Nutrition and Physical Activity in Child Care

Children pulling wagon

Ensuring that children grow and thrive is an essential part of the child care provider’s job. Feeding infants appropriately, serving well-balanced meals and snacks, preparing and serving foods safely, providing regular opportunities for children to be physically active, and teaching healthy habits are all important ways that child care providers can support healthy eating and physical activity, and reduce the risk of childhood obesity in our youngest children.

The following articles include specific information about feeding practices, healthy food choices …

Helping Children in Child Care Be Physically Active

2 girls running

Eating healthy is only one way child care providers can help children maintain a healthy weight. Physical activity is also important. According to Shape America, children need 60 minutes of unstructured active play,and 60 minutes of structured physical activity each day. Here are some tips child care providers can use to help all children get a healthy amount of physical activity each day.

  • Plan regular times for unstructured active play. Young children need plenty of time to run, jump,

Play Activities to Encourage Motor Development in Child Care

Toddler boy on slide

Play is crucial to the development of children’s gross and fine motor skills. Through play, children practice and perfect control and coordination of large body movements, as well as small movements of hands and fingers. Child care providers can support young children’s motor development by planning play activities that provide children with regular opportunities to move their bodies.

Activities to Support Gross Motor Development

Gross motor skills involve control of the arms, legs, head, and trunk. Child care providers can …

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

Keeping Children Active Indoors

Ring around the rosie

Child care providers often dread those days when the weather is bad and the children can’t get outdoors to play. But children need to have active times every day to use up energy, learn new things, and be healthy. Luckily, active play can happen indoors as well as outdoors. With a little imagination and creativity, child care providers can come up with activities that use large muscles and burn energy, but can be done indoors. Here are some ideas to …

Developmentally Appropriate Ways to Teach Fitness to Young Children in Child Care


It seems like young children in a child care program are always in motion. You’d think that most children are active enough to keep themselves fit, but recent research tells us that today’s children are actually not getting enough physical activity. Childhood inactivity can lead to obesity and diabetes. Attitudes toward physical fitness are formed in childhood, and if obesity and inactivity continue into adulthood, there is a serious risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. When kids have …