City launches new physical activity program for children

Ready, Set, PLAY! The A B Cs of Physical Literacy collage showing 3 closeup photos of children hopping through rings and passing, catching various objects

The Fun Starts Here This Fall with Ready, Set, PLAY!

  • The City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division is launching a brand new program at over 80 community centres this fall.
  • Ready, Set, PLAY! is a legacy established through the City of Toronto's Host City Showcase Program intended to enhance the 2015 Pan Am/Para Pan Am experience for Toronto residents through the creation of long-term community benefits..
  • The City of Toronto's efforts in sport development and healthy living initiatives focus on identifying and creating innovative ways to build a stronger and healthier Toronto

Children need to learn how to throw a ball before they can throw the first pitch. Ready, Set, PLAY! programs introduce children to the basics of moving confidently and competently in a fun and active environment, preparing them for participation in a variety of sports and activities. Children will learn a wide range of Fundamental Movement Skills, including rolling, swinging, running, skipping, jumping, balancing, dribbling, throwing, catching, kicking and more. Ready, Set, PLAY! is the first step towards a lifetime of fun and activity.

ExpandWhat is Ready, Set, PLAY! ?

  • Ready, Set, PLAY! is a new program that provides participants with an opportunity to improve their physical literacy through a variety of specially-designed games and activities.
  • Ready, Set, PLAY! is the result of months of research, testing and input from experts, staff, participants and parents. The City of Toronto recognizes how important it is that children everywhere are physically literate.
  • Physical Literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.
  • Physical Literacy focuses on the ability to move confidently and competently in different environments, ex. on ice, in the water, on land. We recognize the importance of teaching our children to swim and skate—it is equally important to provide instruction and opportunities to master Fundamental Movement Skills on land.
  • Ready, Set, PLAY! provides opportunities for children to acquire and improve Fundamental Movement Skills.
  • Fundamental Movement Skills are the building blocks of physical literacy. They include:
    • Running
    • Jumping
    • Skipping
    • Hopping
    • Catching
    • Throwing
    • Striking
    • Kicking
  • Children that master fundamental movement skills have increased self-confidence and are more willing to try different sports and activities.  Active children are healthier, happier and are more likely to be Active for Life.

ExpandReady, Set, PLAY! – Program Format

Ready, Set, PLAY! is a participant-focussed program. This means:

  • On the first day of the program, children participate in multiple activities that demonstrate their current proficiencies.  RSP Instructors observe the children at play and record their skill levels to help inform program design.
  • RSP Instructors create a 9-week program tailor-made to address the needs of the specific participants registered in the program. RSP instructors plan the program to best assist all participants to acquire and improve the fundamental movement skills. No two sessions will look exactly alike. 
  • Games and activities are carefully selected to practice specific skills and the amount of time dedicated to each skill is determined by the strengths and weakness observed by the RSP instructor on the first day.
  • The Ready, Set, PLAY! Instructors set the difficulty level of each activity and game so that all participants have an opportunity to be successful while challenging them to improve.
  • RSP Instructors "coach" participants as they play providing feedback on how to improve specific skills. They acknowledge each participant's improvements and encourage further successes.
  • By the end of the 9-week session, participants will have an increased sense of confidence and improved fundamental movement skills.

ExpandReady, Set, PLAY! Instructors: Qualifications & Training

  • Ready, Set, PLAY! Instructors are dedicated to creating a fun learning environment where children learn at their own pace. Fun, smiles and skill acquisition are the goals.


  • To date, over 400 recreation staff has received extensive training to qualify as Ready, Set, PLAY! Instructors.


  • All Ready, Set, PLAY! Instructors are required to complete the following certifications and trainings:


Emergency First Aid Certification  
OR Standard First Aid    
 7 hours
16 hours
High Five Principles of Healthy Child Development 7.5 hours

National Coaching Certification Program: Fundamental Movement Skills

3.5 hours
City of Toronto Ready, Set, Play! Module 3 hours

ExpandWhy is Ready, Set, PLAY! important?

  • Children who master the fundamental movement skills (FMS) have acquired the foundation necessary to master fundamental sport skills. 


  • Children who enjoy spending time actively are more likely to become physically active adults—an Active Start leads to Active for Life.

ExpandHow does your child measure up?

Canada's Physical Activity Guidelines

  • "Obesity in Canada: (2011)states that "Available data show that Canadians get less than the daily recommended amount of physical activity for their age group." Regarding children specifically, "The Canadian Physical Activity Levels Among Youth (CAN PLAY) study estimated that during the 2007-2009 period, 88% of children and youth aged 5-19 did not meet the guidelines of Canada's Physical Activity Guide.

  • In 2011, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) established physical activity guidelines:
    • Children and youth up to 17 years of age should accumulate at least 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity.
    • Toddlers (aged 1 to 2 years) and preschoolers (aged 3 to 4 years) should accumulate at least 180 minutes of physical activity at any intensity spread throughout the day.


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