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Movement: School-age Children

November 30, 2014 by HealthyFamilies BC

Dad helping girl fasten bike helmet


In the elementary school years your child will enjoy testing out her physical abilities. She’ll build a lot of self-esteem from new physical achievements too. Here are play ideas to encourage her to keep moving.

Daily movement for school kids: why it’s important

Children need lots of movement and physical activity every day.

Movement is vital for health and wellbeing. It’s also an important part of how children learn and develop physical, social and thinking skills. And it’s a lot of fun too!

There are adapted versions of sports like baseball, volleyball and tennis, which many kids like. But if your child doesn’t like sport, that’s OK. Physical activity can be skipping, walking, running, swimming – even helping with household chores and gardening.

What to expect: school kids and movement

The more opportunities for physical activity and movement your child has, the more your child will be able to do.

Between the ages of five and eight years, your child will probably:

  • be able to ride a two-wheeler bike
  • like to climb and swim
  • be able to throw and catch a ball
  • start to enjoy organised games and team sports.

At this age your child might want to try new activities such as cycling, skateboarding and rollerblading. Just make sure he’s wearing the right safety gear including a helmet, wrist pads and knee pads.

Play ideas to keep kids moving

Children enjoy shared family activities. Walking together to and from school is a great chance for physical activity and talking together.

Kicking a ball around in the local park, or putting on some music and dancing together, are examples of fun active play that you can enjoy with your child.

Screen time

A healthy family lifestyle includes limits on daily screen time, because children are generally physically inactive during screen time. Children aged 5-18 years should have no more than two hours of screen time a day.

Children who have lots of screen time are more likely to have a range of health and learning problems. Too much screen time and not enough physical activity can negatively affect a child’s academic success, social skills, sleep patterns and healthy weight.

© Raising Children Network Limited, reproduced with permission.

Resources & Links:

HealthLink BC: Physical Activity for Children and Teens  
HealthLink BC: Fitness: Getting and Staying Active  
Physical Activity Line  
Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology: Physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines
Childhood Obesity Foundation


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