Travis Saunders at UPEI says children like the testing

UPEI researcher Travis Saunders says children seem to enjoy the tests. (courtesy Travis Saunders)

A University of Prince Edward Island research team is looking for 800 Island children to take part in a physical literacy project.

Groups of children between the ages of 8 and 12 will be asked to take part in a series of tests over a couple of hours.

The tests measure fitness levels, motor skills, body composition and the knowledge and motivation of physical activity.

Travis Saunders, an assistant professor in the department of applied human services at UPEI, said the research team is hoping to get permission to go into summer camps and after school programs to test large groups of children at one time. 

"For kids, it's actually pretty fun," said Saunders.

"It's funny, we were doing some testing this week and you tell a 10-year-old kid they're going to do a beep test and a lot of them get really excited. The obstacle course that we do actually is genuinely really fun. Kids really like wearing pedometers."

Activities that don't necessarily seem exciting to adults are fun to a child, says Saunders.

"So It's not so hard to sell them on it. And I think parents like the fact that they get the information on how their child's doing," said Saunders.                  

Similar research will be conducted in other provinces as part of the Canadian Assessment of Physical Literacy study.

The study is expected to take up to two years to complete and will be included in the ParticipAction report card.

Saunders is hoping it will provide information on how to give children the skills and abilities they need for lifelong physical activity.

For more information or to participate in the study you can go to capl@upei.ca.