Physical Activities for Babies

Overall Benefits:

• Building on or improving their fine motor skills such as grasping, holding and hand- eye coordination.
• Develop their locomotor skills such as crawling, lifting, climbing, and sliding.
• Strengthen baby’s neck, back and muscles by holding their head up and sitting up straight.
• Supports the development of good posture, strength and balance.

Activities for babies

  • Tummy Time - enables a baby to strengthen their neck and back muscles, and teaches them to hold their body weight with their arms. Tummy Time helps them learn to kick, stretch, roll over, reach for things, pull themselves up, and explore their surroundings. Placing an object in front of the baby will encourage them to reach and grasp which promotes fine motor skills (Please see Tip Sheets).
  • Sitting and standing - When the baby is able to support their head, they can practise sitting and standing with your help. Hold your baby’s hands and slowly pull them from lying down to a sitting or standing position.
  • Baby Obstacle Course - this activity enables the baby to crawl, climb and experience sensory exploration. The activity promotes the development of their fine and gross motor skills, their balancing and their hand- eye coordination (Please see Tip Sheets).
  • Kicking Gym - This activity would help develop a baby’s gross motor skills, muscle and bone strength. The adult could hang a strong string from two chairs and place objects like a rattle, hoop, teddy, balls and light toys from a height for the baby to reach out with hands and feet.

Physical Activities for Wobblers/Toddlers

Overall Benefits:
• Developing muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance.
• Building and encouraging their self-esteem and confidence.
• Increasing stability, building strong muscles, heart and bones.
• Development of their locomotor skills such as walking, running, hopping and climbing.
• Enhancing their thinking and problem solving skills.
• Emergence of manipulative skills - fine motor skills, like squeezing, grasping, pinching, etc.

Activities for Wobblers/Toddlers

  • Me and my shadow - The adult/practitioner can begin the activity by introducing techniques such as stretching, crawling, jumping, hopping, stomping, slithering and swinging and the children can copy the adults ‘shadow’ by doing the movements. Movements such as hopping and jumping help strengthen children’s bones. Aerobic exercises such as running and skipping helps let oxygen into their muscles, pump blood faster to their vital organs and improves their cardiovascular efficiency. In using animal movements the children will be able to connect the specific movement to the animal. They will also improve and enhance their balancing and co-ordination skills. (Please see Tip Sheets).
  • Toddler Obstacle Course - Providing an obstacle course is designed to improve their gross motor skills and general co-ordination. The obstacle can be composed of stepping stones at the beginning, a balancing beam (rope or a bench), a tunnel (composed of large brown boxes), hoola hoops, bean bags that should be balanced while walking in between cones (Please see Tip Sheets).
  • The bean game - This activity will help improve gross motor skills, balancing, and co-ordination. The children will be asked to walk, run or hop around the room and then be instructed to turn into different types of bean such as a broad bean, runner bean, baked bean, jumping bean, jelly bean and mixed beans (Please see Tip Sheets).
  • Target Rolling - The activity will improve their hand eye co-ordination, their fine and gross motor skills, their balance and manipulative skills. The children can roll and aim the ball to hit the target, the target could be skittles, bottles, balls, hoops or blocks.

Physical Activity for Pre - school Children

Overall Benefits:

• Further development of balance, locomotor and manipulative skills.
• Improve their social, problem-solving skills and confidence.
• Develop stronger bones and muscles.
• Improve their bodily and spatial awareness.


  • Pass the ball - This activity improves on children’s balance, co-ordination, teamwork, agility (speed, balance) and muscular strength. Children will be placed in lines with a target placed ahead of them about 20ft away from their starting point. The child at the top of the line will be given an object that has to be passed down the line. It has to be passed down the line either over their head, to the side or under their legs. The child at the end of line must make their way to the top of line and pass the object back down the line. The line will gradually move forward and the line who reaches the target first wins.
  • Target Throwing - This activity will improve their hand eye co-ordination, agility, gross motor skills, and evaluating skills. The children will be asked to throw different objects into a target that is placed about 10, 15 or 20ft away from their throwing point. Moving the target away presents a challenge to the child.
  • Rabbit Hole - This activity will improve the child’s balance, agility, spatial awareness, and muscular strength. The practitioner will place markers on the ground and this will represent the children’s rabbit holes. They will be given a carrot each that they must balance on any body part when the farmer comes out to try and catch them (Please see Tip Sheets).
  • Grand Ole’ Duke of York- This activity will their muscles and build bone strength, co-ordination, spatial awareness and rhythmic movement. The music will be played and all the children will march around the room to the beat of the music. 

Some questions for practitioners to consider

1. Do you provide many opportunities for children to take part in physical activity?
2. How often do children in your service take part in physical activity?
3. What sort of activities do you provide that help support the development of their fine and gross motor skills?
4. Do you provide appropriate support and encouragement for children during physical activity?
5. How can you as the practitioner ensure that the children enjoy taking part in and have a positive attitude towards physical activity?
6. How do you encourage reluctant children to participate?
7. In your setting, are you providing the children with a good range of physical challenges which are at an appropriate level of difficulty, where they can only succeed?
8. Do you provide physical play experiences both indoors and outdoors?

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