Knowing More About Physical Activity

What is Physical Activity?

Any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure


Need for Physical Activity:

  • In order for children to develop gross motor skills, they need to engage in multiple forms of physical activity
  • North Carolina has the 23rd highest childhood obesity rate in the nation.
  • Nearly one out of three (32%) children ages 2-4 who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) in North Carolina is overweight or obese.
  • 38 % of children under age 10 North Carolina spend at least two hours in front of a screen (watching TV, videos, or DVDs or playing video games, computer games or using the Internet) on a typical day


Reference: Eat Smart Move More NC’s Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity: Quick Facts.


What types of Physical Activity? 

  • Kids need both structured (adult-led) and unstructured (free play) physical activity every day

           1 year-old and 2 year-olds: at least 3 hours (spread throughout the day)

           3 year-olds: 30 minutes of structured (i.e. adult-led) and 60 minutes of unstructured (i.e. free play)

           4 and 5 year-olds: 60 minutes of structured (i.e. adult-led) and 60 minutes of unstructured (i.e. free play)


  • Activity that help kids learn the fundamental motor skills which include: 

            Locomotor skills or moving their bodies from place to place (i.e. running, hopping, skipping, etc.)                     

            Non-locomotor skills or moving their bodies in place (i.e. twisting, bending, stretching, etc.)

            Manipulative - moving or using an object (i.e. throwing, catching, dribbling, etc.)


  • Moderate to Vigorous Physical activity, which is any activity that get your child's heart rate elevate and make them breathe a little heavier.



  • Builds strong hearts, muscles and bones
  • Develops fundamental motor skills
  • Improves thinking skills
  • Encourages self-esteem and confidence      
  • Develops emotional skills
  • Decreases risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood
  • Decreases risk of developing type 1 disease in childhood and adulthood
  • Learn that physical activity can be FUN!
  • Increase competency in movement
  • Feel good

AND when you play with your child, you move your body, too, so you get your daily physical activity as well, you both benefit!!


  • Preservice Teachers Learn to Use Be Active Kids in Limited Spaces

    I really enjoyed our class meeting. It was interesting to discover that you can do just about anything with children in the classroom where there may not be much space to encourage them to be active.  A change that I will make in my own life is to be more active, as well as my daughter. I will share this information with my friends that have children such as yoga animals, or Simon Says.

    Cathy Sesta, Parent & Child Care Provider
  • Early Childhood Physical Activity Institute

    Thank you for inviting me to be part of this year’s Institute. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the experience. You’re doing amazing work and I hope I’ll be able to continue contributing to it a bunch in the future.

    Rae Pica,
  • Plenty of Resources That I Can Use and Share

    This class was informative, and I look forward to being physically active with young children. On Friday, I volunteered at a Parents Night Out through my daughter's school. When I got there the kids were watching a movie. I got them up to play Simon Says and Red Light Green Light, however, after that I was stuck on what to do. I wish I had the knowledge I gained from this class, to have made it more exciting.

    I enjoyed your Land and Lake Activity.

    Venessa Wright, Parent & Child Care Provider
  • Be Active Kids Trainers Rock!

    I loved the training.  I would have loved it more if I had the other teachers from my center there also.  I am really looking forward to taking my kit to work and sharing it with my staff.  I liked Brittney, she reminded me of myself as far as being very active and motivated.  When I am at work with my little ones we stay busy all day.  I feel like singing my instructions and dancing my actions helps them to focus better on what I need for them to do.  Britney was great and I learned a lot from her. I am always trying to find new little ways to get the kids moving.

    Tiffany Daniel, Sandhill Community College

    The Early Childhood Physical Activity Institute was just wonderful!  Thank you again for including me in such an important effort to create and sustain leaders in EC physical activity. I would love to return to NC anytime that you think I can help. I enjoyed meeting the folks who work with you and hearing about all of the great things that are planned. 

    Linda Carson, Choosy Kids
  • Be Active Kids has Much to Offer

    Congratulations to you and everyone who has been promoting PA for young
    children in NC. You have much to be proud of here. Be Active Kids is an excellent source of ideas for promoting active play in unstructured settings. The Be Active Kids website also has resources on promoting unstructured active play. I encourage folks to review these resources. 

    Diane Craft, SUNY Cortland & Active Play Books