Looking back, we all feel like we were so much fitter and more physically healthy when we were young, and to an extent this is true. In hindsight it is clear that as kids we were much more active than the new generation and would often partake in challenging activities to aid fitness.
Would you like to know how these challenging activities will make your child more physically competent?
Children have a natural level of energy and flexibility that seems like a distant dream to many of us parents, and yet that does not mean that we can take their physical wellness for granted.
Those little bodies often find coordination, control, stamina, strength, agility and accuracy pretty difficult, because these are things that they have yet to learn.
We all know how clumsy toddlers can be, but kids and teenagers also often take a while to gain full control of their bodies too.
Helping your child to develop their physical skills will not only improve their physical competence, but it will also have a huge impact on their mental wellness and self worth.
It will enable them to feel better able to complete tasks independently, and ultimately to participate in sports and other activities with confidence.
The following 26 activities are great fun, very simple and highly effective. They are ideas for how you can make your child more physically competent with 26 challenging activities.
26 Challenging Activities That Will Make Your Child More Physically Competent
Challenging Activities For Toddlers To Make Them More Physically Competent (Aged 2-4)
Point And Touch
To develop your toddler’s hand/eye coordination and to make your child more physically competent, you can play Point and Touch.
By asking them to ‘Point to my nose’ or ‘touch your lips’ you encourage them to use accurate movements and to be able to aim at a specific spot. They will also learn the names of body parts as a bonus!
Much of a toddler’s coordination relies on rhythm, and encouraging your child to clap along to their favorite songs will really develop this in them.
Start with simple two-handed clapping, and then progress to clapping hand to thighs and even your hands with theirs. This simple activity will make your child more physically competent in no time.
Jumping Jacks are great if you have a particularly energetic toddler because they require a lot of energy and will help to tire your little one out. They build stamina, rhythm and coordination, and they are also great for letting off steam if your toddler is becoming wound up.
Putting some music on and dancing about with your toddler will encourage them to explore their physicality in all directions, and will also put a huge smile on their face! Waving arms up high, then wiggling bums down low are fun moves, and will give your baby a great workout.
Dancing is a great way to make your child more physically competent.
It may seem mad, but encouraging your little one to place their toys back in a box or chest after play is a great physical development exercise (and you get a tidy living room!).
The act of picking up items and placing them inside the box requires motor skills and accuracy, and it will also encourage lots of bending down and lifting up, which is something many little ones struggle with at first.
Walk The Line
A brilliant way of developing your toddler’s balance and coordination is to play Walk the Line. Simply lay a skipping rope or piece of string down on the ground and ask your child to walk along it.
First forwards, then sideways, and then maybe even backwards! You can make it great fun by pretending the carpet/floor is water!
Burst The Bubbles
Stepping outside to blow bubbles will not only give your toddler some fresh air, but will also develop their physical competence through reaching and running. Encouraging them to burst the bubbles gives them a target to aim for and develops accuracy and balance.
Splash In Puddles
Puddles are wonderful because they react and respond with ripples and splashes as your child moves. Jumping in puddles encourages little ones to bend their knees and propel themselves off the ground (if only a millimeter) which is something that they often find difficult.
Not only is this activity fun, it will make your child more physically competent.
Challenging Activities For Children To Make Them More Physically Competent (aged 5-8)
Simon Says is a great way of encouraging slightly older children to attempt more challenging physical postures in a fun way.
Asking your kids to touch their toes, run on the spot, spin around and hop on one leg, are all great options. This game also requires kids to listen hard and follow instructions.
Stillness is something that many young children find particularly difficult, and Musical Statues is a brilliant way to help them master it.
Play fun music that they can wiggle and boogie to, then pause the music at unexpected times so that they have to freeze on the spot. It helps with balance, determination, stamina and strength.
There are lots of wonderful Kiddie yoga videos and tutorials available on YouTube, and a 10 minute session is more than enough to benefit your child.
Yoga helps with flexibility, stability, strength and coordination, and it has countless mental wellness benefits too.
This is a really fun one and is so simple. All you need is a beanbag or small ball which you and your child can throw and catch.
However, as you throw and catch you pretend that it is a hot potato that is too hot to hold, so you have to speed up and throw as fast as you can. hand/eye coordination, accuracy and motor skills are all developed through this game.
Handstand, Cartwheel, Forward Roll
These gymnastics moves may seem impossible to us parents, but your children are more flexible and fearless than we are and they will love giving them a go.
Handstands and cartwheels are great for building upper body strength, and forward rolls are brilliant for agility and control.
Creating a scavenger hunt for your kids is a great way to get them running around outside in the fresh air.
Not only is it good for cardiovascular health, but it also encourages them to use every part of their bodies as they search under rocks, in bushes and up trees. Best of all, they won’t realize they are exercising!
