3.6.1 Proportion of young children aged 3 to 5 years who participated in activities once a week or more, by activity and gender, Canada, 2010/2011

Music, art or other non-sport activity* Clubs, groups or community programs with leadership** Unorganized sports or physical activity* Organized sport with coach or instructor Dance, gymnastics or martial arts*
Boys 16.5 13.7 63.8 48 21.3
Girls 20.7 15.3 58.8 40.1 45.4
Total 18.5 14.5 61.3 44.1 33.1

*3 to 5 years
**4 to 5 years

Source: CICH graphic created using data adapted from the Survey of Young Canadians 2010/2011, Statistics Canada – Custom runs.

Almost half of 3 to 5 year olds in Canada take part in sports with a coach or instructor (except dance, gymnastics or martial arts) once per week or more.

Over 60% take part in unorganized sports or physical activities without a coach or instructor once per week or more.

One-third take lessons or instruction in other organized physical activities with a coach or instructor such as dance, gymnastics or martial arts.

Less than 20% participate in music, art or other non-sport activity or clubs/groups.

Girls are more likely than boys to take part in dance, gymnastics or martial arts.

Boys are more likely to take part in organized sports with a coach or instructor.

Participating in play and recreational activities – including physical activities and cultural activities (e.g., arts, music) has beneficial effects for children’s healthy development. Participation in cultural activities is associated with a number of positive outcomes for children – both personal and academic. Children who participate in cultural activities achieve higher grades, have higher literacy skills, are more likely to go on to post-secondary education and are more engaged in civic life.1 Participating in cultural activities also promotes children’s social-emotional development by fostering self-esteem, promoting positive social skills and connections with new people and ideas as well as having positive impacts on emotional regulation. In addition to academic, emotional and social benefits, participation in physical activity/physically active programs can help improve children’s overall health and growth (e.g. increased muscle strength, bone density and mass, motor fitness and aerobic capacity).2

1Child Trends. 5 Ways the Arts are Good for Kids. 2017. https://www.childtrends.org/child-trends-5/5-ways-arts-good-kids/ -accessed July 24, 2017.
2Torjman, S. Culture and Recreation: Links to Well-Being. Caledon Institute of Social Policy. 2004. http://www.caledoninst.org/Publications/PDF/472ENG.pdf -accessed July 24, 2017.

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