Preschool Nutrition and Active Physical Play Course

Welcome to the Preschool Nutrition and Active Physical Play course. This course is designed to serve as a resource and training tool for child care and development administrators, directors, teachers, family day care home providers (referred to in this course as caregivers or providers), and food service personnel. Families with children participating in child care may also find the course information useful.

The Preschool Nutrition and Active Physical Play course provides helpful nutrition information and information on physical activity, both of which can benefit children’s health and well-being.


This course is divided into six modules. Each module begins with an Overview/Objectives section followed by background information and resources.

Module 1: The Relationship Between Nutrition and Children’s Growth and Development

This module discusses preschoolers’ nutrient needs, some feeding considerations related to preschoolers’ growth and development, and the relationship between nutrition and learning.

Module 2: Feeding Young Children

This module presents resources that can help you plan nutritious meals and snacks for preschool children using the Dietary Guidelines for Americans2015–2020 and MyPlate.

Module 3: Factors Shaping Food Habits in Young Children

This module describes and explains how different factors influence young children’s food habits.

Module 4: Active Physical Play

This module presents strategies and techniques that demonstrate how physical activity can benefit children’s health and well-being. Some of the areas included are: the importance of physical activity and how much is appropriate; the importance of play and the impact it has on the developing child; the identification of appropriate and inappropriate practices, both outdoors and indoors; the integration of school readiness skills within active play, and the characteristics of good and safe play areas. In this module you will find a series of video clips and accessible scripts that demonstrate many of the physical activity concepts.

Module 5: Nutrition Challenges for Young Children

This module discusses some of the health challenges facing today’s young children including an understanding of food consumption trends among young children and recognizing the effect of marketing on children’s eating habits.

Module 6: Special Issues

This module addresses special issues that may affect the health and development of preschoolers and identifies suggestions on how to deal with these issues.

Course Length

This course is self-paced. However, it will take approximately three hours to complete the entire course in one sitting or about 30 minutes to complete each module. If you are unable to complete the entire course or a module in one sitting remember to note where you ended your session.

Certificate of Completion

You will be required to take a comprehensive test at the end of this course in order to obtain a Certificate of Completion and Professional Growth Hours. To pass this final test you must score 75 percent or higher. Go to Professional Growth Hours for detailed instructions.


When you complete the course, we invite you to use our self-assessment system, Transforming Our Nutrition Environment (TONE), to assess the child care nutrition program at your site. To learn about your site’s nutrition and physical activity environments, complete the self-assessment tools and action plans below and discover your program’s strengths and weaknesses.