Part of raising healthy kids is ensuring they are physically active. One mistake that parents make is trying to hyper specialize their toddler in a sport from a young age. It may seem like a good idea to get your child involved in a sport you want them to do professionally as early as possible, but this creates the risk for overuse injuries. Overuse injuries are a risk when a child does repetitive activities (pitching a baseball, swinging a tennis racket) while their bones are still developing.
Doing the same sport from an early age may also build resentment to the activity. The best sports for toddlers are any physical activity that gets their heart rate up. Since you want to care for your child and protect them from excessive physically strenuous activities, save the team and competitive sports until your child is a few years older.
This blog post looks at 8 safe and fun sports for toddlers!
Swimming is one of the best sports for toddler. This is an excellent exercise for building strength, endurance, and cardiovascular fitness. Swimming is also a good skill for any child to learn at an early age. You can take swimming lessons with your child as early as 6 months old. Your child won’t be ready for formal lessons until they’re about 3 or 4.
Having prior experience in the water will help raise their comfort level and ability to float. Because of the many mental and physical benefits, swimming is one of the best sports for toddles. Swimming reduces the risk of drowning and improves self-confidence while building muscle and coordination skills.
2. Riding A Tricycle/Bicycle
If you want sports for toddlers that teach them dexterity, cycling is a great option. Learning how to ride a bicycle is a skill your child will carry for the rest of their lives. Bike riding is also an excellent cardiovascular exercise that improves hand-eye coordination. Using bike riding as a physical activity makes it easy to stay active on a daily basis. Usually, children can begin to ride tricycles or big wheels between ages 1 and 3.
During this period, it’s important to encourage safe habits such as wearing a helmet and learning where it’s safe to bike. Once your child is ready for a two-wheeler with training wheels, you can raise the training wheels little by little to improve their balance. Try not too put too much emphasis on learning how to ride a two-wheeler if it becomes frustrating for your child.
3. Using Playground Equipment
It’s hard to replicate the full-body workout children get when they play at the playground. All the running, jumping, and climbing is excellent for creating an active and healthy lifestyle. They’ll need your help to do the monkey bars and Olympic rings but even assisted these are good exercises.
Older toddlers around 3 or 4 are almost ready to do monkey bars alone, but they still require close supervision. Playing in this atmosphere with other children also promotes basic cognitive skills. Dexterity, creativity, and problem-solving are some of the skills your child will develop while playing at the park.
4. Animal Walks
Animal walks are a fun activity that actually has benefits for adults as well. Animal walks get your child to pretend they are walking like different animals. Duck walks, bunny hops, crab walks, and scorpion jumps are fun yet physically challenging activities you can do with your child. Animal walks are excellent for building strength, coordination, and balance. You can also easily adjust the type of walk to your child’s age and physical ability.
Bowling is one of the most enjoyable sports for toddlers, thanks to the many variations available. You can set up a mock bowling lane at home using soft objects and a ball. You can also setup a bowling challenge outside where your child kicks the ball to knock down the pins. You can use empty bottles or paper towel rolls to simulate the pins. You can also take your child to the kiddie lanes with bumpers and smaller size balls to simulate the real experience.
6. Tee Ball
Tee-ball is another good activity for developing hand-eye coordination. Tee-ball can also serve as a low-pressure introduction to team sports. You can purchase a foam ball, bat, and stand so that your child can practice indoors and out. Tee-ball is great for building self-confidence, improving coordination, and eventually learning teamwork.
Kids are naturally flexible, so yoga is one of the best sports for toddlers. Getting your child to do yoga can also give you an excuse to get more active. Similar to animal walks, your child will have fun doing the different poses. Yoga is great for improving balance, coordination, and has many health benefits such as improving circulation.
Dancing is an exciting physical activity that requires no equipment. Your child will do most of the work themselves by coming up with creative dance moves to the music. Introduce them to songs with instructions like the macarena to improve their listening skills. Dancing is great for improving cardiovascular endurance, balance, and burning energy.