Home > Physical activities > Toddlers


Toddlers (1 to 2 years)

Should be physically active for at least 3 hours spread throughout the day.

The recommendation is that a toddler should not spend anytime watching television or using other electronic media (DVDs, computer games, other electronic games).


When a baby begins to walk we refer to him or her as a toddler. Toddlers want to do things for themselves. They are busy, energetic and they explore everything, often without any apparent purpose. They delight in carting materials from one place to another. This is called 'fill and dump' play.


Physical activities for toddlers

  • Hand activities
    Encourage them to use their hands. Toddlers like putting things together and taking things apart. Give them a cupboard of their own to stack containers in, store anything in there.
  • Girls playing
  • Stacking
    They like to put things in things. Stacking and sorting.
  • Target throwing - e.g. Balls and buckets.
  • Carting and carrying
  • Step climbing
    Provide things and opportunities to climb. When you can, spend time with the child climbing up and down steps.
  • Boy in box tunnel
  • Crawling
    Provide things to crawl into and onto. Children love tunnels. Collect old refrigerator boxes.
  • Walking activities
    Provide things and opportunities to walk with.
  • Ball play
    Make your own out of pantyhose and stuff with polyester fibrefill stuffing. Cut the top pants off and then cut the leg into 3 pieces. Tie a knot in one end, stuff and then tie another know. The more, the better fun.
  • Dancing or movement to music
  • Obstacle courses - inside and outside.
  • Jingle bell anklets
    Sew some jingle bells onto elastic that will fit a child's ankles comfortably. They love to jump up and down to music and make the jungle bells ring.
  • Rolling in a sheet
  • Rolling
    Rolling in a sheet or blanket or giving rides on a sheet.
  • Diving
    Diving into a pile of pillows or mattress which is on the floor.
  • Running after bubbles
  • Autumn leaf games
    Children love to walk and kick autumn leaves around so do the same thing indoors with newspaper. Then have races to pick it all up (e.g. Before you count to 10)
  • Sandpit
  • Slinky punch ball
    Punching ball on slinky - attach one end of the slinky to the ceiling. Attach the ball to the other end so it hangs about four feet off the ground. Let the children hit the ball with their hand or with a paper towel tube. The ball will bounce up and down as well as back and forth.
  • Riding toys
    Make a garage for them out of freezer boxes.
  • Collecting
    Give the child a basket to collect things from outside—use a theme. E.g. Collect seed pods, flower petals, bark.
  • Dress ups and dramatic play
  • Water play
  • Water and sand play
  • Balloon games
    Walk balloon between knees, keep hitting the balloon so it doesn't touch the ground.
  • Balancing
    Activities that require balance. E.g. Walking on a straight chalk line or a rope, hopping.
  • Imitation
    Imitating and doll play. Encourage the child to imitate you—this is how they learn.
This project was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing