National Physical Activity Recommendations

Children love to play and be active!

Being physically active every day is important for the healthy growth and development of infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers. Physical activity for children includes both structured activities and unstructured free play, and can be done indoors or out. The following recommendations made by the Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Health and Ageing (2010) are for children who haven’t started school yet.

Active Play Ideas

  • Children will love running and playing with streamers made from colourful ribbons or scarves, hoops and balloons.
  • Catching and hitting games using a variety of objects and balls – you may like to try bubbles, bean bags and a range of balls of differing sizes.
  • Create an obstacle course using items from around the house – try boxes, sheets, chairs and tables – kids will love exploring under, over, through and around the course that you create.
  • Encourage jumping games – make an imaginary river using a rope, or an imaginary log using a pillow for children to jump over.
  • Digging and building in the sand, either at the beach or in a sand pit.
  • Children can help in the garden, maybe even create a small garden (in pots is fine if you have limited space) for children to tend and care for – digging holes for plants and carrying water cans are great ways to be active.
  • Playgrounds offer a wide variety of experiences for children to be active – climbing, swings and slides are great opportunities for active play.
  • Playing with pets is fun way to get kids moving.


Television Viewing

These tips may help to develop positive TV viewing habits with your child:

  • Set viewing time and content limitations for children – encourage your child to have an active role in selecting what TV programs they wish to view within these limitations.
  • Avoid TV during times of the day when kids could be outside engaging in active play and exploration – if necessary record programs so they can be viewed at a more suitable time.
  • Try to have TV-free meal times – allowing time for family conversation and interaction.
  • Make your children’s bedroom screen free zones.
  • Try to supervise your child during their TV watching and other electronic media use – parental involvement has been shown to have a positive impact on the educational value of these activities.
  • Turn the TV off when the scheduled program is finished – having the TV on in the background can distract children while they are playing or interacting with others.
  • Be prepared with active play alternatives when the kids want to turn on the TV.


For more information:

Tips and ideas for children aged 0 - 5 years

Tips and ideas for children aged 6 - 12 years

Tips and ideas for families