Physical Activity

How Much Physical Activity?

Boy on a BikeYour preschooler loves to move! 

Encourage your preschooler to play actively several times every day.  Preschoolers' activity may happen in short bursts of time and not be all at once. 

Physical activity does not always have to be led by adults. 

  • Free play is unstructured physical activity that is chosen by the child.  For example, preschoolers are engaging in free play when they play on the playground, play tag with friends, or pretend to be wild animals.
  • Adult-led activities are structured to have a purpose, such as encouraging flexibility, focusing on strength, or concentrating on endurance.

Boy TumblingDo you wonder if your preschooler is getting enough physical activity?

Ask yourself the following questions as a general guide:

  • Does your preschooler play outside several times a day or in a room inside where they are free to run around? 
  • Does your preschooler watch less than 2 hours of TV daily (including all screen time)?
  • Do you make sure that your preschooler doesn't sit for more than 60 minutes at one time?
  • When actively playing is your preschooler breathing quickly and/or sweating? 

If you can usually answer yes to these questions, your preschooler is probably getting enough physical activity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website provides more information about physical activity for children.