Toddlers love to move around. All physical activities – whether it's walking, running, climbing, jumping or dancing – help their muscles, bones and brains develop. Ideally, they need 180 minutes of activity a day. But don't worry, it doesn't have to be all at once – 10 or 20 minutes here and there all counts towards the total. And all sorts of activity counts, whether it's indoors or outdoors. It's just about getting them moving every day.
Playtime activities are equally important and really helpful for language development, cognitive growth (thinking, concentrating, problem-solving, decision-making) fine and gross motor skills (big and small physical movements), and social interaction.
Practice makes perfect, and it's an important part of growing up, so it's good to try to make sure your baby is free to have a toddle when they get the urge.
Get them running around the park – take a ball and practise throwing, catching and kicking it around. These simple activities teach skills like co-ordination, balance and agility.
Your local leisure centre may have fun activities for parents and toddlers. Or you could join a pre-school playgroup so that your toddler can learn new skills and make new friends. If you receive benefits, you may be entitled to help with childcare and early education.
Toddlers love sensory play, and it's a wonderful way to spend time with them and let them explore the world. It's all about stimulating their senses through touch, smell, taste, seeing and hearing. Look out for playgroups that offer messy play areas, or create your own messy play area at home.
Once your little one has mastered walking, try to encourage this as much as possible. When you can, allow some extra time to get to the shops, or park, and let your toddler walk some of the way.
If it's a stay-at-home sort of day, try to limit the screen time and get them moving around instead. Have a game of hide-and-seek, see who can do the most star jumps, create an obstacle course or stick some music on and have a dance-off. There are lots of ways to get them moving and exercising at home!
Splashing about in the pool helps develop water confidence, works and strengthens muscles, and is a great form of exercise. To avoid accidents, children should be supervised at all times when playing in water.