Thinking Active Physical Play

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The TAPP is a self-reflective inventory for staff in early childhood settings. Use the reflection to think about supporting active physical play for children, ages 24 months through five years old.

Introduction to TAPP

children playingYoung children in early childhood settings encounter active physical play environments that include facilities, equipment, routines, and schedules.  They develop relationships with peers and staff. The quality of environments and relationships influence a child’s opportunity to develop optimum physical precision, strength, flexibility, and endurance. 

Achieving good health and enjoying physical activities that help them develop physical competence are among the most important rights of children.

What is active physical play?

Active physical play includes two parts:

  1. Children develop basic techniques using repetitive play to master physical skills. The result is precision, strength, flexibility, and endurance. These skills include balancing, running, walking, jumping, pushing, pulling, lifting, hopping, climbing, throwing, and pedaling.

  2. Children initially work to master basic physical skills. Then, they use that foundation of skills to create play themes that helps them maintain, strengthen, and extend those skills.

Seven Guiding Principles for Active Physical Play

  1. Adults set safe, appropriately challenging environments for daily active physical play.
  2. Children engage in active physical play to develop their bodies, and for fun and enjoyment.
  3. Each child has opportunity for frequent and vigorous active physical play.
  4. Each child has time for and support for uninterrupted, sustained play.
  5. Each child has access to many and varied active physical play opportunities.
  6. Active physical play is supported by adult-child relationships and child-to-child interactions.
  7. Adults advocate for children to have opportunities and environments that support active physical play.

Who Should Use the TAPP Self- Reflection Inventory?

This self-reflection is for those who want to address development of competence in physical skills and healthy weight for young children in group settings.  Managers and supervisors, teachers, and classroom aides are appropriate users of the TAPP.

Why Should I Use the TAPP Self-Reflection Inventory?

The TAPP helps you think about environments and relationships that support children’s active physical play.  Results of the TAPP confirm current practices and inform discussions of changes or improvements in active play environments and relationships. These results can inform decisions about your program’s professional development.

How Do I Use the TAPP Self-Reflection Inventory?

The TAPP is best carried out as a cooperative activity among staff rather than by an outside reviewer. 

The TAPP includes self-reflections about active physical play for young children. Note that a “reasons” section follows each reflection statement and response. To enhance a meaningful report of the responses, users should write their reasons for choosing each response. 

Each statement offers four response choices: Already doing; Making progress; Considering; and Not planning to do

  • Choose already doing if you consistently use this practice. 
  • Choose making progress if you use the concept on some level. Choose making progress, for example, if you have ordered materials for the environment, or some of the staff use the practice, but not all.
  • Choose considering if you want to use the practice, but have taken no steps toward implementation.
  • Choose unable to do do if you would like to follow the practice, but you believe there are factors which prevent you from using the practice.
  • Choose not planning to do if the concept simply does not work for your program, you do not agree with the concept, or if the concept is not applicable in your program. 

What Form of the TAPP Should I Use?

There are three ways to use the TAPP.  You may do a comprehensive form of the TAPP, you many choose to reflect on only one principle from the TAPP, or you may choose to do a quick reflection using the TAPP Short Form.

Use the Comprehensive Thinking Active Physical Play Self-Reflection Inventory (TAPP)

The comprehensive TAPP includes items based on Seven Principles for Active Physical Play. Users may reflect on all Seven Principles and the ratings in each area for a comprehensive review of practices.  For this comprehensive review, use the complete Thinking Active Physical Play Self-Reflection Inventory.

Use the Individual TAPP Principles

Users can choose to reflect on just one Active Physical Play Principle and the items in that Principle.  Click on a principle below to go directly to the TAPP items for that principle.

  1. Adults set safe, appropriately challenging environments for daily active physical play.
  2. Children engage in active physical play to develop their bodies, and for fun and enjoyment.
  3. Each child has opportunity for frequent and vigorous active physical play.
  4. Each child has time for and support for uninterrupted, sustained play.
  5. Each child has access to many and varied active physical play opportunities.
  6. Active physical play is supported by adult-child relationships and child-to-child interactions.
  7. Adults advocate for children to have opportunities and environments that support active physical play.

Use the TAPP Short Form

Users may want to use the TAPP Short Form for a brief reflection on the Seven Principles and self-reflection items.  Click here for the Thinking Active Physical Play Self-Reflection Inventory: Short Form.