Toddlers can move around independently, but they still have to learn when and how to stop. Here are some play ideas to help you create a fun and safe environment where your toddler can walk, run, jump, dance and more.
Daily movement for toddlers: why it’s important
Movement is important for your toddler’s learning and overall health and wellbeing.
Play is one of the main ways that children learn and develop, so play is the best way to get your toddler moving.
Playing each day helps your toddler build stronger muscles and bones. It also lets her practise her physical skills. You’ll find that her confidence grows as she climbs higher, runs faster and jumps further.
What to expect: toddlers and movement
At this age, your toddler will probably:
As your toddler heads towards three years, you might see that she can’t keep still – she’s always running, jumping or kicking! She might even try to climb up and over you or other familiar grown-ups, especially if you get down on the floor and play together.
Walking is also now the heel-to-toes grown-up style, rather than the legs-apart style of a new walker.
Your toddler is also becoming more coordinated and is better at doing simple things for himself. For example, toddlers can start dressing independently, eating independently with a spoon and fork, and drinking from a cup. By three years they can manage toilet training.
Your child will probably want to test all the limits, climbing as high and running as far as possible – small bumps and falls are common. This is a normal part of how children learn and develop.
Play ideas to get your toddler moving
Toddlers, play, movement and learning all go together. Here are some play ideas to get your toddler moving and learning at the same time:
Obstacles to toddler movement
Things like screen time or too much time sitting in car seats can stop toddlers from getting the benefits of daily movement and play.
Try to limit your toddler’s screen time. Screens include television, computers, tablets and other electronic games and devices.
The latest guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics say that:
It’s also worth thinking about how much time your toddler spends in a car seat, pram or stroller each day. Toddlers should be inactive for no more than one hour at a time. Your toddler will probably let you know that an hour of being made to sit still is more than enough!
If your child isn’t running smoothly by three years, or shows little interest in exploring actively, it’s a good idea to talk with your paediatrician or General Practitioner (GP).
Bath time is a good way to soothe your baby but it can also be a fantastic learning opportunity for your child. Learn how you can engage him during bath time.