Physical Activity Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers

Age-appropriate opportunities for movement and physical activity are essential in the first months and years of life in order to foster proper growth and development. It is important that infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are not confined to carriers, strollers, cribs, or other small spaces for long periods of time, as this can negatively affect proper development and gross motor skills.

Explained below are the recommendations for physical activity for your child, based on his/her age.

Infants (0-12 months)

  • Infants should have multiple opportunities every day where they can explore movements and build strength in order to progress to being able to rollover and crawl. Make sure to closely monitor your child during these times to make sure they are safe.
  • Allow your child to move freely and creatively in a safe and large space, while carefully watching them. Other planned activities such as reaching for objects are also recommended. Limit or avoid screen time (use of any electronics) and avoid activities involving throwing or catching during this age range.

Toddlers (1-2 years of age)

  • It is beneficial for this age group to spend 30 minutes each day doing structured physical activity (playing musical games, tumbling class) and 60 minutes or more (even up to several hours) of physical activity that is unstructured (playing with blocks, playing on a playground).
  • Make sure your toddler is not sedentary for more than 60 minutes at one time, with the exception of when he/she is sleeping. It is also important to limit or avoid screen time for this age group. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends zero screen time for children age 2 and under.
    The first weeks, months, and years of life are times when your child is developing gross motor skills and learning how his/her body moves. Allow your child time each day to creatively move and explore!

Did You Know?

When infants are about 12 months old, they can typically stand alone for 3 to 5 seconds.

At 24 months of age, toddlers can typically throw a tennis ball a few feet, in the direction of a target.

Help your child to stand, throw, and catch, to both allow for physical activity and to improve balance and motor skills