May 21,

Getting Started

Getting Started

Children are designed to move and enjoy being active when it is fun, makes them feel good and is normal.

Children generally become less active as they get older. This happens for many reasons:

  • Novelty and fun of childhood games wears off (and is not replaced or further fostered as they grow)
  • High competition, injuries and self-confidence issues can cause children to withdraw from activities
  • School time becomes less active as children get older
  • Leisure time becomes less active as children’s lives become busier with sedentary activities such as school work, electronics/technology and “hanging out” with peers
  • Children and youth are influenced when the people and communities around them are not active

These influences are problematic as they suggest that physical activity is not valued as much as it should be in today’s society. Less than 10% of Canadian children and youth are currently meeting the Canadian Physical Activity guidelines.

One of the most important things we can do for the health of our children is foster an appreciation of behaviours that will help them take care of their bodies, including physical activity and health eating.

For physical activity, early childhood (age 0-6) is a crucial time for the development of movement skills that children can master and use for the rest of their lives. This leads to the concept of Physical Literacy.

Physical Literacy

Physical literacy lays the foundation for an active life.

Individuals who are physically literate “move with competence and confidence in a wide variety of physical activities in multiple environments that benefit the healthy development of the whole person”. (Physical and Health Education (PHE) Canada)

Children who are physically literate have the knowledge, skills, confidence and competence needed to lead physically active lives.

Those lacking physical literacy often withdraw from physical activity, which may lead to pursuit of more sedentary or unhealthy lifestyle choices.

Focus is on development of Fundamental Movement Skills:

  • Running
  • Crawling
  • Jumping
  • Hopping
  • Throwing
  • Kicking
  • Catching
  • Falling
  • Climbing
  • Skipping
  • Swimming, etc.

These skills are transferable to many different types of recreational activities and sports, which will enable children to feel competent and confident to participate in such activities.

Consequences of Missing a Fundamental Skill (Canadian Sport for Life)

Screen Shot 02-02-15 at 09.58 AM

Watch the following video to learn more:

Ophea Introduction to Physical & Health Literacy

Remember that proper nutrition and adequate sleep are also key to being active. Children aged 5 to 12 should get 10 to 11 hours of sleep a night. Younger children should sleep more.



Active Healthy Kids Canada,

Canadian Sport for Life Physical Literacy,

Physical and Health Education Canada,

Active Healthy Kids Canada,




Last modified on Feb 06, 2015