How physically active should our babies and young children be?

Early Years Physical Activity Guidelines

Babies under 1 year should …

  • Be encouraged to be physically active throughout the day, every day including crawling.
  • Not yet crawling encourage them to be physically active through reaching and grasping, pushing and pulling, moving their head, body and limbs.
  • Don’t forget about the importance of 30 minutes of ‘tummy time’ when they’re awake, spread throughout the day.

Toddlers (aged 1-2) should …

  • Be physically active throughout the day, every day for at least 180 minutes (3 hours).
  • 180 minutes can include both light activity such as playing through to more energetic activities such as running and jumping.
  • Remember active play and outdoors play too – all good ways to get toddlers moving.

Pre-schoolers (aged 3-4) should …

Be as physically active as toddlers but in addition make sure that 60 minutes of the recommended total 180 minutes is spent doing moderate and vigorous physical activity.

So how can Active Start help?

What is Active Start?

Active Start was developed by Active Cumbria as an early years programme for children up to the age of 7. It is a programme created to inspire and increase activity levels in the early years through activity and active play. It helps children to be healthy, to learn and be active for life. It does this by supporting practitioners, teachers and families to be active together more often, strengthening physical literacy and the readiness to learn.

Active Start in North Yorkshire

Created to inspire and increase activity levels, we are excited to be working with Active Cumbria to deliver this programme to support practitioners to help children within settings develop a wide movement vocabulary to support their overall physical, cognitive, social and emotional development.

You can see the Active Cumbria site here, which includes an evaluation of their work.

Whether you work in a private, voluntary or independent nursery or a school or childrens centre, this programme is for you. You will access a practical training session and resource pack (resources have been created to support delivery of the EYFS and the National Primary Curriculum through physical activity enabling children to develop a wide and varied movement vocabulary).

Did you know?

  • Nationally only 9% of boys and 10% of girls aged between 2 – 4 years achieve the recommended physical activity guidelines for children aged Under 5.
  • It is further outlined that 85% of boys and 83% of girls are classified as having low activity levels i.e. less than 60 minutes per day
  • Physical activity is essential during the early years of a child’s life as it helps not only with their physical development but also helps them to develop their social and emotional skills. 80% of brain development also takes place by the age of 3 which is fully supported by Physical Activity.
  • Children who learn to be active when they are younger are more likely to continue taking part in sport and physical activity when they are an adult.

What can you do?

We are working to plan how Active Start is successfully delivered across the area and sustained beyond the first funded year. To ensure the success long term, we will have our own workforce of trainers to deliver the Active Start training. Funded places and resources will be available to settings in North Yorkshire where they have children 0-4 years old.

Our first training session was held on 9th October in Harrogate. To get more information, please fill in the form below.

If you work in an early years setting or would like to chat more about the ‘train the trainer’ training, please complete the expression of interest form below:


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