Tiny movers, big fun: Promoting physical activity in childcare

Today, kids’ lives are filled with more screens and non-aerobic activity than ever before. So prioritising physical activity is really important. Getting kids active not only builds muscle and bone, it supports their cognitive development and overall health and well-being. Since they spend so much time at childcare, it’s important that your learning centre prioritises physical activities into their every day curriculum. Read on as we explore how childcare centres can hero and incorporate getting kids moving!

Is physical activity really that important?

Centres need to understand that physical activity is not just about keeping our little ones busy. It’s about laying the foundation for a lifetime of health and well-being. With the rise of screens and digital devices, children are spending more time sitting and engaging in activities like watching TV, playing video games, and using smartphones or tablets. This lifestyle is the source of a range of health-related problems. In fact, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports that less than one-quarter (23%) of children perform the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity.

Fitter learning centres, healthier kids

Most centres understand that physical activity supports children’s physical growth and development. But there are many other, equally important aspects to keeping kids active throughout their schooling career. Below are a few of the most essential ones –

  • Moving helps their thinking

Research has shown that physical activity has a real impact on children’s cognitive function and academic performance at school. Physical activity actually improves their attention, memory, and problem-solving skills. A learning centre that incorporates physical activity into their curriculum is setting your little one up for success in their coming school years. 

  • Building muscles, and leaders 

When kids are part of team sports or group exercise classes they develop social skills like communication, cooperation, and teamwork. Being part of a team that works hard at something physical together fosters friendships, builds leadership skills, and teaches our little ones how to work collaboratively with other children. So the next time they work up a sweat, just know that they’re on their way to becoming a leader!

  • Exercising your emotions

We all know that physical activity releases endorphins, which promote a positive mood. But learning centres who prioritise physical activity will find that their learners are more confident and have better self-esteem. And this isn’t just something people say.

Studies show that active kids have:

– Less stress, anxiety and negative thinking

– Improved mood and self-esteem

– Reduced depression and feelings of isolation

– Reduced aggression

– Are impacted less by negative events

Plus, children with attention deficits experience improved focus. 

  • Fit for life 

Encouraging physical activity in childhood sets the foundation for lifelong healthy habits. When centres encourage children to be active, those kids are way more likely to continue leading active lifestyles into adulthood. This is important because it can actually end up reducing their risk of chronic diseases and improving their quality of life in later years.

What to look for in a curriculum

Here are just a few of the amenities and physical activities that learning centres could work into their day-to-day curriculums – 

Serious about playgrounds – Make sure that the centre you choose has a playground designed for more than just climbing and sliding. A proper playground will let children jump, climb, and balance too. 

Indoor exercise sessions – What do they do on rainy days? When outdoor play isn’t possible, what indoor activities do they offer to get little ones active? Look for activities like dance parties or indoor obstacle courses. They’ll do the trick! 

Be a sport – Even at a young age, there’s nothing like a team sport to get little ones moving and working together as a team. 

Amazing outings – You could also look for activities like bush kinder, where kids are able to go and explore natural spaces around their school. This type of activity doesn’t just get them outside and active, but it will also help them create a love and appreciation for nature. 

Adapted sports and inclusive recreation – Does the centre have activities for children with special needs? Thankfully, there’s a growing recognition of the importance of adapted sports programs for disabled or special needs kids. Some centres offer modified versions of traditional sports and recreational activities, that are accessible to children of all abilities – allowing everyone to feel included, build social connection, and improve their physical fitness.

Getting active about exercise 

Now that you know how important physical activity is at childcare centres, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about which one is right for your little one. By using these tips, you’ll not only be ensuring your little one is happier at preschool, you’ll be setting them up for future success too. 

At Child’s Play, we’re committed to providing a nurturing and physically stimulating learning environment, where children can thrive physically, emotionally, and intellectually. Our curriculum includes a variety of active play experiences that empower our little ones to explore, discover, and grow into healthy and confident individuals. Get in touch with us today!