Preschool Physical Education

If I had one tenth of the energy my preschooler has, I could conquer the world!

Preschool physical education releases energy, and builds muscle strength, coordination and flexibility. Physical activity also helps develop gross motor skills - the large muscle movements of the arms, legs, feet and body.

A typical preschooler should be able to:

  • walk in a straight line,
  • walk backward,
  • run,
  • march,
  • stand on 1 foot,
  • hop,
  • jump forward and backward,
  • climb stairs,
  • alternate feet walking down stairs,
  • slide, and
  • throw, catch, bounce and kick a ball.

Some preschoolers may even be able to skip or pedal a tricycle.

Physical Fitness

Physical activity also reduces sedentary behavior, thus decreasing the risk of obesity in later years. It is recommended that children get at least 2 hours of moderate to vigorous activity per day.

Children need free play outdoors to take walks, run, ride bikes or scooters, and play with frisbees, hoola hoops, jump ropes or balls.

Here are some of our favorite activities for preschool physical education:

  • Take duct tape in a straight line on the ground or floor, and let your child practice walking the balance beam.

  • Have a race while balancing a bean bag on your head, or take turns tossing bean bags into buckets from various distances.

  • Set up an obstacle course in your back yard. Jump over a rope, toss a bean bag in the bucket, do five jumping jacks, kick a ball into the goal, then zig zag through the cones to the finish line.

  • Let your child play with a jumbo exercise ball. For safety reasons, we limit this activity to the back yard.

  • Wiggle a jump rope along the ground like a snake and have your child jump over it.

  • Play tag, Follow the Leader, Mother May I, Red Light/Green Light, or Hide and Go Seek.

  • Have a potato sack using old pillow cases. Or, race while holding an egg in a spoon.

  • Don't forget everyone's favorite - water balloons!

Indoor Preschool P.E. Activities

On rainy days, put on a raincoat and boots, and grab an umbrella. Or try these indoor preschool physical education activities:

  • Grab opposite ends of an old sheet, and raise it up and down like a parachute.

  • Pile pillows, blankets and couch cushions on the floor to climb or jump into.

  • Play musical chairs or freeze dance. When the music stops, those who don't stop moving are out.

Outside games, like Mother May I and potato sack races can also be played indoors. However, if you are less adventurous than we are, pack up the kids and head to the local gym.

First Picture Playground Games Do you have trouble remembering the rules to your favorite activities? First Picture Playground Games contains instructions for 20 P.E. favorites like Monkey in the Middle and Grumpy Frog. This affordable, full-sized board book contains adorable claymation illustrations your preschooler will love.

Teaching Tips and Resources

Follow this link to find out why I recommend Usborne preschool books and learn about additional resources your preschooler will enjoy. Next, look at tips and ideas for teaching:

Preschool art,
Preschool writing,
Preschool math,
Preschool science, and
Preschool reading.

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