There are many ways to incorporate physical activity throughout the day at your child care center or home. The good news is that the recommended daily amount of physical activity does not have to be performed all at once! It can be broken down in smaller sections of time (e.g., ten-minute intervals) as it fits into your schedule. Also, children can be active in structured or unstructured ways — indoors, outdoors, alone, or in groups with friends or family.
Both structured activity and free play contribute to a child’s development. A child learns many fundamental skills as she plays including problem-solving, motor-skills building, sharing, and overcoming physical and mental challenges. Free play also develops a child’s creativity and imagination and encourages her to interact with the world around her. A playground is a great way to support outdoor free play and should include many of the following:
As a child care provider, you play a key role in children’s lives, helping them learn and grow. Your role includes stimulating children’s physical, emotional, intellectual and social growth. You help them explore individual interests, develop talents and extend their learning through hands-on projects. Additionally, you support children’s independence, self-esteem and positive interactions with others. You also play an important role in helping to develop positive attitudes and behaviors toward physical activity. And your role doesn’t stop there—be sure to move along with the children! Your active participation is important in motivating children and providing a model for the enjoyment of physical activity. It is also important to encourage every child to participate in and enjoy all activities regardless of their skills.3