Physical Activities

Physical Literacy in Summer Camps

Physical Literacy is having the skills, confidence, and motivation to enjoy a variety of sports and physical activities that develop the whole person. When you put quality into your programming, you give kids all the chances to be active for life.


A young person who knows and understands the benefits of active living will be more aware of being physically active for the rest of his or her life.

Here are a few tips:

➜ Give visual examples to explain a movement or physical activity;

➜ Work individually with kids who have difficulties and try to correct their movements in a discreet way.


Confidence is built in a context of fun and learning, with both successes and failures. It is recommended that counsellors encourage all kids to participate, by encouraging creative movements and congratulating everyone for their efforts. This makes kids feel good, which brings them confidence and encourages them to keep up their physical activities so they can feel those positive feelings! Here are a few tips:

➜ As a counsellor, do everything necessary to avoid judgment and isolation;

➜ Avoid creating a competitive atmosphere; ➜ Make sure everyone feels included;

➜ Give simple instructions before more complex physical activities;

➜ Maximize playing time;

➜ Avoid elimination games which are unpleasant for the kids being eliminated.


The main reason young people take part in an activity is FUN! So a counsellor’s main goal must be to ensure EVERY KID has fun. Young people who are motivated will voluntarily choose to adopt behaviour and get into the action! Here are a few tips:

➜ Lead by example: A committed, participatory and positive counsellor will motivate his or her campers;

➜ Use positive reinforcement by praising the group for what they did well and kids’ participation;

➜ Adapt the rhythm to each young person by offering alternatives;

➜ Vary the activities you offer to reach a variety of interests;

➜ Create a safe space and ensure that it invites participation;

➜ Simplify and explain rules at the beginning of the activity;

➜ Offer variations during the game to keep kids motivated throughout the activity.


Physical skills make it possible to maximize the number of physical activities and reduce constraints! When kids integrate a variety of movements, they increase their chances of participating in sports and physical activities. Basic motor skills are essential to physical literacy. Here are a few tips:

➜ Include a variety of movements in activities (running, walking, jumping, climbing and galloping);

➜ Repeat the same game in different environments (playing tag on the grass or in the pool);

➜ Encourage creative movement.

For more info:

Active for life

Physical Literacy for Life


Do at least 60 minutes of moderate or high intensity physical activity every day.

This is the official recommendation of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP).

The CSEP also recommends:

  • Partaking in a high intensity activity three days a week.

  • Doing muscle and bone–strengthening activities three days a week.

What do we mean by “intensity?

  • High intensity = The children sweat and are out of breath (soccer, running, swimming lengths in the pool)

  • Moderate intensity = The children sweat a bit and their breathing is faster (playing in the park or cycling).

What do we mean by muscle and bone–strengthening activities?

Exercises that require muscular strength help improve muscle power and endurance. Two examples include sit-ups and balancing exercises on playground modules. Bone-strengthening exercises promote bone growth in children. They include any activity that requires kids to jump, hop, or get over obstacles, e.g. tennis or soccer.

Does sixty minutes sound like a lot?

Remember that children don’t necessarily have to be active for sixty consecutive minutes. It can be broken down into 10 minute blocks throughout the day. And the recommendation doesn’t mean that they absolutely have to be signed up for organized, structured activities. Running in the park, playing skip rope, riding a bike to a friend’s house—these are all great ways to be active!

It’s often easier to be active in summer!

Summer, sunshine, and nice weather are often a recipe for outdoor fun. In the summer months, kids and teens have more free time during the day. And when they attend summer camp or day camp, they have even more opportunities to be active. Kids, especially older ones, who are at home during their summer holidays often require more encouragement and opportunities to get out and be active.

For more info:

Read all about Canadian physical activity guidelines for all age groups.
Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology