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

Movement ideas for one-to five-year-olds

Page last updated: 25 May 2011

Lower body

Examples include jumping, kicking, marching, walking and running.

Start with:

  • jumping on the spot, to music or on a low trampoline
  • kicking large, stationary blow-up balls, scrunched-up paper or empty plastic containers
  • marching on the spot, to music or around furniture
  • walking on different surfaces, or around different objects
  • running through tied-up paper streamers.

Progress to:

  • jumping over or around objects such as ropes, cones or coloured carpet squares; for longer distances, mimicking an animal
  • kicking using either leg, or for longer distances and greater heights
  • marching sideways, backwards and forwards or leading with the opposite leg
  • walking in different directions, speeds and shapes, on tip toes or along a rope
  • running backwards, around an obstacle course or for longer distances.

Upper body

Examples include building, hitting, throwing and digging.

Start with:

  • building with big, light objects, such as cardboard boxes, milk crates or buckets
  • hitting large, stationary beach balls or scrunched-up paper (with hands)
  • throwing pom poms, large balls or beanbags
  • digging through boxes of scarves or wool (with hands).

Progress to:

  • building with small and large objects, such as boxes, sticks or blocks
  • hitting slow-moving balls, with one hand and then the other
  • throwing with one hand and then the opposite hand, or at a target
  • digging with spades or old containers in dirt or sand.

Whole body

Examples include dancing, climbing and balancing.

Start with:

  • dancing to different stories, sounds and rhythms, or to percussion instruments
  • climbing on furniture, pillows, through hoops or under sheets
  • balancing between chalk lines, inside a hoop or on top of large, level surfaces.

Progress to:

  • dancing at different speeds or with objects such as streamers, or learning dance sequences
  • climbing up and down ropes and ladders, or over boxes and climbing frames
  • balancing on planks of wood, on one leg, with arms in the air or on tip toes.