Do You See What I See?

Regular exercise is essential to children’s physical development, but it’s also important to be mindful of their cognitive development. There are different developmental milestones children reach at different ages. These milestones are categorized into different types of development:

  • Social/emotional
  • Language/communication
  • Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
  • Movement/physical

Games can be a great way to help your child reach these milestones. For example, preschoolers can benefit from games that help them learn their colors and understand their surroundings.


To improve your children’s health as well as cognitive development, go for a walk with your family and play the game “Do you see what I see?” Pick an object that everyone can see as you are walking. Without telling anyone what you are looking at, describe it and let everyone guess what it is. Take turns being the one to choose the object. Practicing observing and describing their surroundings through games like this can improve preschool-age children’s cognitive development. But no matter how old your child is, this is can be a fun game that also gets your family moving together.


A healthy diet is critical to all kinds of development, so make sure your children are eating nutritious fruits and vegetables, lean meats, beans, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy, and whole grains to help them grow!


To learn more about child development, visit


Where will you go to play “Do You See What I See?”

Make Up a Story and Act it Out

Imagination is an important part of childhood development. As children imagine new possibilities, they learn to think outside the box and solve problems in unique ways. This kind of thinking is critical to their cognitive development. While some adults struggle with creative thinking, children usually don’t! Children often have wild and active imaginations, so why not try putting those creative minds towards physical activity?


Allow each family member to make up a story. As they tell the story, everyone acts it out. You can pretend you are going to the beach, hiking up a mountain, or anything else you can dream up! Make sure to really exaggerate your movements to get the physical benefits of this activity. For example, take big steps as you pretend to hike up a mountain, and alternate arm movements as you pretend to rock climb.


Acting out stories is a great way to Move More, whether you play inside or outside! When the weather is too hold, cold, or rainy, there are always activities like this you can play inside. Limit time spent watching TV or playing video games when your children play inside. Instead, choose physical activities like “keep the balloon up.” To learn how to play and for more indoor activities, visit


Share the stories you and your family make up!

Protein Power Moves

Physical activity doesn’t always have to be an organized sport. While organized sports are fun for the whole family to play, sometimes the weather may be unfavorable or you may not have enough people for a game. When you don’t have time or convenient access to the equipment needed to play a structured activity, try activities that you can play with fewer people and less organization. One you can try is “Protein Power Moves,” which involves acting out movements of protein-rich foods.


Have everyone in the family line up in a single line or form a circle. One member of the family calls out the action (see list below) and another member of the family keeps time. Follow the leader doing each action for one minute.



  • Flap and cluck like a chicken
  • Walk and stomp like a cow
  • Run and squeal like a pig
  • Grow from small to tall like a string bean
  • Swim real fast like a fish


Eating enough protein-containing foods and doing weight-bearing exercises are essential to building strong bones and muscles. Weight-bearing exercises are more than just lifting weights (which may not be appropriate for young children)–they can also be activities like jogging and hiking. You and your children may also enjoy exercises like push-ups and sit-ups. To learn more about appropriate strength exercises for your children, visit


Remember to drink a glass of low-fat milk to build even stronger bones and muscles!


Tennis is a fast-paced sport played with either 2 players or 4. One player competes against another in singles tennis. In doubles tennis, four players are split into two teams and the two teams compete. Children who aren’t interested in playing a team sport may enjoy tennis as an alternative. Playing tennis regularly can improve heart health, bone health, and improve hand-eye coordination.¹ It also uses many muscles in your legs, arms, and upper body, helping to increase your muscle strength. Tennis supports brain development by increasing alertness, which is especially valuable for growing children!


The first thing to learn about playing tennis are the different strokes (techniques for hitting the ball). Here are a few to get your children started:

  • Forehand Groundstroke: In the forehand stroke, you hold the racquet in such a way that if the racquet wasn’t there, the ball would hit your palm. Wait for the ball to reach you, holding the racquet in front of you. As the ball approaches, swing the racquet at the ball with your arm and wrist relaxed. When the racquet makes contact with the ball, snap your wrist and follow through with the racquet over your opposite shoulder.
  • Backhand Groundstroke: In the backhand stroke, you hold the racquet in such a way that if the racquet weren’t there, the ball would hit the back of your hand. Wait and hit the ball with a similar technique as in the forehand stroke. Except for backhand, pull the racquet to the opposite side of your body with your palm facing your body and the back of your hand facing out.
  • Serve: Toss the ball up and fully extend your arm. Look at the ball as you pull the racquet behind your head and swing it back to hit the the ball.

