Prioritizing PE: The Importance of Physical Activity During Distance Learning

Thankfully, we’ve been able to spend plenty of time outdoors throughout most of the pandemic. Socially-distanced walks, hikes, and bike rides have been safe, as well as running around the backyard with all the normal bikes, balls, swing sets, and gross-motor toys that live out there. With winter well on its way, our kids will still need to move (even though we will likely be spending much more time inside our homes).


Below, we’ll share a few tips on how to keep your kids engaging in physical activity during distance learning and provide some fun ideas for movement games for all ages:


Kids of All Ages Need to Move

PE class may only be for school-age kids, but that doesn’t take away from how much a toddler needs to run, jump, and climb. The same goes for your elementary-aged kid who may be content sitting around at home. It’s still important to have them move their bodies every day.


Check out the recommendations below to get an idea of how often kids of different ages really do need to move:


  • SHAPE America suggests toddlers (3-5 year olds) participate in at least 30 minutes of structured movement activities every day, as well as at least 1 hour (and up to several hours) of unstructured movement time each day.


  • The CDC recommends kids from 6-17 years old participate in at least 1 hour of moderate-to-vigorous exercise every single day.


These standards are met when the kids have gym class, but how will you prioritize this same physical activity during distance learning at home?

How to Prioritize Physical Activity During Distance Learning

While your child is home, however, their need for movement will have to be met there, too. Movement games are an excellent way to make sure this happens:

Movement Games for Toddlers

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that even the littlest of our children need to move. We know they learn best through play and everyday activities, so school subjects aren’t always on our radar. However, keeping these tiny ones moving should still be a priority.


Providing your toddler with movement opportunities throughout the day (even if you’re stuck inside due to freezing cold temperatures or rainy days) helps you lead them into a healthy lifestyle as they grow.


It also helps them sleep better and stick to more appropriate actions throughout the day (and all parents of tiny humans can appreciate that!).


To get your toddler moving, try:


  • Playing a game of hide-and-seek

  • Setting up an obstacle course with chairs to weave around, a table to crawl under, couch cushions to climb over, and any other (safe) obstacles you can find 

  • Turn on some children’s music and have a dance party

  • Encourage an “animal parade” and have your toddler march their stuffed animals one-by-one throughout all the rooms in the house


Movement Games for Preschoolers

Preschoolers should not only be moving, but learning and practicing new ways to get around as well:


  • Pretend to be animals! Hop like a rabbit, walk like a bear on your hands and feet, flap your arms like a bird flying high in the sky; the options are endless

  • If you’ve got a large open space, bring a trike inside and let them practice pedaling around in circles

  • Grab some walkie-talkies and have your kids (or you with your child) have conversations from all different areas of the house

  • Play a game your child’s never experienced. This list is filled with creative ideas.




Movement Games for Elementary Age


Elementary-aged students need to move just as much as younger kids, even if it’s not quite as obvious. You can involve older children in any of the movement activities listed above if they’re interested, or try something a bit more unique to get them excited about physical activity:


  • Discover the world of Children’s Yoga

  • Try out GoNoodle (a fun site that’s filled with movement videos for kids)

  • Introduce your child to common workouts, such as sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, and stair steps. Introduce these in a positive light and follow your child’s lead to ensure they’re comfortable and having fun


Toys to Support Physical Activity During Distance Learning

If you’re in need of a few new items to keep your kids moving this winter, check out our Physical Play section at Timeless Toys Chicago. Whether it’s a ride-on toy, an air fort to crawl around in, or a Table Tennis Set, we’re here to help however we can.