Eight Physical Activities for Energetic Toddlers

June 28, 2018 Published by

Active games for energetic toddlers

Toddlers are positively buzzing with energy most of the time! Here are some simple activities to help burn off some of that energy, and also help develop those all-important gross motor skills. Many of these ideas can be done outdoors or indoors – but don’t be afraid to don a jumper or coat and get outside whatever the weather.

Walking on pillows


What can your cushions and pillows become? How about a set of stepping stones across the living room floor – jumping across is a fun challenge for a toddler and helps to develop their gross motor skills. Plus they’ll have a softer landing, just in case. https://handsonaswegrow.com/gross-motor-activity-walking-pillows/

Helping to wash the car


Active and practical; this is the perfect toddler activity. Water play is always a big hit so why not combine it with some bubbles, a sponge and a car (it could even be their ride-on car).  As well as being fun, it also helps strengthen your toddler’s muscles as they stretch and bend, squeeze and scrub.

Walking the plank


Make a balance beam and encourage your child to walk, run, jump or crawl from one end to the other. Simply use masking tape, string, or a skipping rope to mark out the line. You could make it into a fun role-play game; perhaps there are some pirates at one end of the ‘plank’, or maybe they are walking a tightrope in the circus. If your child is a confident mover, challenge them further by getting them to hop or side-step. This is a great way to challenge coordination and balance and explore new ways of moving. 

An obstacle course

This is one of those activities that can be made using almost anything – a row of chairs, some cushions, a play tunnel, a sheet, or some toilet roll … all of these everyday items can be used to make a fun course for a toddler.  They will have to use a range of muscles and coordination as they balance, climb and crawl their way along the course.  

Beanbag Toss


Start by setting up targets for your toddler to aim at – you can use paper plates or draw onto the pavement with chalk. Use familiar colours, shapes or numbers to get your toddler to practise their recognition of these at the same time; either have them throw something soft (such as a beanbag or soft toy) onto a specific target or let them choose and ask what they have landed on afterwards. You can encourage further learning by introducing one new colour/shape/number at a time. This activity is also good for hand-eye coordination.  

Jumping beans


Jumping beans is a simple game where the adult calls out a type of bean and the child carries out an associated movement.

For example:

  • Jumping beans = jump
  • Runner beans = run
  • Broad bean = stretch arms and legs out wide

Teach your child some of the names and the associated move – start with just a few and build it up over time.  This activity is not only good for gross motor development, it also promotes memory and attention skills.  

Toddler yoga

Yoga can be a good way to calm down a fidgety toddler and is good for mindfulness and focus. Try and do some simple moves together – it’s a good way to bond and has some giggles along the way when one of you falls over! Yoga can also develop coordination and balance, and strengthen muscles.

Balloon badminton

Keep the balloon from touching the ground! Use homemade bats (made from paper plates) to hit the balloon around the room.

Balloon Badminton is a great game to get everyone – toddlers, older siblings and parents alike – moving around the room. It’s also a little less dangerous for indoor play, as there are not hard balls to throw/catch/kick.

Whilst having lots of fun, toddlers will be strengthening their arms and leg muscles and developing their hand-eye coordination. 

How else does your family get active? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter!



(Image Credits – Yoga with Charlie Lamont by FutureStreet licensed under CC BY 2.0)




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This post was written by Claire Gillies

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