Top Tips to Keep Toddlers Active this Christmas!

Judy More, Paediatric Dietitian and Registered Nutritionist

 

As Christmas approaches it can be difficult to plan activities for toddlers! Between decorating, shopping and cooking it may be a challenge to find time to include fun active play with your little one. The Infant & Toddler Forum is here to help with our top tips for maintaining healthy, fun activities for your toddlers during the festive season!

Take advantage of extra family time by engaging in Christmas themed activities such as:

  • The Advent Calendar Challenge: Download our festive activity planner as a healthy alternative to the traditional advent calendar to help your family get organised in the lead up to Christmas. With suggestions from a trip to the playground for 30 minutes of outdoor play, to a Christmas dancing competition, your toddler will love getting involved in planning their daily play with our festive 24-day activity calendar!
  • A Christmas nature hunt: Skip along and collect leaves, berries, acorns and pine cones to make decorations for the tree or table. Let your toddler get creative with lots of glitter and sticking
  • The magic of Christmas: Take a walk to see all the lights in your local community or visit Santa at your local shopping or garden centre. There are often other fun festive things for the children to look at and get involved in at Christmas time
  • Festive family fun: Give indoor family games a festive spin. Musical statues to Christmas music or pin the nose on Rudolph are both fun and festive ideas
  • Find Santa’s secret Christmas present: Plan an indoor or outdoor hunt for the secret gift – make it fun with a few clues
  • Wonder of a White Christmas: If you are lucky enough to have snow, get children to make a snowman, have a snowball fight or make snow angels by lying on their backs and moving their arms up and down, and legs from side to side
  • Be creative this holiday season: Decorate gingerbread biscuits or a Christmas cake with your toddler, make snowmen out of toilet rolls and cotton wool or even create your own wrapping paper!
  • Ask friends & family about Christmas events in your local area: Often there are fun runs/walks where people dress up, free plays or toddler carol concerts, or even making the most of a local playgroup which have lots of active Christmas themed events.

In addition to our festive play suggestions try and limit screen time. It can be an easy solution to pop on a film or play games on a tablet to keep your toddler busy, instead, incorporate our interactive suggestions for a balanced play time. Lastly, make sure your toddler has down time. It is important for your toddler to get their required 12 hours of rest per day, even if your normal schedule is slightly out of routine. After all, it is a joyful time of year!

For more ideas, download The Infant & Toddler Forum Activity Advent Calendar and Tips for Active Toddlers today!

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Further Reading

  • Lucy Upton, Specialist Paediatric Dietitian and Nutritionist   Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century, with recent NHS figures revealing that one child under five is admitted to hospital because of obesity every week. The coronavirus pandemic and resultant lockdown has challenged already difficult circumstances and during this time many children were consuming more higher fat and/or sugar snacks, spending longer in front of screens and missing out on regular activity including physical education classes.
  • Dr Gill Harris, Consultant Paediatric Clinical Psychologist   Following his recent recovery from coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has publicly blamed excess weight for his need for intensive care. He has subsequently declared a war on the UK’s obesity crisis and is planning a post-pandemic public health drive to battle the growing problem.
  • Katie Fox, Primary School Teacher   Due to coronavirus, playgroups and nurseries are shut and those children due to start school in a few months will be out of routine and away from friends. It is understandable that many parents are worried about getting their children ready for September. Children learn and progress at different rates so there are no set criteria on what they need to be able to know or do when they first start nursery, but if they have had some experience learning at home it could help to make it a smoother transition. Turn taking games, imaginative play, reading, and developing fine and gross motor skills can promote independence, build confidence and help develop simple skills.