We know how hard it can be to keep up with the little'uns, particularly during the winter months! With kids aged 0-5 being among those impacted most by lockdowns, it's crucial to ensure we are not only keeping them active to help their growth and muscle development, but mentally stimulated in order to assist early brain development.
Check out our ideas for ways to keep our under 5's physically active below.
If your kids are aged over 5, check out our activities tailored to slightly older kids here.
How can I keep my younger kids active during lockdown?
Activities to try indoors
Many parents are wondering how to keep their kids active through lockdown. Being active doesn't necessarily mean leaping around or dancing.
To keep younger kids aged 0-5 active at home, make sure they have plenty of enriching activities and exercises to do, for at least 180 minutes each day. This could be colouring, reading a story together, or working out some basic puzzle activities to keep their brains active.
You could also create some basic indoor games to get them moving around, whilst having fun.
It's cold and wet outside, so why not find something fun to do indoors? The resources listed will not only get the kids moving, but will get them thinking too, providing opportunities to learn! There's a selection of activities - some can be done online whilst others with some basic equipment.
- 10 Minute Shake Ups: Keep up with Dory, or freeze things with Elsa! Choose from activities themed around your kids' favourite Disney characters to keep them entertained and active.
- Cbeebies Join In: Cbeebies have worked hard to bring you a full suite of resources for pre-school aged children. From creative activities such as colouring and storytelling, to physical activities and games, there's enough to keep them going all day.
- Tiny Happy People: This BBC resource is aimed at 3-4 year olds. Whilst there are fun games and dances to try, there are also sleepy time games, and ways of encouraging your child to talk imaginatively so they can wind down after a day of fun.
Activities to try outdoors
Whilst outdoor exercise is currently limited, you're still allowed out locally. This could mean your garden if you have one, a local park, or a walk round the neighbourhood to get some fresh air. It's important to ensure you do get outside for both mental and physical wellbeing, even at a very young age.
There are plenty of things you can do outdoors with the kids, even during lockdown. Try going for a walk together, and making a game out of it. You could tell a story about your walk and encourage kids to use their imagination, or use it as a chance to practise counting and see how many dog walkers you spot. Here are some other ideas to get you started:
- Things To Do Outside To Beat The January Blues | Muddy Puddles: This blog contains ideas on where to go, what to do, and how to keep the kids motivated when going on an outdoor journey.
- The Early Years (0-4) | ParticipACTION: From those not yet mobile, up to pre-schoolers, there are resources to help you guide your child through their early years. From how much they should be moving, to healthy sleep levels, there are some great tips for all parents.
- On The Move Outdoors: A series of accessible walks around Norfolk. Designed to make the routes accessible for all, they're perfect for knowing if there's a toilet nearby, or knowing if there's a clear route for those with pushchairs.
Keep the kids entertained whilst working from home
We know it can be tricky working from home whilst entertaining a young mind. These resources can keep even the most inquisitive minds busy whilst allowing you to get some work done.
We would always recommend staying in the same room and supervising, however these activities should keep them entertained for longer periods at a time.
- 42 easy activities to keep kids busy while parents work at home - Active For Life
- Keeping kids entertained while you're working from home | Barnardo's
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How active should my child (aged 0-5) be each day?
- Babies (Under 1 year): Try to encourage babies to be active for at least 30 minutes spread throughout the day. This could be tummy time if they've reached that stage, or encouraging them to reach, grasp, and move around.
- Toddlers (Aged 1-2): Try to aim for at least 180 minutes (3 hours) of activity per day. This sounds like a lot, but can be spread out throughout the day, whether it's running, playing, jumping, skipping or riding a bike.
- Pre-schoolers (Aged 3-5): Aim for 180 minutes, or 3 hours of active play each day. This should include at least 60 minutes (1 hour) of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Try to avoid long periods of inactivity in children of this age where possible.
Should my young child (aged 0-5) be taking naps throughout the day?
There is no 'formula' for how much young children should be sleeping. It depends on their age, and general sleep pattern outside nap time. However, as a rough guide on how much your child might nap, see below:
- Baby (0-6 months): Young babies tend to sleep throughout the day, so don't be concerned if you have a sleepy little one! It is estimated that infants need between 14-18 hours of sleep each day.
- Baby (6-12 months): Babies of this age still need around 14 hours of sleep a day. A good schedule to try and stick by is two naps per day, which will encourage babies to sleep throughout the night.
- Toddlers (1-3 years): Toddlers need 12-14 hours of sleep, and a recommended afternoon nap of between 1 and 3 hours. Some toddlers will happily nap for this long whilst others will resist; this may be because they've not been active enough throughout the day, in which case you might try one of the activities above to burn off some extra energy!
- Pre-schoolers (3-5 years): With an average of around 11-12 hours sleep required, many children this age will still require a short afternoon nap of between 20 minutes to an hour. At this age, naps should be a little shorter but are still fine if required! Most young children give up regular napping by the age of 5.
Thanks to the members of the Greater Manchester School Readiness Physical Development Task and Finish group with leadership from Stockport Council for their contributions.