Let’s be honest: it’s not like it’s hard to get two-year olds to stay active. My girls run in circles at times. But it’s important for me that they learn why we should move and what benefits we can gain from being active. Even though my kids are little and the focus of activity is primarily fun, it’s helpful that they understand basic ideas, such as how to balance, coordination, body awareness, and posture.
I have friends and family with older children so I know that as children grow older their activities will become more and more expensive. So, I often try to come up with free (and fun) ways to keep them moving and entertained.
Here are some ways I get my toddlers to stay active without spending a dime. I would be so curious to know what ideas you have to share.
Dance party – I love music and it’s so fun to turn on Pandora and just let the girls dance around. It’s a great way to laugh and be silly. My favorite stations are: Toddler Radio and KIDZ BOP.
Check out this video taken last year of the girls demonstrating their dance skills. Should I be worried about Ashlyn’s twerking?
Incorporate strength exercises – Squats, jumps, and donkey kicks are great ways to keep moving and practice good body mechanics. It’s fun to see the girls’ proud faces when they do it. Look at me! It’s also a great way to combat an imminent meltdown (I heart distractions).
Push and pull activities are awesome (this feeling is clearly the result of living with a personal trainer). These movements aren’t something that we do in the day-to-day so I try to get the girls to add them in every now and then.
They love pushing and pulling each other in our wagon, but I could see this working with a lot of things around the house.
Yoga – We have only gotten to downward facing dog, but we are making progress. We also practice planks, balancing on yoga blocks, and parent-assisted head stands.
Playgrounds – My girls are fixated with playgrounds and rightly so – it’s a gym for kids! You have the exercise aspect, social environment, and you sometimes have to worry about other people swiping your equipment (the shovels in our playground go quick!).
“Shopping” – Remember that place you used to go before you had kids? Did you know that the mall is actually an ideal place to bring toddlers before the stores opne? When the weather isn’t pleasant I will bring the girls to our mall and let them wander around. There are things to look at and hallways to run down. It also lets me window shop without the temptation to buy anything.
Want more ideas? Here are some articles with additional exercises for toddlers:
Let’s hope they still want to have dance parties with me in another 10 years.