SECTION 1 Intro/Benefits Of Physical Activity - PARC

Physical Activity and the Early Years
Section Index
Section 1 – Intro/Benefits
Section 2 - Statistics
Section 3 – Physical Literacy
Section 4 – Activity Guidelines
Section 5 – How to Get Kids Active
Section 6 – Resources
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Physical Activity and the Early Years
Target Audiences
(a) Municipal Council: Sec 1,2,3,6
(b) Early Childhood/Daycare Workers: Sec 1,3,4,5,6
(c) Public Health – Health Promoters: Sec 1,2,3,4,5,6
(d) Public Health – Managers: Sec 1,2,3,4,6
(e) Students – Sec 1,3,4,5,6
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Physical Activity
and the Early Years
This presentation was
developed by The Physical
Activity Resource Centre for use
by physical activity promoters
across Ontario.
PARC Services
PARC is the Centre of Excellence for physical activity promotion in
Ontario. PARC is managed by Ophea and is funded by the Government of
PARC services support capacity-building, knowledge-sharing and learning
PARC services include providing:
Consultations & referrals
Trainings & workshops
Physical activity resources
Annual Symposium
Resource database
Sign up for our listserv
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Ophea Overview
All children and youth value and enjoy the lifelong benefits of healthy, active
Ophea champions healthy, active living in schools and communities through
quality programs and services, partnerships and advocacy.
•A provincial not-for-profit organization - established in 1921 and incorporated in
•Dedicated to supporting Ontario schools and communities through quality
program supports, partnerships, and advocacy
•Supportive of Health and Physical Education (H&PE) as a foundational component
of healthy schools and communities
Welcome and Introduction!
Objectives of the Workshop
At the end of the workshop, you will:
― Know the current physical activity levels of young children;
― Be reminded of and amazed at the many benefits of physical activity and
wonder why more children aren’t as active as they should be;
― Be knowledgeable of the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for the
Early Years and be able to promote the guidelines to parents, caregivers
and early childhood educators;
― Understand sedentary behaviour, as distinct from physical inactivity, and
be informed on how to reduce it based on your familiarity with the
Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines;
― Develop an understanding of physical literacy
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Physical Activity and the Early Years
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Physical Activity
Physical activity is an important part of a child’s
physical, mental and emotional development.
According to the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report
Card (2010):
Children under five require adequate
unstructured play and time outdoors for
physical, cognitive and emotional development.
The early years are a critical period for healthy
development. Research shows lifestyle patterns
set before the age of five predict obesity and
health outcomes in later childhood and through
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Benefits of Physical Activity
Strengthens the heart and lungs
Helps build strong bones and muscles
Develops good posture
Increases energy
Improves fitness levels
Enhances flexibility
Improves coordination and balance
Helps maintain a healthy body weight
Helps improve sleeping and eating habits
Helps develop fundamental movement skills
Enhances development of brain function and
neural pathways
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Benefits of Physical Activity
Psychological / Emotional
• Encourages fun and makes children feel happy
• Reduces anxiety and helps young children feel good about
• Prevents, reduces, manages depression
• Improves the ability to deal with stress
• Helps build confidence and positive self-esteem
• Enhances emotional development
• Helps young children form impressions about themselves and their
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Benefits of Physical Activity
• Improve problem-solving skills/abilities
• Improve learning and attention
• Increase concentration
• Improve memory
• Enhance creativity
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Benefits of Physical Activity
• Teaches important skills such as
sports skills and life skills
• Provides opportunities for children
to practice/develop social skills
and leadership skills
• Encourages interaction and helps
develop friendships
• Develops positive lifelong attitudes
toward physical
• Encourages healthy family
• Helps nurture and promote
imagination and
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“Let’s get
Physical Activity and the Early Years
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Physical Inactivity
• 69% of Canadian children are not meeting international
physical activity guidelines. (Active Healthy Kids Canada
Report Card, 2010)
• Only 36% of 2-3-year-olds and 44% of 4-5-year-olds engage
regularly in unorganized sport and physical activity each
week. (National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth)
• Measures of physical fitness are declining.
