Active play from a young age is key to living a healthy life when you’re older.

active play - early childhood development

The importance of keeping your children active

To grow and develop, children require regular physical activity otherwise known as active play.

During play, it’s important that activities include a range of different skills through a variety of forms to promote active play while encouraging children to remain active throughout their lives.

Active play strengthens bones and builds muscle groups, it develops the brain and assists in establishing important neural connections.

Additionally, physical and emotional well-being are influenced by how active you are. Creating good habits from a young age is especially important.

By not developing good habits, children increase their risk of becoming overweight or obese later in life, both of which are linked to several serious physical and mental health problems.

What is Active Play?

Active play includes vigorous activities and games that use the large muscle of the body. This could include any type of play that uses the whole body, especially outdoor play where children have space to run around.

With that said, children should learn to be active indoors and out.

It’s important to include activities that use children’s hands and fingers – developing their fine motor skills.

Active play also greatly beneficial for children with disabilities and adapted activities should be incorporated into their daily routine.

Types of Active Play

Body control skills:

  • Balance, rhythmic movement of arms and legs to music

Locomotor skills:

  • Crawling, walking, running, skipping, jumping, leaping, rolling

Sending and receiving skills:

  • Rolling a ball, throwing, catching, kicking, hitting things with a bat or stick

How much Physical Activity should a child have?

Children under the age of 6

it’s important to include regular physical play throughout their day.

Short bursts of play are also important for infants and babies up to one-year, active play can be encouraged by providing toys and simple objects.

For toddlers (1-3 years)

At least 30 minutes of structured activity a day is sufficient. While a daily 60 minutes of unstructured active play is needed – specifically outdoor play.

Children between the age of 3-5 years

Must have at least 60 minutes of structured activity a day. They also require at least 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity a day - specifically outdoor play.

Reducing Screen Time

Consistent physical activity is crucial during early childhood development. It’s therefore recommended that television time for children up to the age of 2 is limited. Children between the ages of 3 and 5 should also be limited to only one or two hours of screen time a day.

Kay-Dee Educare Centre Mowbray

Active play should be a family event. A safe, motivating environment and positive “active” role models are important for encouraging children to be active.

At our educare centre, we aim to keep children active and engaged in activities that stimulate early childhood development throughout the day.

Contact us for more information about our centre.