LAST week, we discussed Long-term Athletic Development starting with Active Start, the phase for children from ages six below. At this stage, children must be involved in daily unstructured physical activity as well as interaction with different children.

The next phase for Long-term Athletic Development is called ‘Fun’damentals. Participants develop fundamental movement skills in structured and unstructured environments for play. 

The focus is on providing fun, inclusive, multisport and developmentally appropriate sport and physical activity. These experiences will result in the participant developing a wide range of movement skill along with the confidence and desire to participate.

Parents need to remember:

Children must target 180 minutes of activity per day, with 60 of those minutes spent in vigorous physical activity. This is more than what children typically spend moving these days.

Activities should include significant time for repetition, require minimal correction allowing children to safely test their own limits and improve their abilities through experience.

Activities should be helping children build confidence and competence as they engage in physical activity.

Emphasize the overall development of the child’s physical capacities, fundamental movement skills and the ABC’S of athleticism: Agility, Balance, Coordination and Speed.

Develop skills by exposing participants to a variety of environments—indoors and outdoors, on land and on water.

Expose children to a mixture of structured and unstructured play, with some instruction.

If you get the flow of this, at an early age, children need play and a lot of play. Playtime that’s unstructured, with minimal supervision, can reap benefits for health in the long run. Clearly, children need to move more, and we as parents must find avenues to increase playtime. This could include better physical education, coaching, bringing children to open spaces where they can run around, more hikes—the limitations on us parents are endless.