All children need to be physically active, even in the winter months. Fewer sunlight hours and for some - snow and cold, can make it hard to find a time and place for kids to be physically active. But all children are designed to move! By moving more and sitting less, children learn to live in a healthful way.
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommends that all children, including infants and toddlers, should be physically active every day. They suggest that infants should interact with caregivers in daily physical activities and should be allowed time each day in a safe place where they can exercise and develop their large muscles.
Toddlers and preschoolers should have at least 60 minutes daily of unstructured physical activity (free play) and should not be sitting still for more than 60 minutes at a time. They also need daily structured physical activity where the adults supervise their play; toddlers need 30 minutes and preschoolers need 60 minutes. The time doesn't need to be all at one time, it can be broken up over the whole day.
The following resources can provide information on physical activity for children, suggestions for things to do, and ideas for promoting play. Have some fun and move with your kids!
Let's Get Moving! - Cold-weather
activities to keep kids moving
This web article focuses on activities that can be done with children during the cold winter months. Ideas to get started and tips are included. Activity suggestions are included for different age groups.
7 Ways to Keep Your Family Fit Indoors
This web article discusses the need to keep the family fit over the winter months. Try these strategies to get your family moving - this winter and all year-round.
Growing Up Fit: Preschool Fitness Activities
This fact sheet discusses physical fitness of preschool age children. It includes information on why you should teach movement and how to describe movement. It also discusses the importance of balance. Activity ideas are provided and are listed from easiest to more difficult.
Growing Up Fit: Preschoolers in Motion
This fact sheet discusses the physical development and physical fitness of preschool age children. It includes information on cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, body composition, muscular strength, and flexibility. It also describes skill related fitness, and provides examples of things that you can encourage children to improve their overall fitness.
Active Start - Physical Activity
Guidelines for Children Birth to Five Years
This brief summarizes the information from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) on how much physical activity children under age 5 should be getting on a daily basis.
Diversity Project: A Look at physical activity and healthy eating in the African American, Latino and Native American communities.
This study attempted to identify the barriers to and opportunities for developing effective programs to increase physical activity and healthy eating in the African American, Latino and Native American communities.
2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
This website developed by the Federal Government has issued its first-ever Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. They describe the types and amounts of physical activity that offer substantial health benefits to Americans. The site offers a blog, quiz, guidelines, and other resources.
2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
This guide provides science-based guidance to help Americans aged 6 and older improve their health through appropriate physical activity. Chapter 3 focuses on children and adolescents.
Active Living for Families
This newsletter provides information about keeping the family active and the benefits of staying healthy. Suggestions of activities are included.
This brochure provides information on children's physical play and how important active play is for a child's healthy development.
Let's Move...Cold Weather Fun!
This newsletter provides suggestions on children's active play and movement activities you can do inside and out in cold weather.
Fitness for Kids: Getting your Children off the Couch
This Mayo Clinic health article focuses on children's health and fitness. It includes information on what parents can do to support their children in good health, physically fitness, and how to promote physical activity.
All 4 Kids: Let's Get Moving!
This brochure is intended for use with parents and caregivers. It provides general information on physical activities for children. Children need to be active every day, some suggestions for inside and outside.
The International Food Information Council, along with 5 partner organizations, has launched an educational, interactive web site designed to teach kids and their families how to stay active and lose weight in order to live healthier lives.
Physical Activities and Healthy Snacks for Young Children
Physical Activities and Healthy Snacks for Young Children is a set of cards developed for caregivers that give specific ideas for nearly 50 physical activities and healthy snacks. Each snack card has a coordinated snack menu with serving sizes listed for a CACFP preschool snack. The snack cards include a suggested literacy connection for each recipe. There are corresponding physical activity ideas with directions that include a formation diagram, description to help set up the activity, instructions on how to play, a plan for use and age expectations for the activity.
There's No Perfect Body Size for a Teenager
This fact sheet discusses the importance of healthy eating and exercise for adolescents, focusing on realistic choices and goals. Suggestions for exercising and eating guides are included.
America On the Move: A Partnership Guide for Walking and Healthy Living
America On The Move (AOM) is a national initiative dedicated to helping individuals and communities across the country make positive changes to improve health and quality of life. This curriculum guide was designed by CSREES and America on the Move for use with ongoing classes and presentations of CES programs. The guide provides a 6-week walking promotion curriculum with lessons ranging from 5 to 20 minutes.
Shaking Your Groove Thing: Video Games as Ways to Increase Physical Activity
Conference presentation on programs using "exergames", games that encourage physical activity as part of their programs for youth, adults and families. Program leaders will share their expertise; including what works, what doesn't work, and how exergames impact our audiences. Participants should be prepared to play some games, and will receive real-world suggestions for using exergames in their programming.