Fun and Fitness at Footsteps
Physical Activity in Early Years Settings
Daily activity is important for children as it supports healthy growth and development. Physical activity needs to be incorporated from very early on, so that it becomes part of children’s normal everyday routine. Trends show that if this happens, children are more likely to be physically active adults and to maintain this throughout their life. At Footsteps we ensure that physical activity is incorporated into our daily routine, and by doing so, provide many health benefits for children including:
- increased muscle and bone strength
- maintaining a healthy weight
- better quality sleep
- builds relationships and social skills
- contributes to brain development and learning
Step by Step
At Footsteps we set ourselves high standards for physical development and ensure that we are providing opportunities for young children to be able to be both active and interactive. We plan age appropriate activities across the week, gradually building on skills and experiences to create confidence in all the children.
By creating games and providing opportunities for play both indoors and outdoors we can support children to develop their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility. By developing these gross motor skills, we can provide the foundation for developing healthy bodies and social and emotional well-being. Opportunities for fine motor control and precision also helps with hand-eye co-ordination, numeracy and literacy.
It is important for our staff to act as role models, as children learn by watching what you do. We love to get creative and plan exciting activities for the children in our settings – the more fun and imaginative the better! We show children that we enjoy and value activity by taking part ourselves. We praise and encourage children when they are taking part in an activity – particularly if they are learning a new skill and we are positive with our feedback. If they enjoy the experience they’ll keep taking part!
Types of activity
Our Forest School ethos and sites with access to large open spaces means we are never short of opportunities to get active! We also take time to ensure that children understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
At Footsteps we use lots of different activities to promote a healthy attitude to physical activity. Some of these might include:
- Running in the garden/outdoor space or in the park
- Gardening together, bug bunting or collecting objects
- Set up games that involve chasing or include an obstacle course
- External sports providers for activities such as Playball or tennis
- Energetic play, e.g. climbing frame, slides or riding a bike
- Story Books/Rhyme Time/Singing where staff can model the poses for children to copy, give verbal instructions or use props for visual clues
- Dress up and play acting
- Helping with tasks such as putting toys away or helping to set-up and clear away at mealtimes
- Fine motor skills development through varied opportunities to explore and play with small world activities, puzzles, arts and crafts and using small tools
Most importantly though we value child-led learning when it comes to physical activity too. We ask children what activities they enjoy and encourage them to follow their interests to make activity fun regardless of their level of ability.