Physical Activity: Young Children

Activities and Tools for Physical Activity

Use these ideas and resources to develop playtime activities.

Active Start: A Statement of Physical Activity Guidelines for Children From Birth to Age 5

SHAPE America.

Specific guidelines for the physical activity of children from birth to age 5 that reflect the best thinking of specialists in motor development, movement, and exercise about the physical activity needs of young children during the first years of life.

Healthy Tips for Active Play (May 2012)

USDA. Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

Information on how to identify if a child is active enough, tips on raising active children, and why play is so important for children.

Physical Fitness for Toddlers (January 2011) (PDF | 180 KB)

Illinois Early Learning Project.

This tip sheet lists what to expect in terms of physical activity capabilities from children at various stages, and offers activity suggestions.

Mealtime Memo for Child Care

Institute of Child Nutrition.

Two-page fact sheet for child care providers participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, published six times per year. Includes a wide variety of topics related to child care. Several issues offer tips and information about promoting physical activity in young children. Also available in Spanish.

One Step at a Time: Helping Young Children Be Physically Active! Bright Futures Obesity Prevention Training for Child Care Providers

Georgetown University.

A 3-part curriculum that helps child care providers working in local programs make sure young children are physically active.

On Demand Child Care Training Modules

Penn State Extension - Better Kid Care.

These free online training modules provide practical strategies for implementing best practices in early care and education (ECE) settings for promoting healthy weight in young children. The modules are also an opportunity for ECE providers to obtain CEUs from Penn State and professional development credits from many states’ licensing and/or quality improvement systems. The training series includes six lessons that cover background information for childhood obesity prevention and the five best practice goals: increase physical activity, limit screen time, offer healthy beverages, serve healthy food, and support infant feeding.