The main difference between the forehand and backhand stroke is which side of your body you hit the ball on. If you’re right-handed, you’d hit the ball on the right side of your body for forehand and the left side for back hand (and vice versa if you’re left-handed). To learn more tennis fundamentals, visit and


Since tennis is usually played outdoors, make sure children wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn. Also, they should wear protective glasses or goggles. Such eyewear should be made with polycarbonate. Shoulder, elbow, wrist, and ankle injuries are common in tennis players, so advise children to practice proper technique and not to overexert themselves. For more tennis safety tips, visit and


Many parks have open-use tennis courts you can play on. Children who like tennis may also be interested in trying racquetball or badminton. You can find places to play tennis year you by visiting


Tell us how your children enjoy playing tennis!




Hopscotch is a children’s game that has lasted through the generations–and for good reason! No equipment is required and children enjoy making their own hopscotch spaces using sidewalk chalk. It’s also a great game for preschoolers to practice their motor skills by learning to control their movement while hopping on one foot.


To play hopscotch, draw a diagram like the one above using sidewalk chalk on asphalt or concrete. You can also play inside and make the diagram with tape. This is a great way to let your children get creative with making the diagram! The player going first should toss a small rock, small bean bag, or other marker onto the first space on the diagram. Whichever spot the marker lands on is the space they need to hop to. Hop on single squares with one foot and side-by-side squares with one foot in each square. Once you reach the marker, pick it up (still on one foot!) and toss it to the next space to continue. After the first player is finished, subsequent players may take their turns.


In addition to the classic way to play hopscotch, there are other ways to play. For more detailed instructions and hopscotch variations, visit See if you and your children can think of your own way to play!


How do your children play hopscotch?

Plan a Family Outing

What’s the last activity you and your family did outside of the home? It’s easy to suffer from “cabin fever” after being at home for awhile. When you and your family are feeling restless and need time out of your home, plan an active family outing!


Plan family events that involve physical activities (e.g. hiking, horseback riding, camping, water sports) to help your children get the recommended 60 minutes of daily activity. Hiking and camping are great ways to experience nature while Moving More. Water sports may be unfamiliar to you and your family, but there are many to choose from. If you have access to a net, give water volleyball a shot. You can even try activities like “Sharks and Minnows,” water aerobics, and diving. There’s also water polo and its more child-friendly version called “Splashball.” Finding horseback riding lessons near you can be a great opportunity to teach your children about farm animals and the importance of farmers growing our food!


For more ideas on how to be active as a family, both in and out of the home, visit


This weekend, try an activity you haven’t before. Share what you did and how your family liked it! Can you think of other family activities?

Ultimate Frisbee

Organized sports are great physical activities for children to learn sportsmanship, treating others with respect, and honesty. Ultimate frisbee may be a new sport to you and your family, but it can be a fun, unique game to play. It’s played like soccer and football, except instead of playing with a ball you toss a frisbee. Oftentimes, parks will have open grassy areas you can play on. You may even find a soccer field with painted boundaries you can use. You can also play more casually in your yard.


Throwing a frisbee isn’t hard once you practice it a bit. Hold the frisbee in your dominant hand with your thumb on top of the disc and your pointer and middle fingers on the underside. Twisting the opposite way (if you’re right-handed, move your body to your left), bend your elbow and then untwist and release the frisbee as you extend your arm out. Each team scores by completing a pass in the other team’s end zone. Don’t let the frisbee hit the ground or run with the frisbee. If you’re holding the frisbee, you have 10 seconds to pass it–just remember not to run with the frisbee!


Make sure the ground is free of debris and other safety hazards before you play. Also, take the time to stretch first since ultimate frisbee involves running and throwing! To learn official rules, technique, and “the Spirit of the Game,” visit


Start practicing your frisbee toss to get started!

Child Development

Recent research shows that our brains don’t finish developing until around age 25.¹ Children’s emotional, physical, mental, and social skills develop tremendously as they get older. Many developmental skills can be improved through physical activity. Find your child’s age below and try the corresponding activities with your child. These activities can help your child grow and develop while also getting their 60 minutes of daily physical activity!


