Children under five should not be inactive for long periods, except when they're asleep. Watching TV, travelling by car, bus or train, or being strapped into a buggy for long periods are not good for a child's health and development.
- NHS, UK
Department of Health guidance states children under 5 who are capable of walking should be active for at least three hours per day and should limit the amount of time spent sitting still. All movement counts towards the three hours and it can be spread across the whole day.
The benefits of physical activity include:
Create opportunities for children to be active throughout the day without detracting from the other early learning goals; physical activity can be a part of everything you do. Think about the activities you already deliver as part of the EYFS curriculum and how you can make these more active.
For example, literacy activities could include going on a treasure hunt for sticks and forming letters with these sticks in mud or sand. Numeracy activities could include throwing beanbags into hoops containing different numbers. Nursery rhymes and action songs can be made more active to include gross as well as fine motor skills and babies could enjoy tummy time at story time.
Supporting healthy physical development is the primary function of the gym, but children's spontaneous social interactions and their trial-and-error problem solving show how this equipment serves all areas of learning. This 20-minute video can stimulate discussion about the importance of physical activity and positive risk for young children.
Department for Health guidance states that to maintain a basic level of health, children and young people aged 5 to 18 need to do:
Being active for at least 60 minutes a day is linked to
Children and young people should take part in activities appropriate for their age and stage of development.