Table 2

Description of study characteristics

Reference (author, year, country)Design and settingSampleIntervention lengthIntervention groupsIntervention contentMotor skill measurementResults
Alhassan et al 2012, USA17RCT, preschool childrenN: INT=43, CON=28, mean age=4.3 years6 monthsINT: Physical activity intervention,
CON: unstructured free playtime
INT: Teacher-taught locomotor skill-based physical activity programme. 30 min, 5×/week.
CON: Unstructured free playtime
TGMD-2INT>CON for leaping skills (p<0.009)
Bellows et al 2013, USA18RCT, early childhood settingsN: INT=98, CON=103, mean age=4.3 years18 weeksINT: The Food Friends: Get Movin’ With Mighty Moves Programme
CON: Food Friends,
a 12-week nutrition programme
INT: Motor skill intervention programme.
15–20 min, 4×/week. Nutrition programme,
12 weeks.
CON: Nutrition programme, 12-week
PDMS-2INT>CON (p<0.001)
Bonvin et al 2013, Switzerland19RCT, child care centresN=648, (baseline), N:INT=187, CON=202 (follow-up), mean age=3.3 years10 monthsINT: Physical activity intervention,
CON: Regular care
INT: Physical activity programme designed to intervene at individual and environmental level. No time demands.
CON: no intervention
Zurich Neuromotor Assessment TestINT=CON
Hardy et al 2010, Australia23RCT, preschool childrenN: INT=263, CON=167, mean age=4.4 years20 weeksINT: Munch and Move,
CON: Regular care
INT: Resource containing games and learning experiences related to healthy eating and fundamental movement skill activities. No time demands.
CON: no intervention
TGMD-2INT >CON (p<0.001)
Jones et al 2011, Australia20RCT, early childhood settingsN: INT=52, CON=45, mean age=4.1 years20 weeksINT: Movement skill development physical activity programme.
CON: Usual care
INT: Structured lessons and unstructured activities for children. 20 min, 3×/week.
CON: no intervention
TGMD-2INT>CON (p=.00)
Robinson and Goodway 2009, USA22RCT, preschool childrenN: INT (LA)=38, INT (MM)=39, CON=40, mean age=3.8 years9 weeksINT: LA or mastery motivational (MM) instructional climate
CON: Comparison group
INT: Motor skill intervention programme. 30 min, 2×/week.
LA: Students following guidance and directions from instructor.
MM: Students navigated independently through activity stations.
CON: Typical Head Start curriculum
TGMD-2INT>CON (p=.001)
Tsapakidou et al 2014, Greece21Quasi-experiment, nursery schoolN: INT=49, CON=49, ages 3.5–5 years (no mean age reported)2 monthsINT: Motor skill development programme
CON: Daily routine
INT: Motor skill intervention programme, 30–40 min, 2×/week.
CON: No intervention
TGMD-2INT>CON (p=<0.005)
  • CON, control group; INT, intervention group; LA, low-autonomy; MM, mastery motivational; PDMS-2, peabody developmental motor scales 2; RCT, randomised controlled trials; TGMD-2, the test of gross motor development 2.