• In children, there is strong evidence that the prevalence of
obesity is at unprecedented high levels.
• Obesity levels are high even in the early years (0–4 years).
• Engaging in regular physical activity is widely accepted as an
effective preventative measure for not only obesity, but a
variety of health risks in school-aged children.
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Physical Activity Levels
• Physical activity levels start to decline at age three.
• Compared with 3-year-old children, 4 and 5-year-old boys and girls
spent more time in sedentary activity.
• Consistently, girls are less active than boys; in some studies - in
children as young as infancy and 18 months.
• Boys engage in greater overall amounts of physical activity; they
also tend to engage in higher intensity activities than girls.
• The estimated prevalence of overweight among 2- to 5-year old
children in two different studies was 11% and 18%.
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26% of Canadian children are overweight or
obese (Tremblay 2010)
Physical inactivity
is an important
public health
Heart Disease
Economic Burden of Physical Inactivity in Canada
Breast Cancer
High Blood Pressure
Type 2 Diabetes
Colon Cancer
$6.8 Billion
Sedentary Behaviour
These sedentary activities, especially those that are screen-based,
are associated with…
risk for obesity
pro-social behaviour,
academic achievement
(Tremblay et al. 2011c)
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Screen Time
In 1971, the average age at which children began to watch TV was 4 years;
today, it is 5 months! More than 90% of kids begin watching TV before the age
of two.
Compared with school-aged children, screen time may be associated with
additional negative health outcomes in early years (Christakis et al. 2009;
Lillard & Peterson 2011).
Increased television viewing is associated with unfavourable measures of
obesity, psychosocial health, and cognitive development.
There is no evidence to support television viewing as beneficial for
improved psychosocial or cognitive development. In several instances, a
dose–response relationship existed between increased time spent watching
television and decreased psychosocial or cognitive development.
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How much physical activity are our
children getting?
Physical Activity and the Early Years
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Why is physical literacy so important?
• Physically literate children lead healthy active lives.
• Children who are not physically literate avoid physical
activity and may turn to sedentary or unhealthy lifestyle
• Children who are physically active: are ready to learn,
have better personal satisfaction, have better and safer
Physically literate individuals...
move with competence and confidence in a wide variety of
physical activities in multiple environments that benefit the
healthy development of the whole person.
-PHE Canada, 2012
Physical Literacy
Language and vocabulary
Movement skills
Ability to understand,
communicate and apply
Ability to understand,
communicate and apply
Physical literacy is essential for optimal
growth and development.
Physical literacy
lays the foundation
for an active life.
Early Brain Development
Developing physical literacy and participation in
regular physical activity supports learning,
readiness and positive behaviours.
Anxiety &
Behaviour related
“Let’s get
Physical Literacy
HANDS UP | Part 1 - Introduction to Physical & Health Literacy
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How do
we develop
who are
for Life”?
Who helps children develop these skills?
Source: Developing Physical Literacy, Figure 2 Who is responsible for Physical Literacy?, Canadian Sport for Life,
Personal experiences with physical
What sports were you good at?
What sports did you not like?
Why/why not?
Physical Literacy
• For success in recreational and/or competitive sport, children
must master fundamental movement skills before learning sport
• For almost every skill, children need to go through a series of
developmental stages. The challenge is to help them learn the
next level of the skill rather than pushing them to perform like an
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Fundamental Movement Skills
Physical Literacy
Source: Canadian Sport For Life
Supporting Physical Literacy
Quality Programs and
Supportive Environments
Opportunities for active play
Physical Activity and the Early Years
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Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology
12-17 years
5-11 years
Early Years
0-4 years
18-64 years
65 years +
A Word About Infants
Babies Need to be Active!
