Is Active Play Crucial To Childhood Development?

I think we all know it is, but how crucial exactly? Well an independent group of leading experts in development and nutrition has gone as far as to issue a set of tips which will help nursery staff and parents encourage young kids to take part in physical activity.

The Infant and Toddler Forum (ITF) have formulated an activity worksheet outlining ways that physical activity and play can easily be integrated into everyday life.

The Government is concerned with the increase in childhood inactivity calling it a time bomb waiting to go off. Latest figures following a study by Oxford University, show that only 32% of boys and 24% of girls between the ages of 2 and 15 are getting the recommended minimum of exercise.

This sedentary lifestyle staring at some sort of screen, being driven or pushed everything is having a detrimental effect on the nations children. Without a change of course the likelihood of later health problems as a result of being overweight or obese will continue to rise and will also impact on a child’s cognitive development.

Government guidelines recommend that under 5’s that can walk, need at least 3 hours a day activity. The problem is, however, that parents are not aware and the message is not being communicated well enough.

This may come as a challenge to busy parents, so it is important for them to plan their daily schedules to include as much activity as possible for their toddlers. Activities such as walking, riding a bike or scooter, dancing, playing catch anything that this increase their exercise.

For preschool toddlers attending day nurseries, they currently achieve two to two and a half hours per day in some form of physical activity, so the parents would only have to add an extra half an hour to reach the recommended daily target.

The factsheet can be downloaded for free from the Infant And Toddler Forum home page.

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