Supporting early years professionals with physical activity guidance and resources to help them lay the foundations for the future health and wellbeing of children in the early years.

 

Evidence briefing

For practitioners who require a more detailed review of the evidence base available for physical activity and the early years, we have produced the early years evidence briefing. This includes detailed information on physical and psychological health outcomes of physical activity, current levels, measurement and implications for practice.

Please note: The UK physical activity guidelines for early years were updated in September 2019. This document reflects the previous guidelines. While the guidelines have changed the advice and ideas contained in this document remains applicable.

Download: Physical activity for the early years evidence briefing

 

Practice briefing

This practice briefing is designed to give practitioners and managers of early years settings practical ideas for promoting physical activity with the under fives. The recommendations in the briefing are based on research evidence and recognise that early years practitioners, as well as parents and carers, can strongly influence the physical activity opportunities available to young children.

Please note: The UK physical activity guidelines for early years were updated in September 2019. This document reflects the previous guidelines. While the guidelines have changed the advice and ideas contained in this document remains applicable.

Download: Early years - Practical strategies for promoting physical activity

Factsheets

Exploring... Early years physical activity guidelines

How much physical activity should children under five be doing to benefit their health?

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Exploring... Top tips for getting under fives active

Simple ideas for getting children more active in your setting

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Exploring... The importance of physical activity in the early years

Why is physical activity so important for children under five?

Exploring... Sedentary behaviour in the early years

What is sedentary behaviour and how can you minimise it with children under five?

Information booklets

Two information booklets are available, one with advice for physical activity with infants who cannot yet walk and one for walkers. They provide information on the importance of physical activity for children in the early years and appropriate types of activity as well as tips for reducing sedentary behaviour.

Please note: The UK physical activity guidelines for early years were updated in September 2019. These documents reflect the previous guidelines. While the guidelines have changed the advice and ideas contained in these booklets remains applicable.

Download: UK physical activity guidelines for early years – non walkers

Download: UK physical activity guidelines for early years – walkers

 

Parent leaflets

These leaflets provide tips on how parents can incorporate physical activity into daily activities as well as the types of activity their child needs. There is a leaflet with ideas for activities with babies who cannot yet walk and one for young children who can.

Please note: The UK physical activity guidelines for early years were updated in September 2019. These documents reflect the previous guidelines. While the guidelines have changed the advice and ideas contained in these booklets remains applicable.

Help your baby move and play every day

Help your child move and play every day

 

Practical ideas for active play

A 100-page book full of ideas for bringing physical activity to life within childcare settings.

With a wealth of game and activity ideas for children aged 0-5, this book provides suggestions on how to incorporate active learning into more traditionally sedentary activities such as story time, as well as providing energetic game suggestions for activities that will support physical development.

Buy your copy of the book here.

The Practical ideas for active play book is supported by six other documents aimed at helping under 5s live active and healthy lives. You can download them here:

Early movers – an introduction to the guide

Introduction to physical activity in the early years

Planning and organisation for early years managers

Getting the best from your environment

Getting children involved

Getting parents and carers involved

Please note: The UK physical activity guidelines for early years were updated in September 2019. These documents reflect the previous guidelines. While the guidelines have changed the advice and ideas contained in these booklets remains applicable.

Child feeding guide

Dr Emma Haycraft and Dr Gemma Witcomb from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University specialise in children's eating behaviour and parenting at mealtimes. From their research they have developed the Child Feeding Guide, resources that provide real strategies and tools to tackle fussy eating.

The resources comprises a website, downloadable documents and online training course. Find out more about the Child Feeding Guide.

 

Related resources

The importance of physical activity for under 5s

Natalie Matthewman explains the importance of physical activity for under fives and gives ideas for what parents can do to help.

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Vegetable Maths Masters

Loughborough University’s Dr Emma Haycraft, along with academics from other institutions, has developed an app for children that aims to get them eating more healthily and trying different vegetables.

According to the latest Health Survey for England data, fewer than one in six children aged between five and 15 years (16%), eat the recommended five or more portions of fruit and vegetables each day.

The gaming platform, which was developed in conjunction with the British Psychological Society, is designed to expose children between three and seven-years-old to vegetables as they practise core maths skills developed in Key Stage 1.

Find out more.