Physical activities for timid, imaginative preschooler?

Hi BPN, my almost 4 year old is in need of more physical activity/ work on his physical literacy. He has a fantastic imagination and can play animals or characters from stories for hours on end (he also does this with his friends at preschool), but it is a real challenge to get him to participate in any kind of sport like activity or to try anything new physically ( like climbing at the playground or scooter).  I obviously don’t want to push anything on him that just isn’t him, but I know he’s got energy to spare at bedtime that could have been used, lol. I used to make up elaborate games to get him to ride a balance bike, kick a soccer ball, etc. but cannot do that now as we have a new baby, and he would quickly lose interest in that anyways. He is also very timid with other children- he’s friendly, but if there is a chance kids will be in physical contact with him/ bump into him, he will not do that activity. He is a bit behind other kids his age in terms of physical abilities (has a more difficult time with stairs, balance, tumbling etc) but I think this is more due to fear than developmental abilities… any  organized activity ideas? Can kids this young do theater? Thanks for any help!!

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Sticky art lab in Berkeley used to be very friendly and supportive, my kid is much older now so my information is old, but it might be something he'd like-?

Our 4YO is loving the City of Berkeley tennis class ("red ball") for kids their age. It's not that many kids and they're all around the same age, and many of us parents have commented that our kids are way more excited for tennis than they have been for soccer, etc. It's a good mix of learning tennis and just fun active playing. The "Tot Splash" time at various pools has been good too.

Have you considered an outdoor school? I know that doesn’t work for everyone, but there is a huge difference in the amount of physical activity one gets being outside in nature vs. playing in a daycare backyard or even a playground.  A movement/dance class might also be something to look in to.

I don’t know if the class is still the same, but the gymnastics class at UC village used to be really great for this. Coach Matt ran it when my kids were little. It was fun and inclusive but still a great chance to improve coordination and physical confidence. In general, the classes at UC Village were perfect for my less athletic kids — ABSC and that type of thing are better for more naturally athletic kids IMHO. You might also look at a pre-ballet class for preschool kids. I know people sometimes don’t think of this for boys, but dance is a great way to develop coordination and physicality. Often, the classes for the youngest kids use a lot make-believe in the dancing and it‘s not strict yet. So kids have fun but also get nudged into trying new skills — can you try to skip, now let’s hop, etc.? 

Kids 'n dance has dance/theater/tumbling classes for 3-5 that involve lots of imagination play.

Hi there,

I'm not sure if I have any suggestions, but I really resonated with your post as I also have a very physically timid preschooler. He is 3.5 and is very friendly, loves to play cars/trucks/trains, but also reserved when it comes to physical activity. The best word to describe him is "cautious," and we have described him this way since he was a baby! I also imagine he is a bit behind his peers in physical ability, as he is fearful in many physical situations and is cautious to do scooters/bikes, etc. We have really encouraged playgrounds which has been helpful--also going when playgrounds are less crowded so he can take his time on the structures. I have not really met anyone else who describes their child as physically timid, so its nice to hear there are others! Hope these kids can connect as they grow older. 

Anyways, I'm not sure if I have suggestions regarding organized activities, but I was thinking of art or music classes, or maybe something science/engineering based as he gets older. I will follow this thread for other suggestions! Please feel free to DM me if you'd like to connect.

thanks so much for these suggestions, BPN community! I am grateful for them :)