Project PLaY: Physical Literacy in the early Years
Yearly reports emphasize low physical activity (PA) rates in preschool children and fundamental movement skill (FMS) development has been deemed an effective way to increase PA. While previous research suggests play alone is unable to improve FMS, methodological shortcomings led to the question of whether “free-play” groups were incorporating sufficient movement into their play to improve FMS. This study examined the effectiveness of an 8-week structured play-based intervention, a structured skill-based instructive technique and a free-play control of equal duration on FMS development in preschool aged children. Both interventions showed statistically significant improvements in FMS ability while no improvements were found in the free-play control group. The structured play approach was easier to implement, adapted well to altering participant numbers, and required less personnel to complete. These findings highlight the use of structured play programs as a beneficial and manageable approach to movement development in preschool children.