Physical Activity Resources

​​Activities That Promote Physical Wellbeing 

Establishing a path for healthy lifestyles decreases a child's risk of obesity and all the health conditions related to being overweight:

  • Encourage activity several times daily (30-60 minutes a day)
  • Limit TV to less than 2 hours a day
  • Be a role model for physical activity
  • Focus on fun, not performance and let children help choose the activity
  • Active play should sometimes lead to increased breathing or sweating
  • Activities for young children should be age- appropriate, enjoyable, and variable
  • Avoid using the removal of active play time as a form of punishment
  • Children’s energy may occur in bursts, and while they should guide their activities, opportunities and safety should be monitored by the provider

Benefits of Physical Activity 

  • Maintenance of a healthy weight
  • Reduces risk of future, chronic health issues, such as diabetes
  • Promotion of muscular, brain, and bone development
  • Balance, movement, coordination skills
  • Fostering of social skills through interactions with others
  • Encourages self-confidence and independence
  • Creates an opportunity and outlet for imagination

Promoting Healthy Quiet Time 

Although children need quiet time, make sure they are not inactive for too long and encourage quiet activities besides TV, such as crafts or reading. This allows the child to relax before nap times.

Physical Activity Recommendations for Infants 

Physical activity can take a different form and hold a different purpose for infants versus children. Active play with an infant allows for first-time opportunities to learn and develop, to explore and move around helping them to grow more aware and gain strength. However, be wary of a young infant’s curiosity as they like to reach for items, crawl around, and play with various objects as it can quickly become a safety issue. 
 

The following are some guidelines for activities for infants per AAP and WIC standards:

  • Infants should be taken outside 2-3 times a day although there is no recommended duration of time
  • They should have supervised tummy time every day while they are awake for short periods of time (3-5 minutes), increasing the amount of time slowly
  • Ways to promote tummy time can be as simple as placing yourself or a toy just out of their reach during playtime to encourage them to reach, scoot, or crawl
  • Infants should not be seated for more than 15 minutes except during meals or naps
  • Sedentary equipment such as swings, seats, and stationary activity centers should be used for short periods of time
  • It is important to limit a restrictive environment and allow a safe space for exploration (such as crawling) and growth
  • Activities can be as simple as:
    • Stretching arms
    • Rolling over
    • Wiggling toes
    • Shaking or gripping a rattle
    • Popping bubbles that you blow
    • Peek-a-boo

Safety 

  • It is your responsibility to supervise the safety of active play; do not mix meal/snack time with physical activity
  • Always stretch before and after to prevent strain
  • Wear proper equipment for activities, ex. protective equipment such as helmets, elbow pads, knee pads, etc.
  • As a measurement of appropriate intensity: heavy breathing is fine if a child is still able to talk
  • Make sure children know to stop if they begin to feel faint, dizzy, or nauseous
  • Use sunscreen for outdoor activities
  • Supervise children who can participate in water activities closely

Resources 

References:

AAP – Active Opportunities for Physical Activity 
AAP – Physical Activity: How Much is Needed? 
My Plate – Healthy Tips for Active Play 
WIC – Playing with Your Baby  

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