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Physical Activity Tips for Children



Some kids are on the go all the time, and their parents' biggest challenge is getting them to slow down.

For less active kids, parents need to find creative ways to promote and encourage the movement needed for healthy development.

Here are some tips for fitting physial activities into your children's day - at home, at school, at play and along the way, every day.

Ways to add little bits of activity to each day

Spare time before school - Actively participate in making lunch, or help younger siblings get ready for school

  • Do some body wake-up exercises (push-ups, sit-ups, burpees or stretches)
  • Dance to some music

On the way to school - Be active along the way

  • Walk, ride, scoot, skip or rollerblade to school, with helmet and safety gear.
  • Join a walking school bus or bicycle train.
  • Get dropped off a few blocks from school and walk the rest of the way - with a friend, or group of friends (not alone).
  • If dropped off at school, walk the perimeter of the school or the fields before the bell rings.

During class time - Take a movement break

  • Stretch your arms and legs while sitting at your desk
  • Body presses (with arms extended, press your body weight up off your seat and lower yourself down slowly)
  • Take books back to the library
  • Go pick up notices at the office
  • Squeeze on a stress ball (sponge / rubber)

At recess and lunch - After a healthy snack and lunch, choose to move

  • Skip, play tag, dodgeball, basketball or soccer
  • Participate in intramural activities like dance or floor hockey

On the way home from school - burn extra energy at the end of your school day

  • Walk, ride, scoot or rollerblade (with helmet and safety gear)
  • Join a walking school bus home
  • Get dropped a few blocks from your house and walk the rest of the way

After School, before or after homework is completed...

  • Stay after school for 15 minutes to play on the playground or fields with your friends
  • Take the dog for a walk
  • Take part in sports practice or game
  • Have a friend over to play outside

Dinner Time - Sit down altogether for dinner.  Check in and find out what has happened in everyone's day

  • Help set and clear the table
  • Help prepare the food (i.e. grate cheese, wash lettuce)
  • Dance to tunes as you wash and dry the dishes

Evening - Complete homework, then participate in a scheduled activity

  • Go for an evening walk together as a family
  • If you haven't had an active day, try to fit in one more activity before bed 


Canada's Physical Activity Guide for Children and Youth

Canada's Physical Activity Tip Sheet for children

Last Updated: November 5, 2013