6 to 18 months (Infants)

  • Hiding games can help improve infants’ working memory. Hide a toy under a small cloth or blanket and once they can find it, try hiding it elsewhere and show them that it’s not under the cloth. You may be able to play hide-and-seek with older infants, or try hiding an object without them seeing and have them find it.
  • Take turns doing an activity your older infant is interested in, such as picking up toys and cleaning. Children at this age often imitate what they see you do, so you can encourage them to participate in activities such as these that get them moving and work their muscles.
  • Simple hand movements help infants develop self-control and memory. Try movements such as “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

18 to 36 months (Toddlers)

  • Use materials like balance beams, balls, ramp inclines, etc. to help toddlers learn new physical skills. You can even create an obstacle course with objects such as these!
  • Older toddlers can try imitation games like “Follow the Leader.” As the leader, you can have your children do simple physical activities such as walking, running and jumping.
  • Games like “Freeze Dance,” “Popcorn,” and “Ring Around the Rosie” are active and promote active inhibition.
  • Songs with movements such as “The Hokey Pokey,” “I’m a Little Teapot,” and “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” improve children’s working memory as the songs guide their actions.
  • Simple hand movements help toddlers develop self-control and memory. Try movements such as “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

3 to 5 years old (Preschoolers)

  • Encourage children to tell stories using their imagination and use physical movements to act out the story.
  • Use materials like climbing structures, balance beams, see saws, etc. to help preschoolers learn new physical skills. You can even create an obstacle course with objects such as these!
  • Quieter activities such as yoga and using a balance beam require children to focus their attention.
  • Games like “Freeze Dance,” “Popcorn,” and “Ring Around the Rosie” are active and promote active inhibition.

5 to 7 years old (Younger School-Aged Children)

  • Games like “Freeze Dance,” “Musical Chairs,” “Red Light, Green Light,” and “Duck, Duck, Goose,” and “Simon Says” are active and promote active inhibition. Also, “Mother May I?” and “What Time Is It, Mr. Fox?” promote mental tracking and challenge working memory.
  • Four square, dodgeball, and tetherball help children learn rule-following, self-control, and fast decision-making.
  • Children can start getting involved in structured physical activity such as organized sports. Sports can improve coordination and attention skills. Yoga and Tae Kwon Do are especially helpful in developing attention and control.
  • Playing “I Spy” while walking incorporates physical activity and requires children to think and pay attention.

7 to 12 years old (Older School-Aged Children)

  • Dancing can help children with self-monitoring, memory, and attention.
  • Children can start getting involved in structured physical activity such as organized sports. Sports can improve coordination and attention skills. Yoga and Tae Kwon Do are especially helpful in developing attention and control.
  • Jump rope and its related games (double Dutch, Chinese jump rope, etc.) are great aerobic exercise that also help develop working memory and attention.
  • Hiding and tag games are active and promote inhibition and fast reaction times.

Adolescents (Teenagers)

  • Adolescents may prefer competitive sports to games and activities they used to play.  Organized sports help teens make quick decisions and respond to play while providing a great aerobic workout.
  • Yoga and meditation promote a longer attention span while improving physical flexibility and reducing stress.


To learn more activities to help your child grow, visit


Can you think of other activities that challenge both the mind and body?




Basketball is a heart-pumping sport you can play year-round, whether on an indoor or outdoor court. Parks, schools, faith-based communities, and other locations near you may have a basketball court. Call in advance to see if the court has an open-use policy. Children who enjoy competitive play may love to give basketball a try! Younger or less competitive children can also participate in basketball–try teaching them basic skills (dribbling, passing, etc.) they can practice outside of formal gameplay. Also, you can see if your children’s friends and other children in your neighborhood would like to join to get a game going.


