WEBActive Character with speech bubble Sep17-3

Being active every day is important for the healthy growth and development of children. It lays the foundation for a healthy and active life. Children can be active through active play, games, organised activities, sports and active travel.

Give children plenty of opportunities to move throughout the day. Children should be active indoors and outdoors and should not be inactive for longer than one hour at a time.

Early childhood services are in a great position to help develop good physical activity habits. Services can also help influence families to be more active. 

Services should offer a range of play-based learning experiences that link to children’s interests and abilities.

 physical  screentime

Physical activity recommendations

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Australian 24 Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (birth to 5 years) 

Being active every day is important for the healthy growth and development of children. These recommendations outline how much physical activity, sleep and screen time children should be having.   

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Tummy time

Provide babies the opportunity to play on their tummy every day for short periods of supervised time. This helps babies develop their movement skills. Starting from birth, tummy time should increase with age and ability. National guidelines recommend at least 30 minutes per day. Tummy time helps babies:

  • Develop their movement skills- rolling, sitting, crawling and standing
  • Learn to lift their head and take weight through their arms
  • Strengthen their neck and back muscles
  • Develop spatial awareness and balance

Educators can support a baby’s development through close interactions during active play and tummy time. They should ensure babies don’t spend significant portions of the day in a seat, swing or highchair.

Educators also have the important role to talk to parents about the importance of tummy time at home. Download the Munch & Move Tummy Time posters and other resources for ideas on how your service can promote tummy time.

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Active play

Toddlers and pre-schoolers should be active for at least 3 hours every day. Munch & Move can help provide ideas on how educators can encourage physical activity for different age groups:

  • ways to include physical activity into your daily routine by making games, story time and transitions active
  • ideas on how to set up your environment to encourage physical activity
  • wet weather and extreme heat ideas
  • types of equipment you might need.

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Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS)

FMS are a specific set of gross motor skills that involve different body parts. These skills are the building blocks for more complex skills that children will learn throughout their lives. They help children take part in games, sports and recreational activities.

Children need to be taught how to perform FMS as part of their growth and development. Educators should provide children with intentional opportunities to practice these skills. Introduce FMS skills early through play and exploration. This will make it more likely that children will engage in physical activity throughout their lives.

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Having a service policy that reflects the Munch & Move messages shows your service's commitment to Munch & Move and the Australian 24 Hour Movement Guidelines.

Your Support Officer can assist your service to develop or review policies. We have sample policies that includes all the key elements. Download the sample policies to use as is or adjust it to reflect your service’s practices.

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We offer a range of free training options for educators working in centre-based early childhood services and Family Day Care in western Sydney.

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Role modelling

Physical activity is an important part of being healthy, especially for children. Educators can role model physical activity behaviours by:

  • participating to the best of their own ability in outdoor play with the children
  • demonstrating fundamental movement skills
  • dancing in music and movement
  • stretching
  • leading organised games.

This encourages participation and creates a supportive environment for physical activity in care.

Services should include information about role modelling physical activity behaviours their relevant policies.

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Move case studies

Check out these ideas from other services on how to put in place Munch & Move at your service.

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Move resources

We have a range of resources to help support physical activity at your services. The resources include:

  • indoor and outdoor game ideas
  • fundamental movement skills teaching and support
  • ideas to encourage active play
  • policy templates
  • ideas on embedding physical activity into your daily routines.

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NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (SPANS) 2015

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