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photograph of a person writing a list of strategies for reducing sedentary time and creating active spaces for children (e.g. remove chairs, munch and move, education, yoga etc.)

Creating active spaces

There are many ways to create environments that increase children’s activity levels.

The following photographs of an early childcare centre show practical ways to create indoor and outdoor environments that promote physical activity for children.

Active Story time:

Instead of having children sit down during reading time try reading through a story with them while standing and participating in actions that recreate the movements in the story. This photograph shows a teacher reading “I’m going on a bear hunt” and encouraging children to move during the story. photograph of an educator reading to children while standing up and moving (Click to expand)

Chair-free table top time:

If you set up activity on table tops and remove chairs children are more likely to stand when playing and move around the table during an activity. photograph of a table of play doh in an early childcare centre that has no chairs (Click to expand)

photograph of a bench of toys in an early childcare centre that has no chairs (Click to expand)

Obstacle courses:

Rather than only allow children free play, why not set up an obstacle course or a number of different ‘challenges’ for the children, e.g. “Run over to the wall and give the educator a high five, jump back to another educator and crawl through her legs, do three star jumps, run around the tree and come back and give me a high five”. A photograph of outdoor obstacle courses at an early childcare centre (Click to expand)

Hang activities

Why not hang objects or create horizontal music or painting walls so that children have to stand and move when playing with them. Photograph of a music wall of hanging instruments at an early childcare centre (Click to expand)

Photograph of hanging scarfs in a movement "shake shake shake section" of an early childcare centre (Click to expand)

Photograph of an outdoor music hut at an early childcare centre (Click to expand)

Transitions:

Encourage jumping or hopping to the next activity

outdoor activities and tunnels at an early childcare centre (Click to expand)

sand pits with raised tables and planks at an early childcare centre (Click to expand)

Share an experience or idea

There are so many ways to increase a child’s activity levels by changing something in their indoor or outdoor environment.

Conversation starter

  • What are some other ways that you can change an environment to encourage physical activity for children?

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This article is from the free online course:

Preventing Childhood Obesity: an Early Start to Healthy Living

University of Wollongong

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