Early Years Physical Activity Guidelines and Supporting Information
Chief Medical Officer Physical Activity Guidelines for Under 5s
The UK Chief Medical Officers guidelines (2019) state that children under the age of 5 who are capable of walking should participate in 180 minutes of active movement across each day.
Children who are not yet capable of walking unaided should be encouraged to try simple activities, particularly floor and water based play in safe environments.
Children capable of walking should be physically active for a minimum of 180 minutes spread throughout the day.
Physical activity has many benefits for children:
- Develops muscles and bones
- Contributes to brain development and learning
- Encourages movement and co-ordination
- Improves sleep
- Builds relationships and social skills
- Maintains health and weight
Physical Literacy Framework (YST)
Throughout early years a child's physical literacy journey will have several important stages of physical development. These stages have been highlighted by the Youth Sport Trust in this infographic.
EYFS Framework on Physical Development
The Early Years and Foundation Stage Framework highlights the importance of physical development in the early years. Among the 7 areas of learning physical development is one of the three prime areas of learning. This means that providers of childcare should understand the importance for igniting children's curiosity and enthusiasm in this area.
Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour & Sleep
These guidelines are for all healthy children under 5 years of age, irrespective of gender, cultural background or socio-economic status of families and are relevant for children of all abilities; caregivers of children with a disability or those with a medical condition, however, may seek additional guidance from a health professional.