Consider going for a family hike, summer camp, visiting the beach, or having a picnic by the lakeside. This will help your kids explore their natural surroundings, encourage physical exercise, and get some fresh air. Encourage your little ones to observe the plants, animals, and natural elements around them, engage their senses, and appreciate the beauty of the outdoors. 


Check outFamily Camping Guide: Easy Tips for Outdoor Adventures


Playground Fun

Visiting a playground is a great way to provide children with a safe and stimulating environment to play and be active. From climbing in jungle gyms to swinging on monkey bars, playgrounds offer a variety of activities that help children develop their motor skills and physical fitness. Encourage your little ones to explore different play structures, engage in imaginative play, and interact with other children. Not only will they have fun, but they will also reap the benefits of physical activity.


Dance Party

Who says physical activity has to be boring? Turn up the music and host a dance party for your little ones! Dancing is a fun way for children to get moving and stay active. Put on their favorite songs, encourage them to dance and move to the beat, and watch as they blast while getting their heart rate up. Dancing helps children improve their coordination, balance, and rhythm while boosting their mood and energy levels. So put on those dancing shoes and get ready to groove!


DIY Sports Day

Transform your backyard into a mini sports day arena and host a DIY sports day for your little ones. Set up stations for running races, beanbag toss, hula hoop twirling, and sack races. Encourage children to participate in each activity and compete against themselves or each other. DIY sports days help children develop motor skills, coordination, and teamwork while promoting friendly competition and sportsmanship. Provide prizes or rewards for their efforts to make the day even more exciting. It's a great way to keep children under 5 engaged and having fun outdoors.


Indoor Activities For Kids Under 5


Yoga for Kids

Introducing yoga to young children can benefit their physical and mental well-being. Yoga helps children develop flexibility, strength, and balance while promoting relaxation and mindfulness. Many fun and engaging yoga poses are designed for kids that they will enjoy practicing. Whether pretending to be a tree, a cat, or a downward-facing dog, yoga can be a playful and calming activity for children under 5. Consider incorporating yoga into your child's daily routine to help them stay active and focused.


Obstacle Course

Setting up an obstacle course in your backyard or living room is a fantastic way to keep children under 5 entertained and active. Use everyday household items such as pillows, chairs, and toys to create a series of challenges that children can navigate. Whether crawling under a table, jumping over cushions, or balancing on a line, obstacle courses help children develop their motor skills, coordination, and problem-solving abilities. Encourage your little ones to complete the course as fast as possible or time them to see how quickly they can finish. It's a fun and exciting way to keep kids physically active and engaged.


Balloon Games

Balloons are a versatile and inexpensive tool for engaging children in physical activity. From balloon volleyball to balloon keep-up, you can play many creative games with balloons that promote coordination, hand-eye coordination, and gross motor skills. Encourage your little ones to hit the balloon back and forth, keep it in the air for as long as possible, or pass it between each other without letting it touch the ground. Balloon games are fun and help children improve their motor skills and coordination in a playful and interactive way.


Simon Says

The classic game of Simon Says is a perfect way to get children under 5 up and moving. This simple yet effective game encourages children to listen, follow instructions, and mimic movements, all while engaging in physical activity. Take turns being "Simon" and call out actions such as jumping, hopping, spinning, or clapping. Children must only perform the actions when preceded by the phrase "Simon says." This game helps children develop listening skills, coordination, and agility while having fun and staying active. It's a great indoor activity for rainy days or when outdoor play is not possible.


Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are fun and interactive to keep children under 5 active and engaged. Create a list of items for your little ones to find around the house or backyard, and let them search high and low to locate each item. Whether it's a specific toy, a colored object, or a natural item, scavenger hunts encourage children to move around, explore their surroundings, and use their observation skills. You can also add physical challenges such as jumping, skipping, or balancing to the hunt to keep children moving and active. Scavenger hunts promote physical activity and stimulate children's cognitive skills and creativity.



In conclusion, physical activity is crucial in promoting the health, development, and well-being of children under 5 years old. Encouraging little ones to be active through play, games, and outdoor activities helps them develop essential motor skills, coordination, strength, and endurance. It also improves their physical fitness, mental health, and social skills. As parents and caregivers, it is essential to prioritize and incorporate regular physical activity into children's daily routines to support their growth and development. Whether outdoor play, indoor games, or structured activities, there are plenty of fun and creative ways to keep children under 5 active and healthy. So get out there, have fun, and keep those little ones moving!

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