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Being active

3 to 5 years

Hop, hop, hop and stop

Help your child to draw a hopscotch course with chalk on cement. You can make the course as long as you like, but it usually has about 8 or 10 squares. Draw a set of single and double squares - like a ladder, but with extra bits. Write a number on each square of the course.

Let’s write 1 on the first square and 2 on the next square. What number comes after that?

Once the hopscotch course is set up you’re ready to go. Talk about the game with your child as they play.

Birth to 5 years

Jump like a kangaroo, hop like a frog

Next time your child is up and moving around, challenge them to a game of imagination.

Can you jump like a kangaroo? How does a frog jump?

How many different animals can you and your child pretend to be?

Try and think of ones that move in different ways. Some are really tall. Some move on two legs and some on four. Some move slowly and some are fast. Some are big and some are small. How will your child need to move their arms and legs to be a tall creature? What about a scary one?

Birth to 2 years

If your baby has started to crawl, this game will challenge them and introduce them to lots of textures.

Lay out a course using things from around your home. You can use things like different textured bathmats, some cushions to crawl over, a large box to crawl through, a footstool to crawl around or an old shower curtain or fluffy blanket to crawl on.

Encourage your baby to crawl around the obstacle course and talk to them about what they are doing.

Does that feel bumpy? Go over the cushions. You are going under the table. There you are!

Birth to 5 years

Most children love to challenge themselves physically and explore the different ways they can move around, through and over different objects. You might find your child likes to try and balance on or along lines or other surfaces.

Next time you are outside with your child or walking somewhere, encourage them to try a bit of balancing. Can they balance along a line on the footpath, on a low brick wall or on one leg?

Birth to 5 years

Can you run and touch that tree?

Next time you are all outside you can play a game with lots of actions. Ask your child to follow your instructions, but keep it simple at first.

Can you run to that tree? Can you walk to the fence? Okay, now crawl back to me.

Try to think of lots of different ways to get your child moving. Younger children can walk, crawl and run. As they get older they can add more actions like hopping, jumping and skipping.

After a while you can make your instructions more challenging.

Birth to 5 years

There are many different ways you can move about. You can crawl, run, jump, roll or climb.

You can climb up, over, under and through things. Next time you are outside, at the park or moving about talk to your child about the different things they can climb.

We are going to the park with the big trees and logs. When we get there you can climb up the trees or over the logs.

The cup is on the shelf. You will need to climb onto the step to reach it.

3 to 5 years

Move, move, freeze!

Have you ever shown your child a statue? They don’t move. Can your child stand as still as a statue?

If your child isn’t already up and moving, encourage them to get started. You could sing as they move or play some music. Work out a way to tell them when to stop. You could use a word like freeze or stop. Or you could use a sound like clapping your hands or ringing a bell.

When I clap my hands you need to stand as still as a statue. You can’t let anything move – not even your toes.

Birth to 5 years

Let's party!

Friday night could be party time at your house. First set the scene. Where will the dance party be? Do you need to move some furniture? Have you got music? Do you have some coloured lights?

Let’s move the chairs out of the way. They’re heavy so we’ll need to push hard.

Put the music on and dance with your children. Think of lots of ways to move and let the music guide you.

Birth to 5 years

It’s raining it’s pouring, everything’s wet and boring…

The weather has changed and winter has arrived. Often when this happens and the rain rolls in it is hard to find things to do outside to keep your child busy and active. Rain puddles are just made for jumping. You can try jumping over puddles with your child.

Birth to 5 years

Most children find it fun to play - seeking out adventures and actively exploring the world with their bodies.

Playing at a park or a playground will give your child an opportunity to use all their big muscles and experiment with how to move their bodies in different directions. They can run as fast as the wind or roll down the hills like a spinning top.

There are other ways that you can encourage your child to be physical and active. You could try:

Birth to 5 years

When you and your child are playing outside see how many different ways can you move your body.

How many jumps or hops can you do on your right leg and can you do the same amount on your left leg? Can you keep a ball or balloon in the air for one minute before it touches the ground?

How quickly can you crawl to the back fence and then hop to the side gate?

Did you do it faster yesterday than today?

3 to 5 years

Get ready, get set, go!

There are lots of different ways that you can have races at home, at the park or at the beach. You can race against each other or just against the clock.

You and your child can run, jump or hop over a set distance.

How fast can you run from here to the tree? Can you get there as fast if you hop? What about if you crawl?

Reusable grocery bags make excellent sacks for a sack race. Just get your child to step inside, pull the handles up tightly and jump.

Birth to 5 years

Playing with balls outside provides children with the opportunity to catch and throw, roll and kick, push, punch and chase after the ball. As the ball moves, talk about the way it is moving.

Is it moving along the ground at a fast pace or bouncing up and down on the same spot? Can you roll the ball under the chair or throw it at a target on the shed?

Birth to 5 years

Children often experiment with moving their bodies in different ways. They might move in time to music or try and fit their bodies inside different spaces. Sometimes they will try and figure out how to move without using their legs and feet.

Next time you are near a hill encourage your child to experiment with different ways to roll down the hill. Can they tuck their bodies into a tight ball and roll? Can they become long and sausage-like, putting their arms above their head as they roll?

Birth to 5 years

Will we go up? Will we go down? Can you jump from the top down to the ground?

Next time you are out and about and see some steps, encourage your child to climb them. As you help your child go up and down you could count how many steps there are or talk about which direction you are going.

Let’s start at the bottom of the steps and climb to the top.

There are 4 more steps till we reach the bottom.

3 to 5 years

Next time there is a pile of leaves to sweep up or it is time to sweep the kitchen floor get your child to help you. What part of the sweeping process will you ask your child to help with? Your child could sweep the leaves into a big pile with the broom while you use a dustpan and brush to put the leaves into the bin.

It has been very windy outside and there are lots of leaves on the ground. I am going to sweep them into one big pile. You can use the bucket to collect the leaves and tip them into the bin.

3 to 5 years

You can make an obstacle course with your child inside or outside. Work together to discover what you have around home that you can use to make the obstacles. Try and build different challenges that your child can walk on, go up, over, under or through.

Make obstacles that your child can balance on. You could use something like a flat piece of wood or a masking tape line.

We need something you can balance on - what could we use? How about this piece of wood?

Birth to 5 years

There are many different ways that you can have a car race at home. One of the most exciting ways is to build your own racetrack with blocks and found parts. Together you can experiment with different designs to see which car will make it to the bottom first in the fastest time. Sometimes if the car is travelling too fast it might crash and not finish the race.