Physical literacy: what it is and how to help your kids develop it

The words Physical Literacy are in the news a lot, but do you understand what the term really means?

If you’re a parent, odds are that you enjoyed a more active childhood than your own kids do today. As kids, we played outside at every opportunity and did so much jumping, running, throwing, catching, and game-playing, that we’d fall into bed exhausted… but happily so.

We never for a moment stopped to consider that all of our activity was helping us build physical literacy – and neither did our parents. The term ‘physical literacy,’ often used today, sounds complicated, but isn’t. Still, it has many parents mystified.

What is Physical Literacy? 

Physical literacy is actually quite a simple concept. It’s about developing necessary movement skills in kids in order to give them the confidence to participate in active play, games and sports throughout life.

We acquired these fundamental movement skills in large part through active outdoor play – at the park, playing with friends and siblings, in physical education class, on community-based teams, and even by powering ourselves to school and around our neighbourhoods. Acquiring these skills and building upon them, is what gave us the confidence to play baseball, tennis, to participate in organized games like tag, and to make physical activity and exercise part of our adults lives. Even at this stage of life, with two teen daughters, I have the confidence and physical ability to challenge myself with new activities – things like climbing, snowboarding, and hip-hop dance.

Read the rest of my feature on the IronKids website!

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