Family And Parenting

Physical Activity Recommendations for Elementary-Age Kids

Remember that monitoring the amount of physical activity your elementary-age kid gets is just as important as watching all of the other aspects of their health and well-being.

Most of us are constantly obsessing over our kid’s health. We try to plan healthy meals and make sure they protect their skin when they go outside. If they are sick, we call their doctors and make appointments, pulling them out of school. 

When we think about our kids getting enough physical activity for their age, most of us probably think, “Of course, they are getting enough exercise! They’re kids! They have (what seems like) endless energy all day until their head hits the pillow.”

However, monitoring the amount of physical activity your elementary-age child has is just as important as tracking the type of foods they eat, the amounts of sugar they consume, and the number of times they wash their hands throughout the day. 

How Much Physical Activity Should Your Child Get? 

The CDC has different recommendations for levels of physical activity based on age group. Since some kids start kindergarten at five years old, we will give you information based on two different age groups. 

Elementary age is considered to be from the age of five to twelve. The CDC has different recommendations for ages three to five and for six to eighteen. We wanted to include the CDC’s recommendations for each age group. 

Three to five year olds have different physical activity needs than older kids. The CDC recommends spreading their physical activity throughout the day. This is one of the reasons that preschools and kindergarten have frequent outdoor breaks for the students. 

It is not healthy for this age group to sit around all day. They should be engaging in physical activity multiple times a day. 

For kids ranging from six through teen years, the CDC recommends that they engage in sixty minutes of physical activity a day. 

What Kind of Exercise Should My Child Participate In? 

Now comes the most crucial question. What kinds of physical activity should our kids participate in? For younger children, it is essential they participate in physical activities appropriate for their growing and developing bodies. 

We want to make sure our children aren’t just staying active but doing things that will help strengthen their bodies to develop appropriately. 

Appropriate Physical Activity for 5-Year-Olds 

Rather than having your child partake in organized sports, it can be more beneficial developmentally to work on individual skill sets. You can incorporate some of the activities your child would learn how to do if they were playing sports. 

Some examples include playing catch, batting off of a tee, kicking a ball back and forth. You can also encourage your child to play running games. This is an excellent way for them to burn off energy and stay healthy. 

In the summer, try swimming with your child. You can use floaties or paddleboards and encourage them to kick their legs and arms for great physical activity. Remember, always supervise your child near swimming pools. 

Keep in mind that when your child turns six you will need to alter their daily physical activity routines per the CDC guidelines for that age group. 

Appropriate Physical Activity for 6+ 

For kids six and above, the CDC recommends that they engage in more intense exercise than younger age groups. They say that the types of exercises for this age group should include physical activities specifically targeting muscle building and bone strengthening. 

Some activities that you can incorporate into your elementary-age student’s physical activity routine include signing them up for different sports or activities. It is great to let your child try out different things and let them experiment to find out what they like the best. 

Depending on your child’s interests, you can sign them up for gymnastics, dance classes, basketball, baseball, soccer, etc. Don’t underestimate other types of physical activities either. Rock climbing, swimming, running, and other activities are also great for kids in this age group. 

These activities are also great ways for your family to spend time together if you participate together, or for your kids to make friends their age!

Final Thoughts 

Remember that monitoring the amount of physical activity your elementary-age kid gets is just as important as watching all of the other aspects of their health and well-being. 

Giving your kids the resources and guiding them to participate in age-appropriate physical activities will also help instill positive exercise habits for life. You can spend time engaging with your children in fun, interactive physical activities to motivate them to get active too! 

Try some of these activities with your kids. Make paying attention to their level of physical activity just as important as all of their other daily habits! 

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Physical Activity Recommendations for Middle Schoolers