It’s a busy age, but are you sure that your preschooler gets enough exercise? And what can you do to encourage safe, active play…

If your toddler is at playschool that ensures regular scheduled outdoor playtime, they probably get lots of exercise.

But if your toddler is being looked after by a grandparent or nanny, or if you’re a homeschooling stay-at-home mom, how did you know if your toddler is getting enough exercise?

How much exercise does a three to five-year-old need?

While most physical activity guidelines used to start at age six, newly release advice recommends involving kids as young as three in active play.

“Children in the three- to five-year-old age group really require about three hours of active activities per day,” says Dr Brett P. Grior, US Assistant Secretary for Health.

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He says that this is important for the development of strong bones and healthy weight, but he says that it’s not about putting your child on a treadmill – simply allow them to play actively.

Do your preschool children get enough exercise? It can affect their heart health as adults

How to encourage active play

Getting in three hours of active play should be spilt up throughout the day, rather than all at once.

Attending toddler classes and planning play dates helps, but when you don’t have anything planned, here are some easy ways to encourage active play:

  • Blow bubbles for your child to catch.
  • Buy a balance bike or plastic motorbike for your child to ride in the yard.
  • Kick a soccer ball.
  • Buy a plastic children’s lawnmower and let your child “mow” the lawn
  • Play catch-catch.
  • Go for a walk to the park.
  • Blow up a balloon and use paper plates to play “balloon tennis” indoors when it’s too cold to play outside
  • Create obstacle courses using items you have around the home, like chairs, so your child can climb over or crawl under them.
  • Have a family dance party.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.