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Encourage Physical Activity

Children are more likely to be physically active if the adults in their life are active as well. Regular group physical activities should be planned in the child care setting. Offer a variety of physical activities and allow children opportunities to choose the one they like best. Activities may be traditional games and sports or field trips that involve walking. Regular physical activity can be educational, teach social skills and boost a child's self-esteem. Provide a safe area for children to play, safety gear as needed for specific activities and appropriate supervision.

Adapted from NFSMI Mealtime Memo For Child Care

Physical Activity Guidelines for Healthy Preschool Children

Young children are more likely to become physically skilled if they adopt a physically active lifestyle early in life. Being physically active also fosters enjoyment of movement that will help ensure healthy development and ongoing participation in physical activity. Young children need to be able to explore different movements and different kinds of equipment at their own pace. Very young children are not able to engage in or enjoy competitive games. They enjoy the basics, like rolling on the floor, balancing on their knees, crawling under a table, and jumping off a low step. In addition to planned physical activities, preschoolers need time for free imaginative play each day.

Adapted from Dakota Dog Digs Food, Fitness and Fun,
a USDA Team Nutrition grant project publication of the North Dakota Dept of Public Instruction

Help Children be Active

It is recommended that children get at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Here are some tips to help children be active:

  • Set a good example. Arrange activities in which everyone takes part. Join the children's activities-then, everyone wins.
  • Encourage children to be active by jumping rope, playing tag, riding a bike, or dancing.
  • Support children's participation in school or community sports or classes, as well as individual sports.
  • Limit television watching, computer games, and other inactive forms of play by alternating them with periods of activity.

USDA's Get Moving for the Fun and Health of It!

Make Physical Activity Easy

Children can have fun and improve their health by being physically active every day. Children should aim to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity on most days. You can help:

  • Create safe places. Watch over children's playtime activities.
  • Set a good example. Be active with your kids.
  • Limit sitting-around time. Alternate time spent sitting with time spent moving.
  • Establish activity routines. Set aside time each day as activity time.

Adapted from USDA Team Nutrition, Ten Steps for Parents

Strong Bodies Need to be Active

  • Dance with kids! Just turn on the radio and dance. Play dancing games. Ask children to dance like a cat, a bird, an elephant or other animals.
  • Walk in every season! Looks for tracks in the winter snow or new flowers and buds in the spring. Have fun with shadows on summer walks. In the fall, collect leaves of different colors.

Adapted from NFSMI What's Cooking?

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