Lots of the usual activities for kids under the age of five - like swimming lessons, going to the park to climb on the climbing frame, or even walking, cycling or scooting to the shops - have been put on pause during isolation, but there are still lots of ways to keep young kids active whilst staying at home. Active play is a great way to get younger kids up and about - aim to get them 'huffing and puffing' at the end of each activity, so you can be sure that they are using up some energy, and growing stronger and healthier. Exercise for young kids has so many benefits, as fitness activities help to develop stronger muscles in their arms, legs and trunk, as well as being an opportunity to improve their fine motor skills, like hand-eye coordination, which is vital for lots of other activities. Exercising with young kids is a way to spend time together, building close bonds and also having fun as a pair - or as a whole family.
Whilst the Joe Wicks workout videos may be proving popular with older kids, the under-5s might struggle to stay focused for the whole thing - and so we have found a range of activities that are perfect for the youngest members of the family - and many of the activities, games and ideas can be done indoors - or out in the garden.
Hide and seek
This classic encourages kids to run around, chasing one another and having fun whilst trying to find the 'hider'. The game doesn't require any equipment or set up, it's totally free and can be played inside the house or out in the garden. An energetic activity for younger kids, hide and seek is a great way to play together as a family - particularly for families that have kids in mixed age groups. With plenty of running around, hide and seek is often hours of fun for younger kids, and it will push them to use their imaginations to find new hiding spots around the house.
Throw & Catch
If you have a garden, this is a perfect activity for younger kids. As well as being an effective physical activity - running around to catch or collect the ball - throw and catch also improves a child's hand-eye coordination and other fine motor skills. For variations on the basic game of throw and catch, take a look at the SportsRec website for some further ideas, including group games and solo games.
Get On Two Wheels
Isolating at home is a great opportunity to build your child's confidence using their bike, balance bike or scooter. If you have a garden or driveway, then use this time at home to teach your youngest how to safely cycle or scoot for the first time - or for kids who are currently using stabilisers or a balance bike - this could be the time to take off the stabilisers or to upgrade to a two-wheeler. Remember to get kids to wear a helmet, and then watch as they enjoy getting better and better. Cycling is an excellent fitness activity for kids, as it works the whole body, especially the cardio-vascular and respiratory systems.
If you have a garden, why not make the most of a sunny day by setting up an obstacle course? Place different objects - from cardboard boxes to plastic cones - around the garden, then get the kids to complete the course - running, jumping, skipping and hopping as they go. For some obstacle course inspiration, watch Baby League's video by DIY Dad, who has some great ideas for using kids toys, like swimming noodles, to create a fun outdoor experience.
Take It Indoors
Don't worry if you don't have a garden or outdoor space, as there are also some amazing ideas for indoor obstacle courses. Why not use balloons across a doorway to create a 'wall' that the kids can run through, or throw balls into a laundry basket, or roll up a carpet to use as a 'tightrope' which the kids can walk across whilst balancing some items on a tray? WhatsUpMoms 'Play | Indoor Obstacle Course' video is packed with great ideas for an indoor obstacle course, which is great for a rainy day - or if you're celebrating a birthday during isolation at home, it is a great birthday party treat.
This pastime is loved by children of all ages - and it is a great activity for keeping under-5s active and moving. If you have a paved area in the garden, or a driveway, then draw out the simple pattern on the ground using chalk. Have the kids help - if you lightly trace the shape, then they can go over it afterwards, or have the kids draw the numbers in the squares - and then the fun can begin. Get the whole family involved - you can set up races, or just watch the kids enjoy going back and forth, tiring themselves out. If you don't have access to a garden or outdoor space, then you can also use masking tape to 'draw' the hopscotch pattern indoors in the kitchen, living room or corridor.
Great exercise for kids and adults alike - and can be done with or without a rope. Why not set up a path around the garden, or use an egg timer to challenge young kids to skip non-stop for 1, 2 or 3-minutes at a time. Great for overall fitness, skipping will definitely get the kids huffing and puffing.
Arguable one of the most fun exercises for young kids - combining music, singing and plenty of physical activity. Why not make a playlist of your child's favourite songs so you can dance around the kitchen or living room together? There are also lots of dance videos for young kids on YouTube, including Bounce Patrol's 'Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes' Nursery Rhyme Collection, which is 33 minutes long. Dance along with all the classic nursery rhymes, whilst watching the energetic cast dancing around, wearing colourful costumes. This high-energy video will keep your kids attention, encouraging them to dance and sing for a longer period of time.
If your under 5s used to love going to ballet classes, then there are lots of ways to keep learning basic ballet at home. Budding ballerinas will love the toddler-friendly class by Daniella Bebb. 'Forest Friends Ballet Class' is set in a beautiful forest, with a cast of fun animal characters like the big brown bear, a wise old own, a squirrel and caterpillar. The cartoon characters and story will help keep kids interested and engaged, whilst also taking part in the activities and exercises.
Fitness for under 5s can be difficult because they don't have the same attention span of older children, but Popsugar Fitness has made a family-friendly video that is only 10 minutes long - filled with easy, quick and fun ideas for at-home exercises. Warm up by skipping around the living room, and then try jumping on one foot and doing 'frog hops'. The short video has plenty of easy-to-follow exercises and activities - and you can follow along with the video - or use it as inspiration for your own family work out, pausing the video and doing the exercises at your own pace.
Godmother to two little girls, Rosanna enjoys finding ways to entertain her goddaughters with games, cooking and – best of all - arts and crafts. Having studied Fine Art, Rosanna uses her creativity to make colourful, fun and educational art and craft projects that are perfect for kids of all ages. Full of ideas for homemade cards and handcrafted gifts, toys and decorations – Rosanna also has a knack for finding child-friendly cultural activities and fun places for kids to blow off steam.