Foundational Movement Skills and Play Behaviors during Recess among Preschool Children: A Compositional Analysis

Lawrence Foweather, Matteo Crotti, Jonathan D Foulkes, Mareesa V O'Dwyer, Till Utesch, Zoe R Knowles, Stuart J Fairclough, Nicola D Ridgers, Gareth Stratton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


This study aimed to examine the associations between play behaviors during preschool recess and foundational movement skills (FMS) in typically developing preschool children. One hundred and thirty-three children (55% male; mean age 4.7 ± 0.5 years) from twelve preschools were video-assessed for six locomotor and six object-control FMS using the Champs Motor Skill Protocol. A modified System for Observing Children's Activity and Relationships during Play assessed play behaviors during preschool recess. Associations between the composition of recess play behaviors with FMS were analyzed using compositional data analysis and linear regression. Results: Relative to time spent in other types of play behaviors, time spent in play without equipment was positively associated with total and locomotor skills, while time spent in locomotion activities was negatively associated with total and locomotor skills. No associations were found between activity level and group size play behavior compositions and FMS. The findings suggest that activity type play behaviors during recess are associated with FMS. While active games without equipment appear beneficial, preschool children may need a richer playground environment, including varied fixed and portable equipment, to augment the play-based development of FMS.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number7
Early online date24 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2021


  • cross-sectional
  • early childhood
  • early childhood education centers
  • fundamental movement skills
  • motor skills
  • observational
  • physical literacy
  • play
  • preschool
  • young children


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