What Is Physical Literacy?

“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

Physical Literacy is the gateway to both participation and excellence in physical activity and sport. When you have the foundation of skills, motivation and confidence you will more likely to be active for life. Start your journey of physical literacy!


to enjoy being active through basic fundamental movement skills: 

  • run across a field, jump off a log, throw a snowball, catch a frog, swim in a lake, balance on skates, wheel down the street 


to connect more than one fundamental movement skill: 

  • run then jump or throw a snowball then dodge away 


to strategize when to use these fundamental movement skills:

  • swerve to miss a pot hole on your bike or in your car; jump and hit a volleyball in a game 


in your physical ability to make choices to participate in physical activity: 

  • feeling confident to choose to participate in a new activity: going on a hike and having the cardio and strength to handle more difficult terrain, playing tag with good running and dodging skills.

As children, we develop physical literacy in a variety of environments:

LAND: as the basis for most games, sports, dance and physical activities.

WATER: as the basis for all aquatic activities.

SNOW/ICE: as the basis for all winter sliding activities.

IN THE AIR: as the basis for gymnastics, diving and other aerial activities.

WHEELS: as the basis for balance in motion and for those with disabilities.

Learn more about what experts have to say about the importance of physical literacy through our partner: Sport For Life.