Youth Physical Activity

Explore Physical Activity for Youth

Physical activity in play is critical for healthy lifestyles and the development of the mind, body, and spirit. Communities are seeking valid ways to address the dramatic rise in childhood obesity and combat sedentary lifestyles in new, exciting ways. Now, an exciting program provides a way for schools, programmers, and children to take PE to the playground, offering schools and parks a new way to benefit from their playground investment, and children a brand new, fun way to engage in physical activity.

Research shows active children are active adults

Research indicates that children engaged in regular, healthy physical activity are more likely to continue an active lifestyle as adults. By providing evidence-based programs and well-designed outdoor play environments that intentionally promote fitness and physical activity, schools, parks, and activity centers can create more available opportunities for children to engage and have access to active play. Playgrounds not only promote gross motor development, but they improve critical thinking and problem solving skills, increase attention to lessons, and provide opportunities for creativity, social interaction, and overall physical fitness. It is critical for professionals to advocate for play initiatives and effectively communicate how investing in play results in healthy community outcomes.

Program: Partnering with the experts

Through a partnership with SHAPE America, the organization that developed the National Standards & Grade-Level Outcomes for K-12 Physical Education, Play On!® was created to promote physical fitness and fun through the use of well-designed play environments and creative playground learning activities. The National Standards define what a student should know and be able to do as result of a highly effective physical education program. States and local school districts across the country use the National Standards to develop or revise existing standards, frameworks and curricula. Play On! provides exercise solutions that align to these standards, which are centered on the playground. Because the activities are fun, children of all abilities enjoy physical education through play on, to them it is simply play.

Conclusive evidence

Play-On_Cover.jpg#asset:6176The Play On! program assists schools and communities in maximizing their playground investment, and children observed as part of an objective analysis of Play On! at several schools enjoyed a greater level of physical activity than comparable physical education classes, because all of the children stayed active for the entire class period.

The analysis also showed the following:

  • 91% of teachers reported that playground use increased
  • 90% of teachers plan to use the program in the future
  • 100% rated the program 4-5 on a 5 point scale
  • 25% of parents participated in more family activity after the Play On! program was initiated
  • 100% of students reported having fun engaging in the activities
  • 90-100% of teachers reported that Play On! motivated students to participate in regular, enjoyable, physical activity in a safe and supervised environment.


Active Play
Climbing Walls


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