Only 9% of children aged 2-4 years meet the Chief Medical Officer’s physical activity guidelines of three hours per day. This means 91% of children are missing out! Physical activity in the early years helps to:
- maintain a healthy weight
- develop good posture, strength and balance
- teach children about their bodies and the world around them
- support brain development, social and cognitive skills and emotional wellbeing
- support achievement and attainment.
Early Years settings can make a difference by ensuring children are physically active whilst in your care. Physical activity should be encouraged from birth, through floor-based play and water-based activities in safe environments. Children need to try a range of physical movements using fine and gross motor skills.
Chief Medical Office’s Physical Activity Guidelines has information for under 5s not yet walking, and under 5s capable of walking
Start Active, Stay Active a UK-wide report explaining the frequency and type of physical activity required to achieve general health benefits
The Best Start in Life a manifesto for physical activity in the early years (internal link)
Advice and resources
Early Years Physical Activity resources from the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine. Factsheets and briefing papers.
Physical Development Approaches by the Education Endowment Foundation
Early Years Physical Literacy Framework from the Youth Sport Trust
Active Matters is a dedicated site for physical development in the early years
Energise Me aims to beat inactivity in Hampshire. They are a member of the Active Partnerships network.
Physical Activity for the Under 5s NHS guidelines
Explore what activities are on offer in local areas via the Family Information and Services Hub