Physical Literacy

Children are born with the capacity to move, but not the skills! Just as learning the alphabet is a step in learning to read, the development of  fundamental movement skills are steps towards an active life.  These skills include learning to hop, jump, throw, catch and more!  

Children who are given daily opportunities to actively play are more likely to develop these skills!  And they need your help as parents and providers to learn these skills and guide them on their journey to becoming physically literate. 

"Physical literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life." - The International Physical Literacy Association, May 2014

Children who are physically literate are more likely to stay in motion throughout their life!  When kids do not have physical literacy, they may report a lack of interest, skills, confidence or motivation as barriers to being active.


Profressional Development Sessions 

If you are interested in learning more about Physical Literacy, you may wish to access the following videos. On March 9, 2016 the County of Middlesex Healthy Kids Community Challenge held an event in Komoka that attracted close to 150 leaders from across the County and across sectors.   We brought in some experts in the field of physical literacy and physical activity in the early years, including Drew Mitchell from Canadian Sport for Life, Dr. Dawne Clark from Mount Royal University and Dr Trish Tucker from Western University.  We had the event recorded as part of our sustainability plan. 


Move 2 Learn

Move 2 Learn is a program to support children 2 to 6 years in developing fundamental motor skills (physical literacy), fine motor and pre-literacy skills! It is an evidence-based program designed by researchers in the Infant and Child Health Laboratory (INCH Lab) from McMaster University. The program is a series of ten, one-hour sessions that consist of three components:

  • Direct fundamental movement skill instruction - each week focus on a specific motor skill (e.g. kicking, catching etc.)
  • Unstructured exploratory free-play - an opportunity for children to freely practice newly learned skills and begin to develop fine motor skills as they manipulate smaller play items like puzzle pieces
  • Interactive storybook reading activity - each week one book will be used to develop one to two pre-literacy skills. 

Parents receive activity handouts at the end of each session that outline how to do the activities at home.

Between April 2016 and July 2016 4 sites across the County piloted the program.  We are currently evaluating the program and hope to expand sites in the fall of 2016! Below are videos capturing pictures from 2 of the 4 sites. 

  • Strathroy (coming soon)
  • Thorndale (coming soon)

Interested in participating in the program or being  a pilot site? Email

Strathroy Graduating Class


Physical Literacy Resources for Parents 

Fun play ideas that can foster physical literacy! 

9 fun ways a simple hacky sack can be used to develop physical literacy

Make your own hacky sack 


Physical Literacy Resources for Leaders 

A Hop, Skip, and a Jump: Enhancing Physical Literacy: This document is a collection of activities developed at Mount Royal University to promote the development of physical literacy in preschool children. It describes structured physical activities that can be delivered with basic equipment and spaces that most early childhood centres possess. The activities focus on building basic gross motor skills that are important in early childhood development.

Early Learning Resource. This resource from OPHEA was designed to assist kindergarten teachers, early-childhood educators and early-learning teams. Through the Early Learning Resource, children are given the opportunity to develop physical literacy and health literacy skills that will be the foundation for their future learning. This resource will encourage children to establish positive attitudes and an appreciation for lifelong participation in order to lead healthy, active lives.

Educators, caregivers, camp leaders, and after-school program leaders who are looking for additional resources may want to consult the web sites and external links at Active for Life. These websites and organizations also provide excellent activities, lesson plans, and guidance on delivering physical literacy to children.

You may also want to visit Active After School for a collection of resources, videos and tool kits!    


Assessent Tools for Parents 

Parents of children aged seven and up will use PLAYparent to assess the level of physical literacy in their child in an unbiased manner, ideally in combination with PLAYself. From Canadian Sport for Life. 

For more information, parents can refer to the workbook to help score PLAYparent and understand the details of the assessment.


Assessent Tools for Leaders 

My Personal Best program is an online tool to monitor physical literacy skills and knowledge, set individual goals and motivate children and youth to achieve their personal best!

Teachers, after-school and recreational leaders use the My Personal Best program to track children’s physical activity skills and progress by completing lessons, activities, sports and games from the Kids 'n Play and PlaySport resources. The program also includes guides to help assess a child’s physical literacy skills, allowing providers to target areas needing improvement. 


Links for More Information on Physical Literacy 



HANDS UP | Part 1 - Introduction to Physical & Health Literacy 

HANDS UP | Part 2 - Exploring Physical & Health Literacy

HANDS UP | Part 3 - Applying Physical & Health Literacy




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