Health & Wellbeing

Fun, easy ideas for home to develop physical health, emotional & mental wellbeing. Here are useful links.

Physical Health

Make a ‘Get Fit’ game. You need ten pieces of paper or card. Draw a stick figure on each doing the suggested activities below, or write the numbers 1-10 (or put number dots on each piece of paper). Shuffle the cards. When you turn a card over, everyone has to do the exercise for ten seconds. Do it the way that works best for you and your child. Involve them in making the cards. Another method is to use a dice. 

Don’t let the balloon touch the ground. Try for one minute.  Try to keep a balloon from touching the ground. Make it harder, challenge added with two balloons. Add other challenges, use both hands, both legs and head. Have fun!

Balloon walk – put a balloon between your legs and walk across the room and back without dropping it.

Suggested activities for the cards: star jumps, skipping, hopping, spinning round, running on the spot, high knees on the spot, crouch down stretch up, dancing on the spot, touching toes, side to side. 

Further Balloon Challenge! – Lie on your back and balance balloon with feet, legs and hands.

Use A Collander – Use string, wool or pipe cleaners. Encourage your child to thread patterns, in and out, using the collander. Got for fine motor control which helps when writing and mark-making.

Scissor Skills – With supervision, cut out the front of a cereal box or a full page picture from a newspaper or magazine. Encourage your child if they can to cut the image into different shapes (maths links!) and then mix the pieces up for a DIY jigsaw puzzle and problem solving.

Parachute – Use a bed sheet, blanket or beach towel. From two people to however many you have at home. Hold on to the blanket with everyone at different points around it. Try rolling a ball around the blanket without dropping it. Try tossing a ball into the air and catching it. Try it with a balloon!

Obstacle course – Use your imagination to create an obstacle course. Kitchen chairs can be tunnels, cushions can be stepping stones. There are lots of possibilities! 

Animal Walk – Inside or out, encourage your child to slither like a snake, hop like a frog, gallop like a horse, or walk like a bear on all fours. Skills developed: hopping, galloping. 

Wet Sponge Designs – On a warm day, gather up lots of sponges, provide a tub of water for endless resoaking, and have your kids throw their sponges on a wall or on a cement surface to make designs. Sponges can also be used to “paint” walls. Skills developed: throwing. 

Run Away From the Monster Kids love a game of chase, especially with a parent or other adult they trust. A game of running from a “scary” monster will involve much squealing with delight. Skills developed: running, dodging, agility. 

Puddle PotentialIdeas for using puddles on your next walk.

Getting Active – Early Years Scotland have produced a great leaflet on ways to get active with your child easily.

Healthy Eating – Early Years Scotland tips on how to promote healthy eating at home.

Staying Healthy And Eating Wellthis video explains the food groups. 

Throw And Catch – Scruch up some paper into a ball. Lie on your back and throw up the paper ball. Can you catch it? How many times in a row can you catch it without dropping it?

Simon/Simone Says – While the rules are simple, the options for movement are endless. Simon can have kids jumping like a kangaroo, standing as tall as a house, making funny faces, standing on one foot, or waving their hands over their heads. Skills developed: multiple depending on the leader’s actions (jumping, balancing, hopping, etc.) 

Snowless Snowball Fight – Encourage the children to warm up by moving around like they have had a deep snow fall. Create lots of pretend snowballs using old newspapers and then allow children to have fun throwing the paper snowballs around. This is great for motor skills.

 Stones And Pebbles – Even in winter, stones are all around us. Here are ten ideas for using rocks, stones and pebbles for learning when out and about.

Winter Scavenger Hunt – Before a winter walk, write a sheet of things to find while you’re outside. Get the children hunting for holly leaves, pine cones and needles, a leaf skeleton, some lichen, different types of bark, and so on. Make it more challenging by being more specific, such as looking for cones bigger or smaller than their thumb.

Road safety – Don’t forget about the importance of road safety. Most of our children are aware of Ziggy. Here is the Ziggy website, with stories, songs and activities linked to road safety. 

Fine Motor Skills – Make some tweezers/tongs by bending a plastic straw in half, or use two wooden lolly sticks. Use tweezers to pick up grains of rice, or marbles, or dry pasta pieces…whatever you can find. Encourage your child to move them from one container to another. How many can they move in one minute? Five minutes? Do the counting too. Use smaller and bigger containers for extra challenge. Use some imagination.

More Fine Motor Skills – Here’s a simple one…try to do a jigsaw, fasten buttons or pick up small objects while wearing gloves. This will challenge everyone and help develop strength, manipulation skills and perseverance. Add time and number challenges too…can you pick up ten before the timer runs out?

Ball Kicks – Balls are a staple for so many games and activities. Using different types and sizes of balls, have your child see how far they can kick, or play goalie in front of a wall or fence and see if your child can kick the ball past you. Skills developed: kicking. 

Go on a bear hunt – Not just a fabulous story which children love to read and sing along with. There’s also opportunity to make the whole song more active. Act out the different motions: swim across the river. Pretend to go through the snowstorm. Stumble through the forest. Run away from the bear! Climb the stairs. Hide under the covers at the end! Watch Michael Rosen reading it here

Create a maze – Use whatever you have (sellotape, string, wool) to make a maze or path to follow on the floor. Make it a narrow ‘corridor’ maze (try not to touch the sides!) or a path to follow. Have fun with it.  

Play follow the leader – This classic game never gets old, and you don’t need any equipment to play. Let your child take turns being the leader, directing the others to match their every move. Encourage them to get active by hopping, skipping, crawling, shuffling and using their imaginations. 

