Preschoolers usually have lots of energy. They often test their limits at the playground, in the backyard, or while running, tumbling, playing games, or exploring.
It's a good idea to encourage your child to be active for many reasons. Children need to be active for the same reasons as adults. There are health benefits and they get to know what they like to do and what they're good at.
Your child is always learning and discovering new things. During the preschool years, they're learning how to move their bodies and do different types of activities. Many preschoolers seem to go nonstop as they learn skills like jumping, running, rolling, and throwing.
Physical literacy means understanding and feeling confident to be active and move your body.
Children who have strong physical literacy are more likely to stay active as they grow up. They're also more likely to learn new activity skills easily. For example, if you teach your child to throw a ball, they'll be more comfortable playing slow-pitch, football, or Frisbee later on.
Learning basic physical literacy skills at a young age is important for girls and boys. Often girls don't have strong physical literacy in their teen or adult years because they weren't as active in their preschool or school age years.
The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology recommends the activity guidelines below for children 4 years old and younger.
When children are
5 years old, they need to be playing energetically for 60 minutes (1 hour) a day.
For example teach your child to:
The preschool years are a great time for your child to develop active habits that can last a lifetime. Encourage them to move often. Set limits on screen time and being inactive. Be a good role model.
The more your child moves, the more comfortable and confident they'll be with their body. This will help them for the rest of their lives.
Remember that your child is just learning. They may move too fast, take risks, and be slow or clumsy at times depending on the activity. Always be patient and teach them to move safely. Have fun watching them learn and grow. Do activities together (like a game of tag) that are fun and take lots of energy.
Current as of: August 31, 2020
Author: Healthy Children and Families, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.