Active Play and Inactive Time

Making sure that you and the children you care for are active everyday is important for overall health and development. Below you will find resources that can help you be more physically active at your child care home or center.


Best Practices

The resources in this category are the same for all of the following best practices.

  • “Active play time is never withheld for children who misbehave and additional active play time is given for good behavior.”
  • “Ensure that children are not seated for periods of more than 30 minutes (excluding naps and meals).”
  • “Provide all toddlers, including those with special needs, with at least 60 minutes of active play time each day.”
  • “Provide preschoolers with at least 120 minutes of active play time each day.”
  • “Provide outdoor active play time 2 or more times per day.”
  • “Provide structured physical activity to children 2 or more times per day.”
  • “Use swings and infant seats, such as exersaucers, car seats, molded seats no more than 1 times per day, and no more than 15 minutes at a time for ANY child.”


101 Tips for Increasing Physical Activity in Early Childhood

Summary : Pamphlet that provides ideas for increasing physical activity with young children.
Source: National Association for Sport and Physical Activity Education


Action Guide: For Child Care Nutrition and Physical Activity Policies

Summary: A guide for creating policies including rationale, steps for creating policies, and policy recommendations. 
Source:  Connecticut State Department of Education

Fact Sheet for Health Professionals on Physical Activity Guidelines for Children and Adolescents

Summary: Guidelines for children and adolescents on physical activity based on the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


GO Noodle For Schools - Indoor Physical Activity Ideas

Summary:  Ideas for indoor physical activity for providers in schools and child care.
Source:  GO Noodle, Inc.


Healthy Kids, Healthy Future

Summary : The goal of this site is to increase physical activity for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  Click on the Increase Physical Activity circle to find the information.   This site has a link to a yearlong calendar that includes simple physical activities for each day of the year, as well as a link to a resource book title Best Practices for Physical Activity (pages 6-11) that gives some ideas for physical activity specific to each age. 
Source:  The Nemours Foundation

Healthy Tips for Active Play Tip Sheet

Summary : Tips for healthy active play for inside and outside play times. 
Source:  MyPlate


Indoor Physical Activity Ideas for Kids Tip Sheet

Summary : This includes a list of quick and easy physical activity ideas including indoor activities and links to additional resources. 
Source:  Poudre Valley Health System


Mealtime Memo for Child Care: Rainy Day Physical Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Summary : Explains the importance of physical activity for children and ideas for activity specifically for toddlers and preschoolers for indoor and outside play.  Additional resources for physical activities are included. 
Source:  National Food Service Management Institute: The University of Mississippi

Milestone Tracker Mobile App

Summary : Track child’s milestone from age 2 months to 5 years with this easy to use check list and learn how to download the mobile app. Includes a video and flyers explaining how to use the app.
Source:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC) Manual

Summary:  This manual provides the best practice recommendations for each question on the self-assessment. The manuals also include the rationale behind each recommendation, challenges to implementing recommendations, and tips for changing current practice.
Source:  Michigan Healthy Child Care


Nutrition and Wellness Tips for Young Children

Summary:  Collection of tip sheets for nutrition and physical activity. Each tip sheet focuses on a specific topic and includes a practical application section to help apply the tips to a child care program for children ages 2 through 5 years old. See pages 63-68.
Source:  United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service


Physical Activity in Children and Adolescents

Summary: This pdf discusses the types and amounts of physical activity recommended for children and adolescents.
Source: American College of Sports Medicine


Sample Child Care Physical Activity Policy

Summary : This is an example of a physical activity policy for a child care. It outlines the daily play, role of staff members and times of play. 
Source:  South Carolina Early Child Care and Education

The 3 Ring Food Circus: Easy and Fun Food-Related Activities for Preschoolers and Young Children

Summary :This book contains activities that teach young children about trying and learning new foods, having fun being physically active, and using MyPlate to fill a healthy plate. You can download a pdf from this site.
Source:  United Dairy Industry of Michigan


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