Fun Fitness for Preschoolers

Playing can keep preschoolers in tip-top shape.

Ages 2 to 3

It's never too young to get into fitness, and teaching your child to stay fit can help him have a longer and healthier life. Physical play also helps him to learn about himself and the world around him. The American Medical Association says that developing the habit of fitness at a young age promotes healthful behaviors, improves self-esteem, and decreases the risk of serious illnesses later in life. Choosing games that you can play with your child (such as catch or hide and seek) can be a bonding experience for both of you.

Encouraging physical play for your 2- to 3-year-old can help him develop creativity, physical fitness, strength, coordination, and motor skills. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that these skills are best learned in an unstructured and noncompetitive setting where a child can experiment and learn by trial and error. This sort of free play can involve anything from running circles around the backyard to drawing shapes in the sand.

Even though kids this age aren't ready for highly structured activities (such as sports or ballet classes), try getting them involved in organized play groups such as Gymboree, Mommy and Me, or toddler music sessions.

Suggested activities

  • Running
  • Walking
  • Swinging
  • Climbing
  • Playing in a sandbox
  • Playground activities
  • Carefully supervised water play

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