You want your kids to be active and lead healthy lifestyles, but you may be wondering how to encourage physical activity in young children safely. Here are some tips on how to get your kids moving while keeping them safe and healthy.

Get a doctor's okay before starting any physical activity program with your child.

As a parent, your main priority is the safety and well-being of your children. When setting up a physical activity program, it’s important to make sure that any activities you choose are developmentally appropriate for your child’s age and abilities. It’s best to always get the okay from a doctor before starting any physical activity program for kids five years old and younger. Always have a discussion with your doctor about what kind of activity is safe, how much and often, in order to help reduce the risk of any injury or other health issues associated with overdoing it.

Taking the extra precautionary steps of getting a doctor's advice will ensure your child gets all the safety measures they need to fully take part in any physical activities they may be interested in pursuing. Having access to appropriate activities that foster fun, learning, development and exploration can teach kids in this age range important life skills as well as provide momentous moments within their growth journey.

Start slowly with short bursts of activity and gradually increase the time and intensity as your child gets used to it.

Starting slow is the key to success when it comes to encouraging physical activity in children under 5 years old. While these young kids require plenty of energy reserves, it can put a strain on them if they take part in too rigorous an activity or exercise schedule. It is best to begin with light activities and then gradually increase time and intensity as they become more used to physical activity. Toddlers should be physically active every day for at least 180 minutes (3 hours). The more the better. This should be spread throughout the day, including playing outdoors.

The types of activities that are suited for young kids include running, walking, hopping, jumping, skipping and playing sports such as soccer or tennis. At the same time, introducing fun and creative play options like tag games, hide-and-seek or pretend play can be very beneficial for young children's growth and development both mentally and physically. It is important to stay close by at all times during these activities so that you can ensure your child's safety. With consistent activity at a safe level, your kid will start building muscle strength as well as endurance levels which will also help improve their overall wellbeing in the long run.

Choose activities that are appropriate for your child's age, interests, and abilities.

Choosing activities that match the age, interests, and abilities of your child is key to encouraging physical activity in young kids. It's important that parents select activities that are age-appropriate and fun enough to capture their attention - otherwise their enthusiasm will quickly diminish. For example, if you have a toddler who has just started walking independently, hopping and marching games may be appropriate as they develop coordination. However, if you have an older toddler who is mastering more complex movements such as skipping or swinging a racket, you can expand activities beyond hopping and marching games. Plus, keeping in mind interests outside sports – like music or outdoor exploration - is important too.

By exploring different recreational hobbies, children learn new skills while gaining motivation to get active - offering the best of both worlds! Ultimately, giving children the opportunity to participate in age-appropriate activities not only creates positive associations with movement but also promotes healthy development for years to come. Check out the CDC website for more on age-appropriate exercise for your kids.

Make sure the environment is safe for your child to play in without too many hazards around.

When your child is playing in the environment it is important to create a safe space. Doing this will ensure that your child can play with minimal risk or harm. Make sure to have a close eye on them if they're playing around other objects like furniture or toys. Remove any hazards that could be dangerous for smaller kids, such as sharp corners and exposed wires. Another thing to keep in mind is their comfort level. If the environment feels too crowded, hot, humid, noisy, etc., they may be reluctant to stay and play in that condition. Safety comes first but having a fun and inviting atmosphere helps maximize the amount of physical activity your little one has while still under your watchful care! Check out Virtual Lab School for more on how to keep the environment around your child safe.

Be a good role model for your child by being active yourself and enjoying it!

Instilling a love for physical activity in your children from an early age is extremely important for their overall health, confidence and wellbeing! As a parent, the best way to do this is by leading by example. Seeing you engaging in exercise and having fun with it will show them that exercise is something to be celebrated and enjoyed. Try introducing activities like yoga or recreational sports into your daily routine and look forward to those days out at the park - they’re sure to love it!

Encouraging them to join in may seem daunting initially but once they start, it can quickly become something that they look forward to every day. Give yourself some time to adjust too - physical activities with young children often take more energy than expected. This “challenge” can be turned into a positive however; being active together encourages conversations, increases understanding and strengthens the bond between parent and child. So enjoy a healthier lifestyle together while harnessing all of these amazing benefits! Click here to learn more about why being a role model is important in your child's life.


It's never too early to start promoting physical activity in kids! By following the tips above, you can safely encourage your little ones to get moving and might even have some fun yourself in the process. Leading by example is one of the best ways to influence your child's behavior, so make sure you're getting active too.Not sure where to start? YFN academy offers a variety of resources on health and fitness for young children that can help you get started. Check us out today!


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “How much physical activity do children need?.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 6 June 2020,

IYDE. "Why Do Kids Seek Role Models?". IYDE, 21 Aug. 2021,

NHS. “Physical Activity Guidelines for Children Under Five Years.” NHS, National Health Service,,and%20during%20supervised%20floor%20play.

Virtual Lab School. “Providing a Safe Environment Indoors and Outdoors.” Virtual Lab School, 2020,