My Little Masterpiece

Active play and exercise for children

Being active is important for everyone, children can have so much fun with exercising too! While most adults associate exercise with workouts, exercise for kids means playing and being physically active.



Some form of everyday physical exercise is important for healthy growth in babies, toddlers and young children. So, what kind of active play and exercise can your little ones do in the early years of their lives?


Up to one year old.

It’s good for babies to be active every day in a variety of ways. Before they can crawl, you can encourage them to reach, grasp, push, pull, and move their head, body and limbs during daily routines and supervised floor play. Once they can move around, create a safe and supervised play environment where they can be as active as possible.


Between one and two years old

The NHS recommends that toddlers be physically active every day for at least three hours spread over the day, including playing outdoors. Activities can include standing up, moving around, rolling and playing, as well as more energetic things like skipping, hopping, running and jumping. Chasing games, playing in the water, riding a bike or using a climbing frame are other ways you can get children of this age moving.


Three to four years old

It’s recommended that these age range children spend at least three hours doing physical activity spread throughout the day – both indoors and outdoors. The more, the better, ideally, children under five shouldn’t be inactive for long periods of time, unless they’re asleep!


Under five years old

When it comes to little ones, the more physical activity they do in the early years, the better.

All movement counts! Here are a few ideas for active play and exercise for children under five.


  • Tummy time
  • Playing with blocks and other objects
  • Messy play
  • Jumping
  • Walking
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Playground activities
  • Skipping
  • Active play, like hide and seek
  • Throwing and catching
  • Scooting
  • Riding a bike
  • Outdoor activities