Why Children Need Active Playtime

Children Need to Play!

Educators know that children need active play in order to develop naturally and be physically healthy. Sadly, more children than ever are considered to be obese, facing the danger of developing diabetes. Lifestyle choices that limit the amount of childhood active play are the predominant factors resulting in this alarming trend.

The Link between Active Play and Mental Play

Active play is made up of the wide variety of physical activities that children naturally engage in during the course of a normal day. These activities shift as developmental markers are reached, but a short list includes standing, crawling, rolling, swinging, running, jumping, swimming, rollerblading and bike riding. Many studies link the amount and quality of childhood active play to both brain size and brain development.

The Modern Sedentary Lifestyle

Even if your children don't spend hours each day in the coma-like trance brought on by watching television programs, they likely spend excessive amounts of time sitting in front of a computer screen playing video games. These virtual games often substitute for active play with friends in the neighborhood and at the park. The fact that children are taught to use the home computer at younger ages than ever before also contributes to them engaging in less active playtime as they get older.

Unfortunately, it is a habit that perpetuates itself into adulthood and is illustrated best by the image of a white collar office worker spending eight hours a day working at a computer.

Playing Actively is Critical for Motor Skills Development

Older children derive some benefit in terms of hand-eye coordination from learning to move a computer mouse around or handling a video game controller. Problems arise when they spend too much time engaging exclusively in this type of activity.

Younger children, however, develop best when interacting directly with their physical environment. From the infant to the elementary school child, cognitive, social, emotional and physical development are all directly related to the amount of time the child spends engaged in active play. Active play not only helps to develop motor skills, but builds the small and large muscle groups needed to maintain a healthy body.

Healthy Children, Healthy Adults

What is at stake here is not only the health of children, but the health of the adults they will become. Lifestyle habits are difficult to change, and a sedentary child has a greater likelihood of becoming a sedentary adult. Healthy adults need a minimum of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day to help reduce the chances of developing heart disease, high blood pressure and non-hereditary diabetes. With so many adults working long hours at sedentary jobs, establishing a healthy routine that includes active play early in life is paramount to maintaining optimum physical health into the adult years.

The nature of human development dictates that children should be engaged in actively playing throughout their days. Engaging in childhood activities and exercise fosters every kind of child development, as well as maintains the physical health of the individual.

Melanie Johnson invites you to take a look at her teacher supplies including all kinds of active play products to help children engage in fun activities throughout the day. You will also find a great selection of classroom decorations, furniture, and educational toys for all ages.

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