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Physical activity is high on the agenda of schools as they look to ensure children the engagement of all pupils in regular physical activity by meeting the Chief Medical Officer guidelines recommend that primary school children undertake at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day in school.

With this in mind we thought it would be interesting and helpful to take a look at the top five types of activities that children take part in by age group.

1. Active play and informal activity is the most popular type of activity that children take part in across all school years with

  • 79% of children taking part from school years 1-2 (ages 5-7).
  • 65% of children taking part from school years 3-4 (ages 7-9)

  • 70% of children taking part from school years 5-6 (ages 9-11)

2. In second place we see a slight difference in popularity with walking to school and other places the secure second spot for children in school years 1-2, whereas team sports take second spot for school years 3-6.

  • 73% of children in school years 1-2 (ages 5-7), walk to school and other places
  • 60% of children taking in school years 3-4 (ages 7-9), take part in team sports

  • 65% of children taking part in school years 5-6 (ages 9-11), take part in team sports

3. In third place swimming activities prove popular for children in school years 1-2, whereas running, athletics or multi sports takes third place for children in school years 3-6.

  • 53% of children in school years 1-2 (ages 5-7), take part in swimming activities
  • 39% of children taking in school years 3-4 (ages 7-9), take part in running, athletics or multi sports

  • 41% of children taking part in school years 5-6 (ages 9-11), take part in running, athletics or multi sports

4. In fourth place going on walks is popular for school years 1-2 , whereas gymnastics, trampolining or cheerleading takes fourth place for children in school years 3-6.

  • 47% of children in school years 1-2 (ages 5-7), go on walks
  • 37% of children taking in school years 3-4 (ages 7-9), take part in gymnastics, trampolining or cheerleading

  • 37% of children taking part in school years 5-6 (ages 9-11), take part in gymnastics, trampolining or cheerleading

5. Gymnastics, trampolining or cheerleading takes fifth place for school years 1-2 , whereas dance takes fifth place for children in school years 3-6.

  • 41% of children in school years 1-2 (ages 5-7), take part in gymnastics, trampolining or cheerleading
  • 34% of children taking in school years 3-4 (ages 7-9), take part in dance

  • 30% of children taking part in school years 5-6 (ages 9-11), take part in dance

The top 10 types of physical activity that primary aged children take part in is visable in the infographic next to the article. All data was taken from the latest Active Lives Survey that can be found here.

Read more articles
Physical Activity Levels in Schools

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