With the growing concern of childhood obesity, it is critical to encourage and motivate our toddlers to stay active while slowly teaching them the importance of physical health, balance, coordination, and physical strength and endurance. It is thus, necessary to give them toys that will help young children stay active. In case you’re wondering what toys will be appropriate for your tots, we’ve managed to come up with 15 best toys for active toddlers that you can bet will be instrumental in your kid’s overall development.
Tips to Help Your Toddler Stay Active
It is understandable that some parents simply have inadequate or insufficient knowledge as to how they can encourage and help their youngsters to learn to appreciate and enjoy a variety of physical activities. For those who would like to know more, here are some tips to helping toddlers to stay active.
- Be a good role model for your tot.
Toddlers are at a stage in their young lives when they are looking up to you and copying most of what you do. As such, one of the most important things that you can do as a parent is to be a good role model for your kids. If you want your toddler to become physically active, then it is important that he or she see you being physically active, too. It makes no sense for your child to have him or her perform a few tasks if he or she clearly doesn’t see you doing the same thing. For your kid, even though he or she might not verbalize it yet, this is unfair. Good role modeling goes a long way towards shaping the lives of children.
- Talk with your pediatrician about your child’s developmental level.
Different kids have different developmental levels. Just because your child is 2 years old doesn’t really mean he or she is exactly the same with another 2-year old tot. For example, a kid whose muscles are simply not fully developed yet, even though he or she is already 2 years old, simply cannot be expected to run, jump, or even hop around. It is important that you have a talk with your kid’s pediatrician to know what kind of physical activities your tot can and cannot perform. While physical activities are beneficial to kids, if it can bring more harm to your toddler, then it simply is not worth it.
- Choose a physical activity that is appropriate for your toddler’s developmental level.
If your pediatrician gave you the go-signal to let your young tot engage in games and sports or even exercises, you will now have to choose those that are appropriate for your child’s level of development. You can provide your kid with the toys that we have shared with you in this article or perhaps even draw inspiration from these to make your own child-specific toy. What is very important to recognize is your kid is largely different from other children. You can try singing nursery rhymes that encourage your kid to move about with their legs and even arms. You can also employ simple games that let them jump, run, or hop.
- Make fun activities as a part of daily family routine.
Doing activities, as a family, is a lot more fun and more meaningful for your budding child. What he or she sees is everyone working together to achieve a particular goal. For example, you can go fly a kite as a family, integrating it as part of your weekend picnics. Or, if you have to clean the house every day, each member will have a chore to accomplish.
- Limit exposure to digital entertainment.
Limit your young child’s exposure to digital forms of media to no more than 2 hours per day. This way, they will be more motivated to look for other ways to have fun, preferably engaging in sports for tots or even in traditional games and activities in the great outdoors. They may go fly a kite, ride a big wheel, drive a pedal-powered ride-on car, or even play kiddie soccer, basketball, baseball, hockey, or football. At any rate, this will help limit the ‘sedentary’ lifestyle of these kids.
Benefits of Active Play for Toddlers
Kids can rightfully benefit from increased levels of physical activity. While these are not primarily geared for weight loss, overall fitness, or even body building purposes, toddler activities can still have a tremendous effect on their overall growth and development. That’s why it’s imperative to get them physically active. Just in case you’re wondering, here are some of the benefits of active play for toddlers.
- Helps in the continuing development of bones and muscles.
The different tissues of the body grow and develop in response to a stimulus. One of the most effective ways of stimulating the continuing development of muscles and bones is through exercise or increased physical activity. When kids jump, run, or hop, the impact generated by the feet against the ground sends electrical impulses to the brain to tell the bones to continue depositing minerals into its matrix. This hardens the bone and makes it more resilient against fractures and other types of injuries. The same thing can be said of the muscles. Since these tissues are what moves the bones so we can walk, run, and do a lot of our movements, muscles continue to evolve by becoming stronger and more efficient in their contractions. Without movement, however, muscles lose their tonicity and strength.
- Helps prevent childhood obesity and maintain healthy weight.
Increased physical activities help promote the more efficient use of calories. Because muscles are continuously moving, they require more calories to burn. This helps prevent the abnormal accumulation of calories in the body. As you may already know, excess calories are often converted into fats which are stored in various parts of the body. This leads to the development of obesity and an increased risk of developing diabetes in the future. While we are not saying that physical inactivity leads to obesity, it is one of those factors that experts claim to play a major role in the development of childhood obesity, the others being faulty eating habits, poor food choices, and genetics.
- Facilitates toddlers’ curiosity and exploratory nature.
Infants are generally known as very dependent on parents and other caregivers. Now that they are toddlers and can start walking, running, hopping, and jumping, their sense of exploration and curiosity can really take off. They’re now more curious as to what lies behind the bushes, on the other side of the fence, or even beyond what they can see. By letting toddlers engage in physical activities, we are essentially providing them the means to explore their world. This is made possible by stronger bones and muscles which allow them to cruise and go where they couldn’t when they were still babies.
- Builds children’s self-confidence.
One of the most important benefits of physical activity for toddlers is that it gives them the confidence in themselves. Being able to jump or hop is already considered as an amazing ‘feat’. This boosts their ego and thus, helps them to try out other things.
- Helps promote better sleep.
We tend to sleep better after a good workout for the simple fact that our muscles are more relaxed. The same can be said of your toddler. If you’re having difficulty encouraging your child to nap, try playing with him or her. Jump, run, or hop. Within 30 minutes, he or she will already be napping. Aside from muscle relaxation, the improved oxygenation to the tissues also helps promote better sleep, especially among young children.
Whether it is to prevent childhood obesity, strengthen their bones and muscles, or develop confidence in your young child, getting them to appreciate and really love physical activities can go a long way to improving and ensuring optimum development of your child. With the 15 best toys for active toddlers we’ve shared with you, we’re confident you’re now in a much better position to look after the welfare of your kid.