Kids between 3 and 5 years old need to be active in order to learn new skills, develop coordination and improve physical fitness. The CDC recommends kids between these ages be active about 3 hours a day in fun preschool activities and engaging ways that aren’t too strenuous or challenging.
Playing freeze dance helps children develop their fine motor skills and social interactions. Adding stuffed animals to the game makes it even more fun for preschoolers.
Green Light/Red Light Game
This simple game, which can be played indoors with a little modification or outdoors, helps children build agility and learn to listen carefully. Choose one child to be the “traffic cop.” Facing the group and standing a dozen or so feet away, the traffic cop closes his eyes and counts, “red light, green light, one, two, three!” The other players race toward him as long as the traffic cop’s eyes are closed. If he opens his eyes and sees anyone moving, that player is sent back to the starting line. The first player to reach the traffic cop wins.
To make the game more challenging, change up the commands or add in a yellow light. For example, instead of a red light, you could use the command stop and freeze’ or even add in an action like turning on the spot or doing jumping jacks. Then kids have to work out how to space out the calls and keep track of their movements without getting caught out.
A favorite outdoor activity, obstacle courses help kids develop strength and coordination while challenging their motor skills. They can even work on memory as they try to remember which order the obstacles occur in and how to get over or around each one.
Tunnels and hoops can be used to create a simple obstacle course that gets kids moving quickly. You can also add secondary obstacles to make the course more interesting. For example, a basketball hoop can be used to practice aiming and dexterity skills or the children could use items they find in a large bin to create a fishing obstacle where they have to reach into the bin and “fish” out a specific item.
Increasing the number of obstacles and varying them with different activities will keep kids interested in this engaging activity that helps strengthen their muscle strength and problem-solving skills. This is also a great way to promote exploration of controlled risk with children who might not be ready for more challenging activities like jumping over puddles or climbing up furniture.
Kids who play team sports like soccer can build balance and coordination skills while also improving their cardiovascular fitness levels. In addition, kicking and running can help children grow their muscle strength and improve bone health as well.
Getting kids to interact with different people from the same group and rejoice with each other can boost their social-emotional well-being. Developing these skills at an early age is crucial for children as they get older and become adults.
One great way to encourage kids to engage in physical activity is to introduce them to games that involve catching and throwing. Tossing a ball back and forth to each other is an easy, adjustable game for younger toddlers, while older preschoolers may want to play more structured games with teams and other rules. Playing toss and catch games can also teach kids to listen and follow directions.
Playing games that involve throwing and catching can help kids improve their hand-eye coordination, which is important for their overall motor skills. This is an easy activity that can be played indoors or outside, and can also help develop arm strength.
Another simple game that works on both fine and gross motor skills is the balloon chase. This is a fun way to get active outdoors with your kids and can be done with just a few supplies.
To play this game, simply have each child form a circle. Have one person be “it.” They run around the circle and try to tag everyone in the circle. If they tag someone, that person must sit down. The last person left standing wins the game. Other fun outdoor group activities include walking on a line of pillows or playing a trash can game with water squirters. Make sure to supervise this game closely as the pieces of burst balloon can be a serious choking hazard for younger children.