Help pre-schoolers grow

Pre-schoolers have a lot of energy, and they're able to use it in a more organised way than when they were toddlers. Instead of just running around in the backyard, a pre-schooler has the physical skills and coordination to ride a tricycle or chase a butterfly.

Pre-schoolers have a lot of energy, and they're able to use it in a more organised way than when they were toddlers. Instead of just running around in the backyard, a pre-schooler has the physical skills and coordination to ride a tricycle or chase a butterfly.

They are also discovering what it means to play with a friend instead of just alongside another child, as toddlers do. By having an opportunity to be around other children, your pre-schooler will be able to gain social skills like sharing and taking turns.

No doubt there will be disputes, but by the time your child is of pre-school age, he or she can learn to cooperate and interact during play.

Helping your child learn new skills

Pre-school-age children develop important motor skills as they grow. Some of the new skills your pre-schooler may be showing off include hopping, jumping forward, catching a ball, doing a somersault, skipping and balancing on one foot. You can help your child practise these skills by playing and exercising together.

When you go out for a family walk, your pre-schooler may complain: "I'm tired!" Most likely, your child isn't tired - just bored.

A brisk walk may be dull to a young child, but there are ways to liven up your family stroll and help encourage your child to master old skills and develop new ones. Here are some things you may want to try:

l Make your walk a scavenger hunt by giving your child something to find, like a red door, a cat, a flag or something square.

l Sing songs or recite nursery rhymes while you walk.

l Mix walking with jumping, racing and walking backwards.

How much activity is enough?

Every day, pre-schoolers should have at least 60 minutes of physical activity that's structured, meaning it's organised by you or another adult.

In addition, pre-schoolers should get at least one hour - and up to several hours - of free play.

Pre-schoolers should not be inactive for more that one hour at a time, unless they are sleeping.

Structured play

Pre-schoolers are likely to get structured play at childcare or in pre-school programmes through games like "Duck, Duck, Goose" and "London Bridge". You may want to enrol your child in a pre-school tumbling or dance class. Your pre-schooler can get structured outdoor play at home, too. You can play in the backyard or plant a section of a garden together. Pre-schoolers also love trips to the playground. - Kidshealth

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