Pre-K physical activity recommendations: Here's what you need to know

Here's how to raise a healthy, physically active preschooler.
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Engaging in regular physical activity is especially important for young children, as it helps build strength and develop healthy bodies and can even enhance academic performance. Here are some physical activity recommendations for your preschooler.

Physical activity

Benefits

The benefits to your child of physical activity can include:

  • Improved development of gross and fine motor skills
  • Increased self-sufficiency and confidence
  • Improvements in learning
  • Better sleep
  • Weight management
  • Improved social skills
  • Decreased time spent watching TV or playing with computers
  • Decreased risk for chronic diseases later in life

Unstructured physical activity

Pre-kindergartners should be engaged in unstructured physical activity for at least one hour each day.This should include a range of activities, from vigorous exercise, such as running around playing tag, to more moderate aerobic activity, such as walking or using a swing. Children this age are usually naturally energetic and active. Many of the activities they enjoy most, such as outdoor play, help them to get the recommended amounts of daily physical activity.

Inactivity

Children should avoid extended periods of inactivity during the day and should be sedentary for no more than an hour or so at a time.The amount of time they are allowed to spend in front of the television or computer screen should be limited accordingly.

Basic motor skills

Your pre-kindergartner is still developing basic motor skills, such as learning to run, jump, throw, and catch effectively.Physical activities at this age should include games and sports that focus on developing these fundamental skills through play, rather than competition.

Learn more about keeping your preschooler healthy with our pre-K physical health tips and physical development pages.

Parent Toolkit resources were developed by NBC News Learn with the help of subject-matter experts, including Dr. Natasha Burgert, Pediatrician, Pediatric Associates and Dr. Jayne Greenberg, District Director, Miami-Dade County Public Schools.