Healthy Child Care Resources

Discover educational child care resources about healthy eating and physical activity.

Administrative Resources

Child Care Provider’s Guide: A simple stage-by-stage child care resource with information and tips about healthy eating and physical activity for babies, toddlers and preschoolers from Nemours’, the most-visited children’s health website in the world. Offers practical suggestions, research findings and best practices about children’s nutrition and fitness.

NAEYC and Caring for Our Children 2nd Edition Physical Activity and Nutrition Standards Crosswalk: This document compares the similar standards from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Caring for Our Children 2nd Edition regarding physical activity, nutrition and technology.

Nutrition and Wellness Tips for Young Children : This handbook cites specific ways providers can support children in four areas: healthy eating, food safety practices, active play and limiting screen time.

Articles and Research

The Effects of Video Game-Based Exercise in Preschool-Aged Children: In a recent study from the University of Minnesota, researchers examined the effect of a school-based “exergaming” intervention on preschool children’s health outcomes. Researchers specifically looked at perceived competence, motor skill competence, and physical activity among the children. They then compared it to usual care (i.e., recess).

Healthy Minds: Nurturing Your Child’s Healthy Development: These articles from the nonprofit organization Zero to Three provide examples and encouragement for parents and caregivers to understand and nurture child development from birth to 36 months.

The Importance of Health Behaviors in Childhood for the Development of Internalizing Disorders During Adolescence: Approximately half of all cases of poor mental health have an onset before the age of 14 years. This study examines the importance of diet quality, physical activity and sedentary behaviors in childhood for internalizing disorder throughout adolescence.

Intersection of Health and Education to Address School Readiness of All Children (American Academy of Pediatrics): This review synthesizes work to align the fields of pediatrics and education. Education literature is reviewed to understand the current U.S. achievement gap. Impacts of child health on school readiness and emerging solutions are also discussed.

Obesity Prevention Among Low-Income, Diverse Preschool-Aged Children (University of Minnesota): This research brief reviews a study integrating home visits, community-based parenting classes, primary care provider interactions and neighborhood connection strategies to support low-income, racially and ethnically diverse parents to prevent obesity among their preschool-aged children.


Community Healthy Living Index (CHLI): A compilation of assessment tools from the YMCA that measures opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating across different settings, including early childhood program.

C.H.O.I.C.E Toolkit and Self-Assessment Questionnaire (Contra Costa Child Care Council): Assessment on how your child care home or center compare with recommended nutrition and physical activity guidelines.

Curriculum Materials and Handouts

ABC’s of a Healthy Me: This handout reviews the ABCs of a healthy child in your care: Active play, Breastfeeding, Cutting down on screen time, Drinking milk and water, and Eating healthy foods. Also available in Spanish.

MODEL Health Promoting Nutrition and Physical Activity in Children (Maryland State Department of Education): Lessons on nutrition and physical activity that encourage exploration, concrete experiences, and links to the children’s families and prior experiences (ages 3-5 years).

OrganWise Guys: A set of engaging characters who teach children about the importance of good nutrition, physical activity and overall healthy lifestyles with the goal of preventing childhood obesity.

Together Counts — School Engagement: Together Counts is a nationwide program inspiring active and healthy living. School Engagement contains quick and easy lessons that are fun and play-based, and can be used by parents, caregivers and volunteers to teach children important healthy skills.

Equity in ECE

5 ways teachers can challenge inequality in the classroom (The Guardian): Research shows that everyday teaching practices exclude already marginalised groups of students, but teachers can take steps to redress the balance. This article discusses tips for the classroom such as rethinking ability grouping, challenging language, making the curriculum relevant, avoiding quick-fix punishments, and nurturing relationships.

Barriers to Equity in Nutritional Health for U.S. Children and Adolescents: A Review of the Literature (Springer Link): U.S. children and adolescents from low-income and ethnic/racial minority backgrounds experience greater risk for obesity and poor nutrition. This article reviews research to date addressing the potential for improvements in child care environments and food system policy to promote health equity.

Equity and Early Childhood Education: Reclaiming the Child (National Council of Teachers of English): Equity can be described as the elimination of privilege, oppression, disparities, and disadvantage that historically have excluded those belonging to particular groups. This is the first and overarching of several research policy briefs around issues of equity.

Health Equity Issues Related to Childhood Obesity (Healthy Futures): This PDF presentation strives to answer the question: What are the health-equity issues that relate to disparities in childhood obesity? Includes a definition of health equity; social determinants of obesity inequalities; scoping review process and gaps in related literature; results of food, natural, built. and social environments; how to decrease the effect of disparities; and more.

Health Equity Resource Toolkit for State Practitioners Addressing Obesity Disparities (Center of Disease Control and Prevention): This toolkit’s primary focus is on how to create policy, systems, and environmental changes that will reduce obesity disparities and achieve health equity. This resource also provides guidance on how to supplement and compliment existing efforts.

Inequity in child health: The importance of early childhood development  (Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health): We are faced with the challenge of how best to respond to inequity in child health and, in particular, early childhood development. This article examines inequality versus inequity in child health, the reasons why and how we should address inequities in child health, and the role of the health-care system.

Moving Beyond Anti-Bias Activities: Supporting the Development of Anti-Bias Practices (NAYEC): This article explores what it means to embrace an anti-bias stance every day. Adopting an anti-bias perspective requires more than implementing a few well-meaning activities. Teachers at Eliot-Pearson Children’s School at Tufts University developed a framework to guide their anti-bias work and support their anti-bias planning and practice as they moved forward.

