Active Play in Child Care

Boy on slide

Regular physical activity is important for everyone, but it is especially important for young children. Child care providers can be positive role models as they work with the children in their care. The routines and habits that are started early in life will be easier to continue as the children grow. Children who have opportunities for active play several times a day will find it easier to come back and focus on small motor and cognitive tasks.

Why do children need active play?

  • To encourage bone growth and muscle development
  • To support eye-hand coordination
  • To keep body weight at healthy levels
  • To prevent the development of health issues like high blood pressure and type II diabetes
  • To help them sleep better
  • To help them be better prepared to face everyday stress, either physical or emotional

For More Information

Planning times for active play doesn’t have to be stressful for child care providers. For more information on physical activity for children, take a look at the following eXtension Alliance for Better Child Care articles:

If you are looking for specific activities to use in your child care program, visit our Hands-on Activities Database.

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education has more specific physical activity guidelines for children birth – age 5 in their Active Start publication.