My kids haven’t done any “organized” sports yet. Their 4 and almost 3 and I know they’ll have plenty of time to develop and find a sport they love. They do, however, get a lot of “free play” on the weekends at my work. Oftentimes, items and objects get tossed into the open area and they do what they will. Sometimes I’ll put together an obstacle course of sorts and let them run amuck.
Here are 5 fun games for toddlers (ages 2 – 6) that you can do almost anywhere… (and they won’t even know they’re developing skills… shhhh!)
Need: 5 Tennis Balls, 5 Cones
Directions: Place 5 tennis balls on the ground near your toddler. About 10 yards away, spread out the 5 cones. Have your child take one ball at a time, run to the cone and place the ball on the cone. Run back, pick up another ball and repeat until each tennis ball is on a cone.
Works on: eye-hand coordination, running, patience.
Need: 3 light medicine balls (4 – 10 pounds each), Platform/bench/box to put med balls on
Directions: Place each med ball on the ground in front of the bench, starting with the lightest weight. Have your child pick up the medicine ball and place it on the bench. Repeat with the 2 remaining heavier med balls.
Works on: strength, problem-solving (how to get their short arms around a large med ball).
Need: Small hoops (or chalk squares)
Directions: Put the hoops in a traditional hopscotch pattern. Have your child jump on one foot in squat #1 and then two feet in #2 (left) and #3 (right). Mix up the pattern to include various single foot hops and double leg hops.
Works on: Hopping, jumping, thinking ahead to the next move.
Kick the Cone
Need: Soccer ball (or any other rubber ball), some cones
Directions: Set up a few cones in a line and have your child stand about 3-5 yards away from the first cone. Have them kick the ball at the cone, trying to knock it down.
Works on: Kicking, eye-foot coordination, balance.
Don’t Wake the Scary Snake (My daughter came up with that name…it could be any animal you want!)
Need: A jump rope
Directions: Lay the jump rope down in a straight line. Have your child jump side to side over the jump rope. If they step on the rope (the scary snake), they have to run away. Have them try different combinations of jumping (side to side, forward and backward, one foot, criss-crossing).
Works on: Jumping, hopping, body control, running.
Start ’em young and teach them that “exercise” can be fun.