Physical Literacy for an Active Life
Being physically active with your family is very important! Not only is it showing your children that being active is important to you, but it is also helping even the youngest children develop their physical literacy. Just like we teach children to read, write or socialize, we must also teach them how to be physically active and how to develop fundamental motor skills and movement concepts.
Oftentimes, adults think children are born knowing how to play and be active; however, that is not always the case. It's our responsibility to provide children with the opportunity to play and be physically active in many different environments and with many different materials. By doing this, we are providing them with the tools they need to live an active life!
Physical literacy, a new term to many of us, is when individuals have the knowledge, skills, confidence and competence to enjoy a lifetime of healthy physical activity. Physical literacy begins in infancy when parents provide the opportunity for the baby to move, and it develops through unstructured and structured play. This process continues throughout childhood with the introduction of new activities and materials.
As the child gets older he or she gains greater knowledge and builds better fundamental motor skills. As time goes on, children add more and more complex skills and knowledge to their “toolbox." The development of physical literacy is gradual and continues throughout one’s life.
Here are some tips to help your child develop physical literacy:
- Let children participate in activities they enjoy and that are appropriate for their age.
- Allow children time for free play.
- Provide equipment and supplies that encourages physical activity.
- Talk about being active.
- Have family activity time.
For more information about physical literacy, check out ActiveForLife.com.
Evie Houtz, the program specialist for Be Active Kids, serves as the Fit Family Challenge spotlight families' fitness instructor.