Physical play, like all types of play, is an essential part of childhood development. There are countless benefits of physical play and, now spring is upon us, it’s a great time to recap those benefits as we start to venture outside again.
The first and perhaps biggest advantage of physical play lies within the fact it enhances growth. Most habits are picked up during childhood, so encouraging children to exercise from a young age increases the chances of them maintaining a healthy lifestyle in adulthood.
A balanced diet and plenty of physical activity help massively towards strong bone growth and muscle development; as well as contributing towards a strong heart.
Physical activity often takes place outside, meaning there are plenty of opportunities for children to interact with each other and build bonds. Playing together whilst using motor skills and problem-solving abilities encourages children to work together and forge friendships; therefore, building confidence and social skills along the way.
One of the hardest parts about growing up is learning to take control of our limbs, monitor our movements and learn good hand-eye coordination skills. These are things that only come by engaging in physical activity – and play is a good, fun way to master these tricky skills.
Knowing the benefits of physical play and being able to easily implement the allowance for play are two different things. In early years and foundation stage children who are not yet at school, having the space to accommodate physical play isn’t always readily available in homes which are smaller and have less outside space.
However, there are many ways in which children can let off some steam and engage in bountiful play without needing a football pitch to run around on.
Hopscotch is a classic playground game that requires neither a playground nor much space. A small area that is big enough to do a few jumps is plenty – be it inside or outside. You don’t even need chalk if you have no concrete to play it on, either purchase a mat or use your imagination.
Hopscotch is simple and effective in terms of healthy development. It helps with remembering a sequence, counting and having good balance and hand-eye coordination; all whilst being fun!
If you have minimal space at home, taking your child to a local play centre is a good second choice. Not only are play centres large and full of varying activities targeting different skills, they are a good place to meet new people and build on those important social skills.
If you’re looking for a low-cost alternative, a trip to the park is a classic choice. Like with play centres, parks are full of different, fun activities and are a good place to make new friends. They also allow you to get some much-needed fresh air – all whilst being free!
Do you have any tips for encouraging little ones to improve on their physical play? Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and share your favourite tricks with fellow parents.
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