Physical activity helps babies to be healthy,
alert, relaxed and happy. Regular activity
establishes connections in the brain that lead to
• strength
• endurance
• ease of movement
• flexibility
• coordination
• balance
Parents and caregivers also notice that with
regular activity, babies are often:
• easier to soothe
• have better sleep habits
• have improved digestion
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A Word About Infants
Physical activity helps to build
a babies sense of his/her own
identity. When babies control
their movements better, they
start to be able to make things
happen in their environment.
Moving and Growing. Physical Activities for the
First Two Years
Canadian Child Care Federation, Canadian
Institute of Child Health, 2004
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Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines:
0-4 years
• These guidelines are relevant to all apparently healthy
infants (aged <1 year), toddlers (aged 1–2 years), and
preschoolers (aged 3–4 years), irrespective of gender, race,
ethnicity, or socio-economic status of the family.
• Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers should be encouraged to
participate in a variety of age-appropriate, enjoyable and
safe physical activities that support their healthy growth and
development, and occur in the context of family, child care,
school, and community.
• Children in the early years should be physically active daily
as part of play, games, sports, transportation, recreation,
and physical education.
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Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines:
0-4 years
• For those who are physically inactive, increasing daily activity
towards the recommended levels can provide some health
• Following these physical activity guidelines may improve motor
skills, body composition, and aspects of metabolic health and
social development. These potential benefits far exceed the
potential risks associated with physical activity.
• The guidelines may be appropriate for infants, toddlers, and
preschoolers with a disability or medical condition; however, their
parents or caregiver should consult a health professional to
understand the types and amounts of physical activity appropriate
for them.
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Being active 0-4 years means…
Tummy time
Reaching and grabbing for toys
Playing or rolling around on the floor
Any activity that gets toddlers moving
The activity should be more intense as the child gets older.
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Being active 5-11 years means…
• Moderate to vigorous intensity physical activities should
cause children to sweat a little and breath a little harder.
• Bike riding
• Playground activities
• Vigorous intensity physical activities should cause
children to sweat and be “out of breath”.
• Running
• Swimming
Physical Activity and the Early Years
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How do we
get kids
How to Encourage Infant Development
• Practicing and refining movements helps infants to gain control
over body movements and provides the basis for developing more
skillful motor performance in toddler and pre-school years.
• Infants should master: rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing,
walking. These skills are clearly influenced by the
parent/caregiver and the environmental stimulation available.
What happens if a baby is confined all day?
• Provide a variety of play objects: light-weight, bright, variety of
textures, sizes, shapes. Use large blocks, stacking toys, nesting
cups, textured balls, squeeze toys, parachutes.
• Promote lots of interaction with parents/caregivers.
Tips for Getting Infants Active
• Provide opportunities for supervised tummy time several times
each day.
• Provide opportunities for movement both indoors and outdoors.
Limit an infant’s time in bouncy seats, swings, car seats and
playpens to no more than 15 minutes at a time.
• Encourage and assist infants to roll, reach, scoot, sit, stand, crawl
and walk.
• Provide parents with a daily update of their infant’s physical
activity and skill development.
• Remember! Screen time is not recommended for infants.
Practical Strategies for Getting Young
Children Active: General Tips
Ensure that physical activity experiences:
• Are fun and safe
• Are a positive experience, free of negative
• Provide diverse and interesting activities,
games and skill development opportunities
• Are challenging
• Consist of small but achievable goals
• Emphasize basic motor skill development,
such as running, rolling, climbing,
throwing, catching and kicking
• Take place in short bursts with frequent
• Are part of a child’s daily routine
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Let’s Get Active
• Large Space Activities
― List activities
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Practical Strategies for Getting Young
Children Active: General Tips
While it is important to provide challenges for young children, it is
equally important to ensure that activities are developmentally
appropriate and safe. Children are not small adults. It is important to
modify the equipment, space to suit the needs of young children.
