Best Ways to Keep Kids Active in Childcare

Promoting exercise and physical activity in early childhood is an important part is supporting children to become healthy and happy adults.

Maintaining an active lifestyle can significantly improve many health outcomes, enabling children to achieve their goals and reach their full potential for social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development.

Here are some of the best ways to keep children active in a childcare environment.

Allow time for unstructured active play

While a childcare curriculum should include structured routines and learning programs, there should also be time for children to run, jump, climb, and play in an unstructured way. This allows children to explore and discover with limitations.

Every day, plan at least two one-hour unstructured outdoor play sessions. During these sessions, allow children to direct their own play activities. Encourage children to be active, using play equipment such as tricycles and climbing frames.

Introduce children to active games and activities

Introducing children to active games and activities can help them develop important gross motor skills and improve their fitness. Structured active games should make up an hour of a child’s day and should allow children to exercise in a fun, engaging way.

When including active games as part of a childcare curriculum, it’s a good idea to keep activities simple and uncomplicated. You could run a dancing or running activity, or you might plan a relay or follow-the-leader game.

Encourage children to play indoors and outdoors

Both indoor and outdoor active play are important in supporting positive child development. When weather permits, it’s a good idea to allow children to play outside, following sun safety procedures. There should also be active play resources indoors for children to engage with.

Throughout the day, encourage children to engage in active games and activities, regardless of whether they are indoors and outdoors. Allow children to test their motor skills and use outdoor equipment or indoor climbing gyms.

Support children to play cooperatively

Active play doesn’t have to be competitive. In fact, it can be beneficial to help children view active play as a chance to work cooperatively with their peers. This can improve mental wellbeing and social awareness.

Facilitate games and activities that can be inclusive of all children, regardless of skills or abilities. Celebrate all children’s victories, and try to avoid choosing a winner. Everyone can be a winner when all children are learning new skills and having fun!

Participate in active games

Participating in games and activities alongside children can help you act as a role model. Rather than simply observing activities, join in and encourage children to do the same.

Take part in active play games can help children learn new skills and feel more confident participating in new activities. Your role is to show children the value of maintaining an active lifestyle.

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