Articles and Advice
Let's Get Physical!
Young children are active by nature. They are at a developmental stage in which
physical activity plays a vital part in exploration of the environment. Similarly,
children crave opportunities to move their bodies.
Regular year-round exercise is essential in children's development of healthy eating
habits, for maintaining muscle, and in improving coordination.
They can engage in quiet, non-physical activities, such as watching or listening,
for short periods of time but, even when highly interested, they will eventually
give in to their need for movement and physical engagement.
Movement plays a critical role in children's health and the development of important
capabilities. For example, young children learn to run, skip, hop, and coordinate
muscles primarily with practice. We also know that children who develop healthy
habits, including regular exercise, early are more likely to be physically fit throughout
Since adults have much less natural need for physical activity, it is easy to forget
to incorporate these activities regularly into the day. Regular year-round exercise
is essential in children's development of healthy eating habits, for maintaining
muscle, and in improving coordination.
Unfortunately, many young children are suffering the consequences of inactivity.
Pediatricians and other early childhood health experts recognize obesity as a growing
health concern among young children.
Since young children require regular and heightened nutrition for developing bones,
tissues and organs, young children's weight is best addressed through exercise.
Inactivity, more than overeating, is considered the major cause of childhood obesity
and regular and vigorous physical activity is considered the best route to establish
and maintain healthy weight.
Consider if your daycare provider implements the following:
- Whenever possible, select learning activities that have a movement component.
- Use time wisely throughout the day to ensure that outdoor play is considered an
important part of the daily routines.
- Outdoor activities that encourage children to move vigorously. Initiate active games
such as tag or relay races to encourage sustained movement among the children.
- Provide indoor space for movement, especially when weather limits outdoor play.
Set up an indoor obstacle course, group games or dance activities during the day.
- Be a role model. Demonstrate enthusiasm for and dedication to regular exercise.
Children learn from your example.
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