• Use lighter softer, larger balls
• Choose shorter, lighter bats and racquets
• Choose larger goals or target areas
• Partially deflate balls for dribbling and kicking
• Simplify games by having children drop and catch the ball rather
than bouncing it consecutively
• Modify the size of the playing area to make it easier for all players
to participate
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Practical Strategies for Getting Young
Children Active: General Tips
• Be an active role model and an active
participant in games and play with the
• Display photos of the children being active.
Put up posters depicting physical activity.
• Use equipment that does not label by gender,
such as balls, hoops, beanbags, etc.
• Limit rules that discourage physical activity
(e.g., no balls, no running, etc.).
• Encourage and facilitate outdoor play as much
as possible.
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Practical Strategies for Getting Young
Children Active: General Tips
• Provide opportunities for children to participate in vigorous forms
of physical activity such as running, dancing, chasing a ball and
• Promote activities that use large muscle groups and encourage
movement of the whole body.
• Develop physical activity programming that benefits all children
regardless of body type, size, skill, coordination.
• The goal is not to produce Olympic athletes but to contribute to
lifelong attitudes that value physical activity.
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Let’s Get Active
• Circle Time
― List Activities
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Practical Strategies for Getting Young
Children Active
Some young children may be hesitant to engage in physical activity. It
is important to use observational skills to identify clues that may
explain a child’s reluctance to be active. It is also helpful to have
some general strategies at your fingertips!
Think, Pair, Share
• What might be some reasons that young children do not
participate in physical activity?
• What are some strategies for implementing/promoting
physical activity (how, what, when)?
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Practical Strategies for Getting Young
Children Active: Scenarios
Scenario 1:
Some young children might not like to engage in structured
physical activity because of the task of learning and
abiding by rules.
• Encourage and provide opportunities for free play or
other unstructured forms of physical activity, such as
• Limit the number of rules and instructions.
• Allow children to create their own games and make up
their own rules
• Use positive instruction (e.g., “walk” vs. “don’t run”).
• Provide different types of indoor and outdoor
equipment to encourage active play. Ensure that
equipment promotes gross motor skills and moderateto-vigorous physical activity.
• Ensure opportunities to be active indoors exist for those
intimidated by outdoor play.
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Practical Strategies for Getting Young
Children Active: Scenarios
Scenario 2:
Some young children may appear frustrated, cry or show a lack of
interest during physical activity.
• Choose times to be active when children are well-fed, rested and
alert. Be sure fluids are always available.
• Watch out for signs of fatigue during physical activity and end the
activity before children start losing interest or stop having fun.
• Schedule physical activity for early in the day. Morning is often
the best time for structured activity.
• Ensure children have sunscreen and are dressed appropriately for
the weather (hot or cold).
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Practical Strategies for Getting Young
Children Active: Scenarios
Scenario 3:
Children like routine and like to know what to expect
in terms of timing, location of activities, etc.
• Make physical activity part of a daily routine, just
like lunch and nap time. This way, children will
know to expect that it is time to learn a new skill,
play, etc.
• Expose children to different physical activity
environments to help develop skills and strategies
for adjusting to different situations.
• Take children for regular walks around the
• Encourage parents to walk/cycle their children to
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“Let’s get
Practical Strategies for Getting Young
Children Active: Scenarios
Scenario 4:
Some young children are shy or embarrassed to try a new skill or because
they have had difficulty with a skill, game, etc. in the past
• Teach the skill in a different way or try a new activity that teaches
the same skill.
• Use toys, rather than equipment to learn a new skill.
• Build children's self-confidence in physical activity by using praise,
encouragement and positive feedback. Do not force a child to perform
an activity.
• Children should never be singled out or embarrassed into physical
• Allow children to choose the type of activity they are interested in.
• Be accepting of different body shapes and ability levels.
• Use cooperative games that do not exclude anyone or ask anyone to
sit out.
