Children's Exercise Guide: Preschoolers 3-5 Years Old

Games you and your babysitter can do with kids that will boost their heart rate, keep them entertained and inspire healthy habits.

The NASPE guidelines for activities for preschoolers states that 3 -5 year olds should:

  • Accumulate at least 60 minutes of structured physical activity each day, at least 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity each day, and should not be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time, except sleeping.
  • Develop competence in fundamental motor skills.

Game: Sleeping Giants

Description: A combination of "pretend play" and physical activity to stimulate imagination and multi-directional movement while strengthening heart, lungs, muscles and agility.

  • Explain to the children that they are going to pretend to be giants who like to jump. Let them jump up and down for fun and practice. Tell them to stop jumping when you say "Sleeping Giants!"
  • Once they hear "Sleeping Giants" children will stop and lie very still on the floor. When you say "Waking Giants" the children will jump up and down until you call out "Sleeping Giants" again.
  • Continue the game to allow children to practice stopping and starting. Substitute other motor skills instead of jumping, for example walking (penguins!), hopping (frogs!), skipping (elephants!), crawling (bears!) and marching.
  • Additional ideas to include are creating masks or use dramatic play props as they pretend to be giants; inventing facial expressions, sounds, or movements that they think a giant would make; taking photos of the children moving like giants and sending them to their friends.

Physical and Mental Skills:

  • Listening & Understanding. Children are being able to follow simple and multiple-step directions.
  • Gross Motor Skills. There's improved proficiency, control and balance in walking, running, jumping, hopping, skipping, marching.
  • Social/emotional development. Cultivates a sense of belonging; a sense of humor; understanding of body awareness.

Physical Development.Moderate to vigorous intensity activity which increases cardiovascular and muscle strength, and endurance.

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Comments (1)
Photo of Jennifer M.
Jennifer M.
Can I play? :)
Posted: January 27, 2012 at 12:15 AM
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