Get Up & Grow: Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Early Childhood - Staff and Carer Book

Ideas for active play equipment for one-to five-year-olds

Page last updated: 25 May 2011

Play objects can be toys or everyday items, and should be appropriate in relation to the development of the child. Active play should encourage the use of the upper body, the lower body and the whole body, in indoor and outdoor play spaces.

Always ensure the safety of all play equipment, including any access to and storage of equipment. Remember that some objects suitable for older children may not be safe for younger children.

Upper body movements

Provide objects to hold, wave, shake, bang, throw, hit or catch.

Suggestions for equipment:

Balls, pom poms, mini beanbags, bats, rackets, quoits, tambourines, streamers, empty containers, pots and pans.

Lower body movements

Provide objects to move over, through or around.

Suggestions for equipment:

Hoops, tunnels, foam noodles, cones, tyres, boxes, coloured carpet squares, chalk marks and piles of leaves.


Always consider children's safety when planning climbing activities. However, children should be allowed to take appropriate risks.

Suggestions for equipment:

Climbing frames, low branches, ladders, ropes, stepping stones and boxes.


Balancing activities do not need to be high, and age should always be considered when setting up equipment.

Suggestions for equipment:

Beams, wobble boards, planks of wood, logs, chalk lines, stepping logs and stones.


Building activities can include stacking items, or making constructions such as cubby houses.

Suggestions for equipment:

Wooden blocks, sand, buckets, boxes, planks of wood, tyres, old linen and furniture.

Creative movement

Suggestions for equipment:

Music, musical instruments, bells, rattles, streamers and ribbons.