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.

Partners and Sponsors

Partners and Sponsors

  • Sport England
    Active Partnerships
    Somerset Business Award Winner
    Somerset Chamber of Commerce
    Disability Confident
  • Somerset Skills & Learning
    Youth Sport Trust
    activity alliance
    Sedgemoor District Council
    Avon & Somerset Police
  • South Somerset District Council
    Somerset Partnership
    Yeovil Hospital Healthcare
    Taunton & West Somerset Council
    Mendip District Council
    Homes in Sedgemoor
  • Macmillan Cancer Support
    Spark Somerset
    YMCA Dulverton Group
    Department for Work & Pensions
    Somerset CCG
    together team
    Somerset Cricket Board
    British American Football Association
    Badminton England
    Somerset FA
  • British Cycling
    Create Development
    Children in Need
    The Salvation Army
    Somerset County Council
  • Channel Adventure
    Nova Sports & Coaching
    Zing Somerset
    Sports Coach UK