Resources for Physical Activity

Learn creative ways to get children moving several times a day with these physical activity resources.

Administrative Resources

Active Early: A Wisconsin guide for improving childhood physical activity. Includes information on physical activity recommendations, child development, assessments, daily routines, environmental considerations, resources and business practices.

Best Practices for Physical Activity: Nemours Health and Prevention Services (NHPS) created these physical activity guidelines to help promote and support quality physical activity for children. The guide also includes sample child care and early education program policies.

Freedom of Movement Checklist: The Freedom of Movement Checklist was developed by the Capital District of Child Care Council in Albany, New York. This tool was created for infant toddler caregivers, coaches, trainers, administrators, and families and is used to assess how programming supports each child’s freedom of movement throughout the day.

On the Move: Read about how powerful movement is in a child’s first three years. Through movement, children develop good thinking and communication skills as they explore and interact with their world. Movement also builds self-confidence. Children feel competent, physically and emotionally, when they use their bodies to communicate and solve problems.

Physical Activity Kit for Young Children (PAK) — Staying on the Active Path in Native Communities
(PDF): This vast resource for child care providers and parents contains culturally appropriate physical activities and movements for babies, toddlers and preschool children in Native American communities.

Preventing Childhood Obesity: A letter to families about their role in keeping kids healthy and actions they can take to prevent childhood obesity.


Adapting the Child Care Environment for Children with Special Needs: When working with special needs children, it is important to focus on each child’s strength as you work to make adjustments. Many modifications can be simple ones. This article covers making adaptations, general accommodations, and additional resources for specific disabilities.

Ideas for Child Care Providers to Help Children with Physical Disabilities: This article describes how child care and early education providers can support children who have physical disabilities, such as: helping them be more independent, making it easy to move around in play areas, adapting activities, and teaching children how to help another child with a physical disability.

Keeping Children Active Indoors: Children need to have active times every day to use up energy, learn new things and be healthy. Luckily, active play can happen indoors as well as outdoors. Try the indoor activities in this article to get your kids to use large muscles and burn energy.

Physical Activity–Family-Based Interventions: Family-based interventions combine activities to build family support with health education to increase physical activity among children. Read this review from the Community Preventive Services Task Force to find out how a family-based intervention would work in your program.

First Aid and Safety

First Aid: Dehydration: Kids can become dehydrated when their bodies lose large amounts of fluids. In this article from Nemours’ KidsHealth, learn the signs and symptoms of dehydration, what to do in case of dehydration, when to seek emergency medical care, and how to prevent it.

First Aid: Heat Illness: In hot weather, a child’s internal temperature can rise and cause heat exhaustion, which can progress to heatstroke if not treated quickly. In this article from Nemours’ KidsHealth, learn the signs and symptoms of heat illness, and what to do in case of heat illness.

Playground Safety: Following these safety guidelines from Nemours’ KidsHealth can make playgrounds entertaining and safe for your kids. Topics include: adult supervision; playground design, spacing and surfaces; maintenance and inspection; teaching kids about playground safety; safe equipment guidelines for swings, seesaws, slides and climbing equipment.

Games and Activities

5 W’s: Who? What? Where? When? Why? This activity incorporates reading comprehension with movement.

Back to Sleep, Tummy to Play: This article emphasizes that while tummy time is important, babies are safest on their backs while sleeping. Learn more about how to engage infants during tummy time.

Games for Preschoolers: Preschoolers love games. They can follow simple rules and have a growing interest in playing with other kids. Listed are some old favorites and new ones as well.

Games for Toddlers: Though toddlers will more often play alongside their friends instead of with them, they’ll enjoy group games and can begin learning important lessons from them.

Get Moving Today Calendar: A start-anytime, reusable calendar from Head Start Body Start which has fun, simple physical activities to do everyday with preschoolers.

Hands-On Activities for Child Care: Search or browse hundreds of hands-on, ready-to-do activities for movement and physical activity for young children.

Head to Toe, Letter ‘O’: Fun rhymes and movements teach young children about healthy foods.

Healthy Habits for Life: Every Day is a Healthy Day: The Healthy Habits for Life Child Care Resource Kit gives you the tools you need to teach children about eating right and being physically active so that they can establish healthy habits for life. Help children bring together the learning they’ve done so far. Every day can be a healthy day for you and your children. Celebrate their achievements as you all stay healthy and strong — every day.

Healthy Habits for Life: Get Moving: The Healthy Habits for Life Child Care Resource Kit gives you the tools you need to teach children about eating right and being physically active so that they can establish healthy habits for life. This section offers easy and fun ideas and activities to get kids moving.

Let’s Get Ready to Learn: Capture preschoolers’ attention and get them moving at the start of the day with this chant.

Training and Webinars

Creating Active ClassroomsThese materials were created to support teachers of 2-5 year olds in early care and education (ECE) centers to increase the amount of physical activity in their classrooms. They can also be used by those who provide training and technical assistance to ECE teachers. The resources are designed to build short, easy-to-use activities into your daily child care routine. The resources include: 1) Training Workshop Slides, 2) Lesson Plans, and 3) Activity Cards. The training workshop slides can be used separately from or together with the lesson plans and activity cards.

» Creating Active Classrooms Training Workshop Slides

» Guide to Lessons and Activity Cards


Keeping All Of Us Healthy: Why We Value Activity and Nutrition in Early Care and Education: Learn why healthy eating and physical activity are important in ECE programs and some of the factors that impact childhood obesity. Download this set of slides (PDF) to use as a handout or additional training materials.


One Step at a Time: Bright Futures Obesity Prevention Training for Child Care Providers: This training includes three modules: Promoting Physical Activity for Young Children, Promoting Physical Activity in Child Care Programs, and Working with Parents.