Top 10 Things We Know About Young Children and Health Equity…and Three Things We Need to Do with What We Know (BUILD Initiative): Children are by far the most diverse age group in society, and their healthy development is critical to America’s leadership in a world economy. This handout reviews plainly what we know about young children and health equity, and what policymakers and community leaders can do with that knowledge.


Coordinated Approach to Childhood Health Early Childhood (CATCH EC): CATCH Early Childhood (CEC) is a research-tested low-cost intervention to improve nutrition physical activity, nutrition, and encourage healthy eating in pre-k children ages 3-5. There are activities that are developmentally appropriate and easy for teachers to follow.

Eat Well Play Hard in Childcare Settings and Day Care Homes (NY State Department of Health): An intervention that provides nutrition and physical activity education to preschool children, their parents and child care staff.  Check out education materials for Child Care Settings . You can also check out the resources for Day Care Homes.

SNAP-ED TOOLKIT: Obesity Prevention Interventions (USDA): Search for evidence-based strategies and interventions focused on promoting healthy eating and physical activity, including populations and settings specific to early childhood and early care and education. Each strategy or intervention included in the toolkit includes an overview, summary of reach and adoption, components, materials needed, a summary of the evidence, evaluation indicators and materials and contact information.


Child Care Wellness Policy Workbook: Creating and Environment for Preschoolers to Develop Healthy Habits for Life (Nemours): Child care providers and other early childhood professionals can use this Workbook to develop their own individualized wellness policies. Topics include Nutrition, Physical Activity, Other Program-Based Activities and Evaluation.

Model Child Care Health Policies: This valuable resource from the American Academy of Pediatrics takes the mystery out of policy writing, covering all facets of early care and education. These model policies, covering a wide range of topics, ease the burden of writing site-specific health and safety policies from scratch.

Sample ECE Policies: Breastfeeding and Infant Feeding, Child Nutrition, Family Engagement, Family Style Dining, Indoor and Outdoor Play, and Worksite Wellness (Word docs—for quick download, please use Chrome or Firefox)

Spurring Innovation—The Role of Child Health Policy: Nemours and AcademyHealth released a new report highlighting actions on four key areas of opportunity to advance child health policy: Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); consumer digital health (including telehealth); precision medicine in pediatrics; and opioid addiction and neonatal abstinence syndrome.


ECE Learning Collaboratives Implementation Toolkit: The goal of this toolkit is to provide trainers with the roadmap and resources needed to successfully implement learning collaboratives for ECE providers. The resources in this toolkit are derived from Nemours’ National Early Care & Education Learning Collaborative (ECELC) Project, which focuses on improving practices and policies around nutrition, physical activity, breastfeeding support, and reducing screen time.

First Years in the First State — Improving Nutrition & Physical Activity: A toolkit developed by Nemours’ Health & Prevention Services (NHPS) for the Delaware Department of Education and funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Team Nutrition grant. Includes self-assessments, menu plans, recipes, shopping lists, budget-saving tips and more.

Georgia Growing Fit Toolkit (Georgia Dept of Health, Georgia Dept of Early Learning, HealthMPowers): A guide for early childcare education programs to assess, develop, and improve their policies around nutrition and physical activity.

Growing, Moving, Learning: Infant-Toddler Toolkit (University of Delaware, Nemours): This toolkit includes developmentally appropriate activities that promote physical activities and healthy eating for infants and toddlers.

Healthy Active Living (Head Start/ECLKC): These educational tools were designed to support and engage Head Start staff as they partner with families in healthy eating and active living. Includes a flipchart, worksheets, postcards, children’s activities, self-study courses, and fact and tip sheets.

Trainings and Webinars

Building a Healthy Start: These training modules from Alabama Public Health address a specific issue and focus on information specific to the care of infants and toddlers related to that issue. Topics include “Feeding Infants and Toddlers in Early Childhood Settings” and “Promoting Physical Activity for Infants and Toddlers in Early Childhood Settings.”

Healthy Kids, Healthy Future Learning Modules: These learning modules were developed in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and provide practical strategies for implementing best healthy practices in early childhood settings. The series includes six lessons that cover background information for childhood obesity prevention and the five best practice goals: increasing physical activity, limiting screen time, offering healthy beverages, serving healthy food, and supporting breastfeeding.

Training Opportunities and Resources for CACFP Sponsors: This webinar highlights the free online Healthy Kids, Healthy Future (formerly Let’s Move! Child Care — LMCC) training modules. The six training modules provide practical strategies for implementing best practices in the early care and education (ECE) setting for preventing childhood obesity.


Healthy Kids, Healthy Future (formerly Let’s Move! Child Care) Promotional Videos:

» Run-Run, Let’s Move! Child Care (intro video)

» What Is Let’s Move! Child Care?

These videos have been developed and donated to Let’s Move! Child Care by Exchange Press, Video Active Productions and TurnKey Training, the makers of Preventing Obesity and Promoting Wellness in Early Childhood Settings, a comprehensive professional development training series for early childhood providers.


Sowing The Seeds Of The Future: Long Island Head Start improved healthy habits in many ways. They increased vegetable and fruit consumption and adopted several new physical activities. Incorporating yoga into the children’s routine has improved wellness, focus and creativity. Through gardening activities children enjoy learning about where food comes from. Watch the kids in action and interviews with proud parents and teachers.