07 June 2016

Exploring... Early years physical activity guidelines

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Being active is important for children under five because it helps them build and maintain a good level of health. There are three physical activity guidelines in the UK that relate to this age group. They indicate the type and amount of physical activity that benefits health and development.

  • For infants who cannot walk, physical activity should be encouraged from birth, particularly through floor-based play and water-based activities in safe environments.
  • Children of pre-school age who are capable of walking unaided should be physically active daily for at least 180 minutes (3 hours), spread throughout the day.
  • All under-fives should minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary (being restrained or sitting) for extended periods (except time spent sleeping).

This fact sheet explains what types of activities count towards each guideline and gives practical ideas for what you can do in your setting to help children achieve them.

Download: Exploring... Early years physical activity guidelines