top of page

Resources to Promote Physical Activity in Early Care and Education (ECE)

Check out these resources that are available to promote physical activity in early care and education, shared by our friend Diane Craft, Professor at from the State University of New York - Cortland. Dr. Craft was share her knowledge with NICCA attendees at the 2017 Conference last month. She is the author of the Active Play Books. Learn more here:


Free Resources on Activities, Interventions, and Curricula to Promote Physical Activity in ECE

SNAP-ED TOOLKIT: Obesity Prevention Interventions* (USDA)

Search for evidence-based strategies and interventions focused on promoting healthy eating and physical activity, including populations and settings specific to early childhood and early care and education. Each strategy or intervention included in the toolkit includes an overview, summary of reach and adoption, components, materials needed, a summary of the evidence, evaluation indicators and materials, and contact information. Website:

Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness* (Dept of Defense, Penn State)

Search for physical activity programs that may be used in early care and education settings. The Clearinghouse rates each program based on its level of effectiveness on a scale from effective to ineffective. Each program included in the Clearinghouse includes a summary of the program, description of the evidence, components of the program, where it has been used, training needed, considerations, implementation factors (i.e., time, cost, evaluation plan), and contact information.

Coordinated Approach to Childhood Health Early Childhood (CATCH EC)

CATCH Early Childhood (CEC) is a research tested low cost intervention to improve nutrition physical activity, nutrition, and encourage healthy eating in pre-k children ages 3-5. There are a handful of free physical education activities that are developmentally appropriate and easy for teachers to follow.

Eat Well Play Hard in Childcare Settings and Day Care Homes*

(NY State Department of Health)

An intervention that provides nutrition and physical activity education to preschool children, their parents and child care staff.

Go Smart (National Head Start Association)

Physical activities that can engage 0-5 year olds in physical play each day. Go Smart is website (and also available as a free smartphone app) providers can use by to help facilitate physical activities in a group or one-on-one setting. ECE providers enter the ages, number of children and type of space and the app gives suggestions on games and activities to enhance young children’s physical activity time.

Growing, Moving, Learning: Infant-Toddler Toolkit*

(University of Delaware, Nemours)

This toolkit includes developmentally appropriate activities that promote physical activities and healthy eating for infants and toddlers.

Head Start Body Start (SHAPE America)

MODEL Health Promoting Nutrition and Physical Activity in Children*

(Maryland State Department of Education)

Lessons on nutrition and physical activity that encourage exploration, concrete experiences and links to the children’s families and prior experiences (ages 3-5 years)

Physical Activities and Healthy Snacks for Young Children*

(Iowa Department of Education)

A set of cards featuring over 50 physical activities and healthy snacks. It also integrates lessons about physical activity and healthy food. Website:

PAK (Physical Activity Kit): Staying on the Active Path in Native Communities – A Lifespan Approach, Book #5 Young Children (Indian Health Service, University of New Mexico)

Physical activity ideas that are appropriate for young children.

Sesame Street: Healthy Habits for Life*

Resources to help incorporate healthy physical activity and nutrition habits into everyday life. This resource features poems, songs, posters, activities, and family newsletters, all illustrated with Sesame Street characters.

Structured Active Play Program* (City of Greater Geelong, Australia)

Structured activities to help young children develop balancing, ball, kicking and other skills. Website:


Free Assessment Tools that Address Physical Activity for ECE Providers


The Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC) has been expanded to become Go NAP SACC. GO NAP SACC is a research-tested intervention designed to enhance nutrition and physical activity practices in early care and education programs. ECE providers build healthy eating and physical activity habits in children through online tools to improve their practices, policies and ECE environments in five areas, including physical activity and outdoor learning. Website:

C.H.O.I.C.E. Toolkit & Self-Assessment Questionnaire*

(Contra Costa Child Care Council)

Assessment on how your child care home or center compare with recommended nutrition and physical activity guidelines. Website:

CHLI – Community Healthy Living Index* (YMCA)

A compilation of assessment tools that measures opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating across different settings, including early childhood program. Website:

Georgia Growing Fit Toolkit*

(Georgia Dept of Health, Georgia Dept of Early Learning, HealthMPowers)

A guide for early childcare education programs to assess, develop, and improve their policies around nutrition and physical activity. Website:

Head Start Body Start Play Space Assessment (SHAPE America)

Assesses the quality of outdoor play spaces for children ages 3-5.


Training Opportunities For ECE Providers

Better Kid Care* (Penn State Cooperative Extension)

200+ On Demand professional development modules for early care and education providers. Many states already approve these modules for professional development clock hours. Content for these modules are available at no cost. If a certificate of completion is needed or required, a $5.00 fee is charged.

Select Physical Activity Trainings

Childcare and Youth Training and Technical Assistance Project*

(USDA, Dept of Defense, University of Nebraska Extension, Penn State Extension)

Search for training workshops offered in your state.


SNAP-ED has expanded beyond nutrition education and now promotes obesity-prevention policies, systems, and environmental interventions, which includes physical activity. Identify your state SNAP-ED implementing agency(ies) and ask about any physical activity trainings offered for early care and education providers.

State SNAP-ED Contacts Website:


Free Resources on Physical Activity Best Practices in ECE

Preventing Childhood Obesity in Early Care and Education Programs: Selected Standards from Caring for Our Children National Health and Safety Performance Standards* (AAP, APHA, NRC)

A set of national standards describing evidence-based best practices in nutrition, physical activity, and screen time for early care and education programs

Best Practices for Physical Activity: A Guide to Help Children Grow up Healthy for Organizations Serving Children and Youth (Nemours)

A comprehensive overview of physical activity recommendations for children and youth, as well as useful terms defined, frequently asked questions, family tip sheets, handouts, and creative, but general ideas for engaging children and their families in physical activity. Website:

Active Play Tip Sheets: Nutrition and Wellness Tips for Young Children* (USDA)

Tips sheets for child care providers with four tip sheets devoted to physical activity and screen time reduction. Website:

Active Early: Early Care and Education Wellness Resource Toolbox Resources (Wisconsin Department of Health Services)

The resource kit provides low-cost, no cost strategies and resources to providers, parents, and educators to promote physical activity and nutrition in early childhood

Move More North Carolina: A Guide to Creating Active Outdoor Play Spaces

Recommendations for designing playgrounds and other outdoor play spaces for preschoolers and their caregivers.

Healthy Kids Healthy Futures* (Nemours)

A compilation of resources to address obesity prevention strategies in early care and education.


Model Policies for Early Care and Education

Child Care Wellness Policy Workbook: Creating an Environment for Preschoolers to Develop Healthy Habits for Life* (Nemours)

Child care providers and other early childhood professionals can use this Workbook to develop their own individualized wellness policies. Topics include Nutrition, Physical Activity, Other Program-Based Activities, and Evaluation.

Model Child Care Health Policies*

(Pennsylvania Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics)

This is a tool to foster adoption and implementation of best practices for health and safety in group care settings for young children. These settings include early care and education as well as before- and after-school child care programs. The tool has a section devoted to physical activity and screen time.

*Resource also includes other obesity prevention topics or health topics specific to early care and education.


Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page