Before children can play a structured basketball game, they should learn the fundamentals of basketball. Here are a few to get them started:

  • Dribbling: Dribbling is bouncing the ball on the court and it’s how players move with the basketball across the court. Rather than using the palm to dribble, use fingertips. Keep your head high and avoid letting the ball bounce above your waist.
  • Passing: The three main passes are the bounce pass, the chest pass, and the overhead pass. The bounce and chest pass are done with the same motion, except the ball is thrown from the chest for the chest pass, and for the bounce pass the ball bounces on the court toward the other player. The overhead pass is better from a longer distance and the player should hold the ball with both hands directly overhead and throw toward the receiving player.
  • Shooting: Stand with legs shoulder-width apart with feet pointed generally toward the basket. Place your dominant (“shooting” hand) in the center of the ball and your non-shotting hand on the side for balance. Holding the ball in front of you with your shooting elbow bent under the ball, extend your arm in a straight line toward the rim and release the ball on the way up. As you shoot, the non-shooting hand should come off the ball and not influence the shot. After the ball leaves your hand, you should hold your follow-through position until the ball reaches the rim (wrists relaxed, arms in the same position as when you shot the ball, fingers pointed toward the rim).

Click here for detailed rules and instructions!


Children who can swim can even play a modified game of basketball in the pool! Use a basketball hoop made for the pool or closed object like a hula hoop to shoot the basketball into. Just make sure children have plenty of room and stay aware of other swimmers if it’s a public pool. Like any pool activity, children should be supervised at all times.


To find a basketball court near you, visit


Where will your children play basketball this week?

Physical Activity Through Childhood

Children at different ages may be at different developmental stages, but no matter your child’s age there are appropriate physical activities. For example, while infants can’t run and play the same way school-aged children can, they can still benefit from “tummy time” and playing with toys that engage their growing muscles and bones.


Structured physical activity is usually led by a parent and promotes development. Unstructured physical activity is child-led. Both contribute to the 60 minutes of recommended daily physical activity. Children of all ages should limit sedentary activity, which is non-moving activity such as using electronics, drawing, and reading.


Here are tips to help your children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily throughout their childhood:

Infants (birth to 12 months)

  • All activity should be supervised by an adult in a safe setting.
  • Tummy time a few times daily for short periods of time while your infant is awake helps them build strength and coordination.
  • Rolling, floor sitting, kicking, crawling, and reaching and grasping for objects all help infants meet developmental milestones.
  • Large, open play areas with equipment like rattles and balls promote physical activity. Place infants on a blanket and allow them to explore nearby toys.
  • Limit time spent in swings, bouncy seats, and other equipment that restricts movement.

Toddlers (1 to 2 years old)

  • Daily outdoor time is recommended with adult supervision.
  • A free space with riding toys, balls, large blocks, tunnels, rocking boats, low climbers, and other toys can encourage physical activity for toddlers.
  • Provide objects to roll, toss, and kick (e.g. beanbags and balls).
  • Play games incorporating music, imitation, and simple directions (e.g. follow the leader).
  • Offer push and pull toys to promote spatial awareness and coordination.
  • Provide activities such as walking a balance beam line on the floor to improve balance.
  • Set up ramps, steps, low climbers, and obstacle courses to build coordination.

Preschoolers (3 to 5 years old)

  • Daily outdoor time is recommended with adult supervision. Try activities such as hopscotch, tricycle motocross, freeze tag, and parachute games.
  • A free space with tricycles, yoga mats, balls, rocking boats, hopscotch, hoops, and other toys can encourage physical activity for preschoolers.
  • Provide activities such as jumping, skipping, and hopping to develop motor skills.
  • Play games incorporating music, imitation, and simple directions (e.g. follow the leader).
  • Provide activities such as walking a balance beam line on the floor to improve balance.
  • Set up ramps, steps, low climbers, and obstacle courses to build coordination.
  • Encourage children to make their own games together.

School Aged (6 years old and older)

  • Daily outdoor time is recommended.
  • Play games incorporating music, imitation, and simple directions.
  • Play games such as finding hidden objects, relay races, obstacle courses, “tag” games, and tug-of-war to build strength and coordination.
  • A free space with climbers, monkey bars, yoga mats, balls, balance beams, rocking boats, hopscotch, hoops, and other equipment can encourage physical activity for school aged children.
  • Provide objects to throw, kick, and catch.
  • Encourage children to make their own games together.
  • School aged children should participate in aerobic physical activity 3 days weekly, muscle strengthening activity (monkey bars, rock climbing walls, etc.) 3 days weekly, and bone-strengthening activity (running, jump rope, hopscotch, etc.) 3 days weekly.


For more information, visit


What other age-appropriate activities can you think of for your children to participate in?