Running races often seem intimidating and too competitive for young children, but animal races are fun for everyone!
Ask your kids to crawl like a tiger, slither like a snake, and bounce like a kangaroo to the finish line. If you have animal masks to wear, all the better!
Challenging Activities For Kids To Make Them More Physically Competent (aged 8-12)
Indoor Obstacle Course
An indoor obstacle course is an awesome way to give grade school aged kids a chance to challenge themselves and push their physical boundaries.
You can create a fun course using kitchen chairs to climb over, tables to crawl under, cushions to jump between and shoes to weave through.
Having a timer ticking always makes this game more fun! This is a great way for kids to burn off dome energy on rainy days when they are stuck indoors. We love this activity to help a child become more physically competent.
Outdoor Obstacle Course
Of course, outdoor obstacle courses have the added benefit of fresh air and sunlight! If you can find a bucket to throw items into, it is great for accuracy and physical control. Lying a ladder flat on the grass and getting them to jump between the rungs is another good one.
Hoola hoops, jump ropes and egg and spoon, are all other great activities to have in your homemade course!
Between the age of 8 and 12, kids really benefit from dance classes where they can grow in confidence both physically and socially, and can also learn about discipline and practice as pathways to physical improvement.
Boys and girls can benefit from the coordination, strength, fitness and poise that dance classes offer.
Kids do so much growing that their bodies can often feel uncontrollable and clumsy. Practicing mid-morning balances each day can help them to develop muscle strength as they grow.
Balancing on one foot and reaching forwards, sideways, or even down to the ground are great exercises. They are quick to do, and quick to show improvement too.
One Step Behind
To play One Step Behind you simply demonstrate arm and leg poses and your child has to copy them, but do the pose one step behind the one that you are doing! It gets really confusing but is super fun. It develops physical and mental strength through concentration, determination and accuracy.
Monkey Bars are an ideal physical activity for grade school aged kids because they are adventurous and exciting, but they also develop upper body strength, agility, determination, stamina and control.
Children tend to find monkey bars easier than adults due to their lesser body weight, but your child might still need you to hold their legs on the first try. Make them feel really proud of themselves by showing them how few rungs you can do!
Kids don’t very often enjoy running for the sake of running, so taking them on fun runs is a great way of getting them to enjoy the benefits of running without it feeling like detention.
You set targets like, the lamp post, the letter box, the grocery store, Mr. Peterson’s house, and then choose different running styles to reach each one. Not only is fun running a great activity, it is a great choice to make your child more physically competent.
Skipping, lunging, running as though you are spies who must not be seen, and marching are all examples of how you can switch things up.
Challenging Activities For Teenagers To Make Them More Physically Competent (aged 13-15)
Teenage bodies go through so many changes and growth spurts, so encouraging your teen to do a gentle gym workout each week is a great way for them to stay in control of their physicality.
Sit ups, push ups, pull ups and squats are all great for muscle building and strengthening. Treadmills, cross trainers and rowing machines are great for cardio fitness and for burning off excess energy.
This kind of exercise is brilliant for mental wellbeing as well as making your child more physically competent, and can help to alleviate stresses and anxieties that any teen may be experiencing.
Socializing is a hugely important part of being a teenager, and joining a local or school sports team is a great way of developing physical fitness and social skills at the same time.
Cooperation, teamwork and leadership are all developed through team sports, and teens will also gain specialist physical skills related to their chosen sport.
Swimming is an excellent activity for young teens as it is non weight bearing. Whilst teenage bodies are going through so many changes, injuries and soreness are more common.
The water supports the body as it swims, making swimming a particularly safe choice of activity for growing bodies.
What is more, teens do not need to swim laps in order to benefit from being in the water. Splashing about with friends, jumping and diving in, and exploring underwater will all also be working their muscles and increasing their fitness levels, even without them noticing.
In a similar way, if you live by the sea then encouraging your teens to surf or bodyboard is a great way to keep them active and healthy without it feeling like a punishment.
We all know that teenagers often put up a fight when asked to do exercise. It is a time in their lives when they prefer being shut in their room, listening to music and chatting to friends on social media.
But encouraging your teen to cycle to school rather than catch the bus is a brilliant way to ensure that they get some much needed exercise every day of the week.
Cycling is not only great for balance, cardiovascular fitness, strength and stamina, it is also much better for the environment than driving or riding the bus. Your teen will get fresh air, sunlight and exercise, just make sure that they always wear a helmet.
Doing a little physical activity each day will help your child grow in confidence and develop greater physical competence. The key to any physical development is to do little and often and to always keep it fun.
With laughter and creativity your child will be able to gain strength, agility, flexibility, coordination, accuracy and control. Before you know it, they will be the ones running rings around you!