Try these fun physical activities for children to keep them engaged and inspired to exercise. You can encourage your child to be active and healthy with these easy indoor and outdoor exercise activities that will improve their gross and fine motor skills

Exercising has many benefits for children. It quickens their breath and heartbeat, strengthens bones and muscles and helps to develop coordination. Health Direct recommends children between the ages of 1 and 5 should get at least 3 hours of physical activity every day.

To encourage your child to be active, choose activities that they enjoy and be active yourself. We’ve put together thirteen fun physical activities for children that you can do with them at home, including:

  • Energy busting indoor fun
  • Backyard bouncing outdoor fun
  • Fitness activities for the whole family

Child balances while walking along a log - a fun physical activity for children.

Energy busting indoor fun for kids

These fun physical activities for children don’t take up much room. However, they are best played away from obstacles, valuables and anything that might fall and break inside the house.

1. Don’t drop the balloon

The goal of this delightful activity is to keep the balloon from touching the ground. You can catch it, push it, punch it and throw it about so long as it doesn’t land on the ground. A super fun activity for all the family. (Tip: Have spare balloons on hand in case it bursts.)

2. Musical jump, twist and squat

Use painter’s tape to create three shapes on the ground that your child can run to and stand inside: a square, circle and triangle. Turn on some music, and when the music stops, they run to the square and jump. When the music starts again, they stop jumping.

Based on musical chairs, this fun game will have them running to the circle and twisting from left to right or running to the triangle to do squats.

3. Socks in the bucket

This fun indoor activity for kids is ideal for beginner throwers. Place an empty bucket (or a pot if you don’t have a bucket) on the floor. Starting a step or two away from the bucket, your child throws a pair of rolled-up socks into it. They can peg the socks or throw underarm.

When your child successfully throws the ball into the bucket, they take another step away and try it all again. A great exercise for gross and fine motor skills.

Different balls can lead to multiple fun physical activities for toddlers.

4. Jumping balls a fun physical activity for toddlers

Make use of  your hallways with this activity that can be played with a balloon or a medium to large-sized ball. Your child holds the ball between their knees. Can they jump all the way to the end of the hall without dropping the ball?

Try this children’s physical activity in the backyard or a local park if there’s not enough room at hoom.

5. Hokey Pokey

Hokey Pokey is a classic singing game and excellent for getting the blood flowing.
Facing each other, you can put your right foot in and then your right foot out. You put your right foot in and then shake it all about. Then you do the hokey pokey and turn around, because that’s what it’s all about!

Have more fun times with all the other body parts!

6. Wash the dishes

Fun physical activities for children can get the whole family moving.

Wash the dishes requires you to face your child and hold both their hands. Leave enough room between you so that you can swing your arms from side to side and chant “Wash the dishes, dry the dishes, turn the dishes over!”

Swing your arms up and spin around on the spot until you’re facing each other again, then repeat but spin back the other way.

Child with soft cricket bat and ball in outdoor fun for kids

Backyard bouncing outdoor fun for kids

Play these fun physical activities outside in your backyard. They’re also ideal for local parks where you can frolic about in the sun and improve your child’s physical literacy.

7. Did someone say cricket?

An alternative cricket game for preschoolers requires a soft ball and bat. Your child stands with the bat protecting their legs. You throw the (soft) ball at the bat and they swing and wack it away. If you catch the ball on its return, then it’s your turn to hold the bat and theirs to throw the ball at you.

8. Throw, catch, then step back

This throwing game for beginners can also be played inside if it’s safe to do so. Standing a couple of feet apart, throw a ball (or rolled-up socks) to your child. If they catch it, they can throw it back.

If you both catch the ball, take one step away from each other and then repeat. Overtime, the distance between you and your child in this fun physical activity will grow. To encourage ball throwing have a number of different balls available for your child to play with and to let them do the choosing.

9. Hula hoop fun

Children love swinging a hula hoop. Get those hips wriggling and see how long they can keep the hula hoop turning. Show them how to use it and let them experiment with it too. Can they spin the giant hoop around one outstretched arm or roll it along the ground?

10. Tricycling

Indoors or outdoors, tricycling is a fun physical activity for children at home and at child care. If you’re seeking a longer walk around a park, encourage your child to join you on their tricycle.

Children play on tricycles as a fun fitness activity for kids

Fitness activities for kids and the whole family

11. Go for a walk

For toddlers, a short walk up and down the street or around a small block can be an enjoyable fitness challenge. You can wave to neighbours or count the number of houses as you go. For preschoolers, stretch the walk to ten minutes and then twenty over a few weeks. Try walking around a local park for an idyllic scene change.

12. Skipping with a rope

Giving your child a skipping rope will get them moving as they learn to master the art of swinging and skipping. Show them how to do it, then let them try it themselves.

You can also do this exercise activity with them standing in front of you and facing away. Begin swinging the rope in a slow motion. As it touches the ground in front of your child’s feet, jump over it together. As the rope sweeps around again, repeat.

Speed up the skipping as they begin to get the idea and then let them try doing it on their own.

13. Drop and kick

This fun fitness activity for kids is perfect for preschoolers and helps with the development of foot, hand and eye coordination. You can use any type of ball.

Your child holds the ball in both hands, then lets it drop towards their preferred foot, as it falls they point their toes forward connecting with the ball. This exercise is based on the AFL How to kick a footy, but you can try it with any type of ball.

For younger children, start with learning how to kick a ball on the ground first.

Child swings on monkey bars part of indoor physical activities for children.

Get physical with Petit Early Learning Journey

At Petit ELJ, we support and encourage children’s physical literacy. Our curriculum includes both indoor and outdoor play-based learning activities that get children’s minds and bodies moving. Children learn to control muscles and builds resilience when they’re active.

Give your child the best start in life with an early childhood education that encourages fun physical activities for children. Learn more about our curriculum and its emphasis on physical literacy at your nearest centre.