Dance Party – Indoors or outdoors, turn up the music, use lights or decorations for ambiance, and let your kids twist, macarena, floss, dance like their favourite animal, or freestyle their way to fun. Skills developed: agility, balance, coordination. 

Create a scavenger hunt – Hide things all over the garden or throughout the house and have your child race to find each clue. If you want to sneak even more exercise into this activity, include requirements with each clue, like “Do four star jumps before moving on,” or “Make up a funny dance.” This activity is fun because it can be elaborate and long or short and sweet. Click the links to see scavenger hunt ideas…

Torch Scavenger Hunt – Do the same as above, but in the house when it’s dark. Try in in one room with curtains shut. Find the clues, but only using a torch!

Maths scavenger hunt 

Garden scavenger hunt 

Nature scavenger hunt 

Book scavenger hunt 

Inventor scavenger hunt 

Indoor scavenger hunt 

 Ice skating – on hard surfaces in your house, put on some socks and slide around. Kids can practice spinning and seeing who can slide the farthest. Pretend you are professional ice skaters in the middle of  a frozen pond in the winter. Be careful of corners, however, and watch for splinters! 

Wheelbarrow or crab walk races – Have the children race from one end of the room or garden to another. 

Have pillow fight – It’s an age-old activity, and pretty much every little kid’s dream! We recommend using pillows other than the feather-filled versions, unless you enjoy having a house covered in feathers. Be careful! 

Traffic light game –  Find a red, green and orange object. Or just shout out the colours. Red is for stop, green is for go and orange (or amber) can be for whatever movement you think up. Good for listening skills, control and fitness. 

Freeze Tig –If you’ve got a group of four or more kids looking for some fun, look no further than a good old game of freeze tig. Pick one child to be “it”, and have them chase the other kids around. When “it” touches a player, they must freeze (stand still) until another player “unfreezes” them by touching them. When “it” freezes all players, the game begins again with a new child as “it”. Skills developed: agility, running 

Paper Airplanes – There are so many ways to make paper airplanes at home.  (See the technology section for help). Throw them inside or outside and see how high they can fly, how far they can fly, or if your child can throw them through an object such as a hula hoop. Skills developed: throwing. 

Fine Motor Skills – This is particularly for younger children or those with manipulation challenges. Make some playdough (here is a simple recipe). Encourage your child to push pieces of dry pasta, coins or marbles into the playdough until they are stuck. Remember to supervise closely if using small objects.

Avoid the Shark – Cover your living room floor (the shark-filled ocean) with towel and have your child jump from one to the next without getting nabbed by a shark. Skills developed: jumping. 

Sock Toss – Paired socks are an easy-to-grip and throw item for kids. Indoors or out, have kids throw them into targets such as laundry baskets or hula hoops. Skills developed: throwing. 

Egg and Spoon – For this ultimate hand-eye coordination and balance game, give kids a spoon and have them balance a hard-boiled or plastic egg from one point to another either indoors or out. How quickly can they go? Can they dance as they move? Skills developed: balance, coordination. 

Pillow Walk – Set up a line of couch, throw, or bed pillows on your floor, and have your child walk from one end to the other. It may sound easy but their balance will be challenged! Skills developed: balancing. 

Balance Walk – Have your child balance an object on their head and walk from one point to another without dropping it. As they master the walk, move the points further apart or make the course a bit more challenging by adding zig zags or circles, or objects around which they have to move. Skills developed: balancing. 

Catch – Children learn to catch at different rates but working with them on the skill can begin with throwing them a balloon or a soft object such as a rolled up pair of socks or a light ball will be less intimidating than a heavy or small ball. Start by standing close to your child and as they master the catch, move further away. Skills developed: throwing and catching. 

Drag The CarOnline game to help with physical fine motor skills.

Long Jump – Just how far can your child jump? Challenge them indoors or outside by marking a point for them to reach, then gradually increasing it.  Skills developed: jumping. 

Action Songs – Sing together or find recordings of songs that have kids moving their bodies in different ways. Hokey Pokey, Shake My Sillies Out, I’m A Little Teapot, and Zoom, Zoom, Zoom are all examples of fun ways to get kids moving and shaking to sing along songs. Skills developed: agility. 

Beach Ball Blanket Toss – Have two or four children hold the corners of a blanket (or towel). Throw a beach ball onto the blanket and listen to the kids giggle as they bounce the ball up and catch it.  You could also use a soft toy if you don’t have a ball.  Skills developed: throwing, catching. 

Hide and Seek – Kids can hide either themselves or objects such as their stuffed animals in this favourite game played by kids around the world. Skills developed: agility. 

ALPHABET EXERCISES – A  – Act like a cat B  – Bend at the knees C  – Curl into a ball D  – Dance E  – Elephant steps F – Flying G  – Gallop H – Hug yourself I  – Incy winsy spider J – Jump K – Kick L – Leg lifts M – March N – Noisy steps O – Open and shut arms P – Pop up from a crouch Q -Quiet steps on tiptoe R – Running on the spot S -Side steps T – Turns U – Under someone’s legs V –Vault (jump over an object) W – Wiggles X – star jumps Y – Yoga (stretch to the sky) Z – Zig zag steps 

Daily Practise – Encourage your children to do some daily practise with putting on clothes, jackets and shoes. This includes buttons, zips and laces. Here is a website for tips on tying laces and a video

Learn to pedalThis site gives tips on how to teach young children to pedal a bike.  

Emotional And Mental Health