The effect of a home-based, gamified stability skills intervention on 4-5-year-old children's physical and cognitive outcomes: A pilot study

K. Fitton Davies, S. Clarke, R. Martins, J.R. Rudd, M. Duncan

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Abstract

Background: Stability skills (e.g., static/dynamic balance) are a precursor for other movement skill development (e.g., jumping, catching). However, young children consistently demonstrate low stability and movement skill ability. There is therefore a need to develop effective strategies to improve stability skills in early childhood. 

Aim: To pilot the effect of a home-based gamified stability skills intervention on 4-5-year-old children's physical skills, self-perceptions and cognitions. 

Methods: One-hundred-and-eleven 4-5-year-old children participated from three schools. Two schools were allocated into the intervention group (n = 66 children, 33 boys) and one to the control group (n = 45 children, 25 boys). Stability, fundamental movement skills, perceived motor competence, and cognition were assessed at baseline and at post-intervention. The intervention group was given a booklet detailing the 12-week gamified stability skill intervention. The control group participated in their usual weekly activities. 

Results: A series of ANCOVAs controlling for baseline values demonstrated significantly higher stability skills (F(1,93) = 24.79, p < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.212), fundamental movement skills (F(1,94) = 15.5, p = < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.139), perceived motor competence (F(1,96) = 5.48, p = 0.021, partial η2 = 0.054) and cognition (F(1,96) = 15.5, p = < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.139) at post-test for the intervention versus control groups. 

Discussion: This study demonstrates that a home-based, gamified, stability skills intervention enhances stability skills, fundamental movement skills, perceived motor competence and cognition in children aged 4-5-years old.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102636
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Volume73
Early online date6 Apr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Funder

The information reported in this manuscript was supported via a small research grant from the British Academy.

Keywords

  • Stability skills
  • Home-based
  • Gamification
  • Early years
  • Perceived competence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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