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Physical Activity

toddler with a soccer ballThe early years are a critical period for healthy development. Research shows lifestyle patterns set before age five predict obesity and health in the future.  Additionally, research shows that being physically active later in life depends on an ability to feel confident in an activity setting. That confidence most often comes from developing physical literacy as a child.

Physical literacy is the development of fundamental movement skills that enable the child to move with competence and confidence in a wide variety of physical activities that benefit the physical, cognitive, emotional and social development of the child.

Child Care Centre is a very strong predictor of preschool-aged children’s physical activity levels, making this an important setting to help young children obtain physical activity that is appropriate for their health and development.

Physical Activity promotes the following:

  • Maintains a healthy body weight
  • Improving movement skills
  • Increase fitness
  • Build healthy hearts
  • Fun, feeling happy
  • Behave better
  • Develop self-confidence and social skills
  • Improve learning, attention, and language skills

Below you will find resources and tools to support physical activity at your centre.

Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines

Children four and under should move more, sit less and avoid screens. Here are the national guidelines to keep children moving.

Similar guidelines are available for children 5-11.

Physical Literacy

Physical literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life. International Physical Literacy Association, May 2014

2015 The ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth

The biggest risk is keeping kids indoors. Read the 2015 ParticipACTION report card.

Best Start Resource Centre – Have a Ball Together!

The Best Start Resource Centre has launched the new and improved

Find all the tools you need to be able to promote and encourage physical activity for children 0-6:

  • Information about the importance of physical activity for the early years
  • Strategies for overcoming common barriers to getting children active
  • A searchable database with over 100 fun and simple games and activities for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarten-aged children
  • Tools to extend the learning such as videos, downloads and links to additional resources

Additional resources

Here’s a link to some resources from Ottawa Public Health that can be used in your centre, including some indoor activity ideas.

Page last updated: June 2016

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