The aim of this narrative review is critically to evaluate educational strategies promoting physical activity that are used in the preschool setting in the context of obesity prevention programmes. Literature search was conducted between April and August 2010 in English and German databases (PubMED, PsychINFO, PSYNDEX, ERIC, FIS Bildung). Outcomes considered were time and intensity of physical activity, motor skills or measures of body composition. A total of 19 studies were included. Ten studies added physical activity lessons into their curriculum, one study provided more time for free play, eight studies focused on the social and play environment. Studies reporting positive outcomes implemented physical activity sessions that lasted at least 30 min d−1. Several studies showed that children are most active in the first 10–15 min. The existence or installation of playground markings or fixed play equipment had no effect, whereas the presence or addition of portable play equipment was positively correlated with moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Teacher training may be a key element for successful interventions. To overcome time constraints, a suggested solution is to integrate physical activity into daily routines and other areas of the preschool curriculum.