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Physical Activity - Early Years




Physical activity starts in the early years. The 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (0-4 Years) (PDF) recommend a balance of moving, sitting and sleeping for children age 4 and under to encourage healthy growth and development – the whole day matters.1

  • Kids running down hillPhysical Literacy
    Physical literacy is the development of basic movement and sport skills, such as crawling, jumping, swimming and throwing.
  • Mother and babyHealthy Baby Healthy Brain Video Library
    Watch videos and learn about the important role that you play as a parent in the development of your baby’s brain.

Being active can help your young child:

  • Be at a healthy weight
  • Improve movement skills
  • Increase fitness
  • Build a healthy heart
  • Have fun and feel happy
  • Develop self-confidence
  • Improve learning and attention

Additional Information

For more information about the 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years, visit ParticipACTION.



Improve movement skills

Child throwing ball


Any activity you can do safely with your child is good for their healthy growth and development, and building a lifelong love of physical activity. Try to cut down on the time that your baby, toddler or preschooler spends being sedentary (e.g. sitting in an infant seat or playpen) when they are awake.

  • Create a safe place for play
  • Put a blanket on the floor and play with your baby
  • Play music and learn action songs together
  • Dress for the weather and play outdoors
  • Make time to play with other children
  • Get where you’re going by walking or biking
Date of creation: February 28, 2013
Last modified on: February 6, 2018


1Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. (2018). 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (0-4 Years). Retrieved from