Move more. Sit less. Play together.
The four UK Chief Medical Officers recently published an infographic presenting the early years physical activity guidelines as a visual resource for practitioners to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity for the early years (birth to 5). We welcome the infographic following the launch of our manifesto The Best Start in Life, which calls on policy makers to raise awareness of the physical activity guidelines among health and education professionals and families. This infographic is the first step to awareness raising and now we need your help to share the important message.
In this blog we will explore how to use and share the infographic with parents/carers, children and people working with under-fives. We all have a role to play to raise awareness of the physical activity guidelines and this infographic is a useful tool to help. Here are some ideas that you can try:
- use the power of social media to spread the message
- display the infographic in public spaces that parents/carers and children visit frequently (make sure you have permission to do this)
- make a physical activity display on notice boards around childcare settings
- hand it out to parents during any contact
- share it on your website.
Ideas for using the infographic with children
While much of the campaign is about raising awareness among parents and health professionals, some elements can be used when working directly with children.
One idea is to use the activities and their associated icons to create a sticker chart. Children can aim to do every activity on the card over a period of time and place a sticker on the icon when they have done that activity. Alternatively, children could keep a diary and draw themselves doing the activities once they have completed them.
While doing each activity, talk to them about the benefits of being active using simple language, eg, riding this bike will help build strong muscles/being active helps us learn/going for a walk is important to keep your body healthy.
Ideas for early years practitioners
Early years practitioners are perfectly placed to share the infographic with parents. One very simple idea is printing copies and handing them out during drop off/pick up, stay and play sessions or parents evenings. To make it more interactive think about giving the infographic to parents as part of a ‘take home bag’, which includes a variety of small equipment and activity ideas for them to try at home. You could also pin up the infographic as part of a physical activity display alongside pictures of the children taking part in the activities on the infographic. The display could also include information signposting parents to local opportunities for activities, eg, local parks, swimming pools or activity sessions.
The infographic can be used to raise awareness among staff in childcare settings of the importance of physical activity. A CPD session for staff based on the infographic is a good way to engage staff to help them realise how and why they should prioritise physical activity.
Ideas for health visitors
Health visitors can make every contact with parents count by taking each opportunity to talk to them about physical activity. Sharing the infographic by displaying it as a poster in settings or giving parents copies during appointments are great ways to draw attention to it and spark conversations around physically active play and its role in the development of the whole child. Health visitors are also ideally placed to use the infographic to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity for under-fives with the other health professionals they work with, such as GPs and nursery nurses.
Ideas for children’s centres
Think about sessions that are already on offer and whether activities from the infographic can be incorporated to make them more active, eg, turning an arts and crafts session into a messy play session or adding dancing to a nursery rhyme session.
Ideas for local authorities
Local authorities have a huge network of contacts presenting unrivalled access to people working with the early years in schools, nurseries or children’s centres. Providing copies to all of these contacts will go a long way to share the infographic. Local authorities have responsibility for settings that young children and their parents/carers visit regularly, eg, playgrounds, swimming pools and parks which are prominent places that could display the infographic for all visitors to see.
While none of the ideas above are revolutionary, raising awareness of the infographic is all about sharing the content as far and wide as possible to ensure it is seen, acknowledged and used by as many people as possible.
This infographic is part of a series released by the Chief Medical Officers. Two additional infographics are available for adults/older adults and children visually demonstrating the physical activity guidelines for these age groups.