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Practical Strategies for Getting Young
Children Active: Scenarios
Scenario 5:
There may be limited (real or perceived) time for scheduling a planned, dedicated
time to be active in a pre-school/day care setting.
Build physical activity into other aspects of the program. For example:
• Develop arts and crafts that require children to move around.
• Encourage children to act out words/scenes in a story while reading a book.
• Incorporate physical activity into math lessons (e.g., 2+2 = 4 jumping jacks).
• While teaching the alphabet, encourage children to make the letters with their
• While teaching about animals, encourage children to move around the room
like the animals they are learning about.
• Incorporate physical activity into circle time lessons
• Encourage children to do movements common to the season while learning
about days and months of the year (e.g., it is Dec. 20 – encourage children to
do 20 snow shovels or 20 big snow shoe steps).
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Let’s Get Active
• Small Spaces
― List Activities
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Children with a Disability
An inclusive environment is one that provides the opportunity for
children of all abilities and interests to participate in all
Inclusive environments recognize the inherent value of each child,
the right to take risks and make mistakes, the need for
independence and self-determination, and the right to choice.
In all age groups, Canadians with a disability are less likely than
other Canadians to participate in regular physical activities.
Everyone has a responsibility to remove barriers for children with
disabilities so that they can have equal access to physical
For more information on physical activity modifications, see Ophea’s
Steps to Inclusion resource.
Children with a Disability
In an inclusive program:
Activities are modified, adapted and
individualized as necessary.
Expectations are realistic yet
Assistance is provided only to the
degree required.
Dignity of risk and availability of
choices are respected and fostered.
Visual cues include children with
varying abilities.
Activities are taught/led using
different learning styles.
Equipment is adapted/modified as
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Reflecting a Variety of Cultures
• Select visuals (e.g., posters, wall cards, etc.) and resources that
reflect diversity in gender and ethnicity.
• Use music and activities that reflect various cultures including
songs, instruments and dances.
• Encourage children to express themselves according to their
culture when participating in imaginative games and activities.
• Use culturally appropriate props, equipment and materials.
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Teaching Physical Literacy in children
prevents injuries!
Group Brainstorm
• What do you do to get kids moving inside?
• What do you do to get kids moving outside?
• What do you do to limit sedentary time?
Physical Activity and the Early Years
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• Active Healthy Kids Canada:
• Best Start Resource Center:
• Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute:
• Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology:
• Caring for Kids:
• McMaster University Child Health and Exercise Medicine Program:
• ParticipACTION:
• Alberta Centre for Active Living:
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Resources – Physical Activity Links
• Rainbow Fun: A physical activity and healthy eating
program for young children
• Greater Sudbury: Physical activity resource guide for
childcare centres
• Best Start: Have a ball together
Ophea’s Early Learning Cards – Easy-to-implement activities that support
H&PE learning areas of the Full Day Kindergarten program.
Ophea Alphabet Yoga Cards – Playful poses that teach children the basics of
yoga while developing their physical literacy and language skills.
PlaySport - An educational website with many great activities designed to
teach kids games by playing games!
Healthy Opportunities for Preschoolers. Viviene Temple, Justen O’Connor
HANDS UP – A three-part illustrated video series on health and physical
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• Developing Policy to Advance Physical Literacy in Child Care
Settings in Alberta. Wellspring, December 2012, Volume 23,
Number 6. The Alberta Centre for Active Living
• Canadian Sport for Life
• Moving and Growing Series. Canadian Child Care Federation and
Canadian Institute of Child Health; 2004;
• Fun and Physical Activity; Toronto Public Health.
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• Resources
• Great Ideas
• Success Stories
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• Questions
• Evaluation
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Dr. Jory Basso, BSc, Dip SIM, CSCS, DC
Chiropractor, Professor
Hybrid Health & Fitness Toronto
Janet Dawson, CPT, BSc. HE, MSc.
Health Promoter
Peterborough County-City Health Unit
Chris Sherman BHK, B.Ed.
Public Health Educator,
Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit