Regular physical activity is a vital part of a healthy life. Engaging in daily active play strengthens bones, builds muscle, creates connections between brain and body, increases balance and coordination, and develops a love of movement that could translate to a lifelong exercise habit.
Active play involves vigorous, full-body movement of the large muscles. It can be structured or unstructured, everything from taking a walk to playing a sport to making snow angels, rolling down a hill, or jumping into a pile of leaves. Moving to music can be a joyous celebration of movement almost any child can enjoy.
Although children with disabilities may need help or modification, all children benefit from this kind of play.
Types of Movement
There are three types of movement involved in active play:
- Locomotor – movement of the body through space (e.g., walking, skipping, or running)
- Non-locomotor, or body control (e.g., balancing, stretching, or moving to music)
- Manipulation, or sending and receiving – (e.g., throwing or catching a ball, tossing a beanbag, kicking a football, hitting a ball with a bat, punching a pillow)
Building a Habit of Active Play
There are several things you can do to develop your child’s interest in active play:
- Give plenty of time and opportunity for active play
- Provide verbal encouragement
- Give specific praise (not “You’re a great athlete,” but “That was a great catch”)
- Be a role model by engaging in daily physical activity yourself
- Engage in active play with your child
- Make accommodations as needed for cognitive and physical disabilities
- Limit use of television, computers, and cell phones (and avoid them completely for infants and children under two)
Where We Come In
We want to support your commitment to giving your child opportunities for active play. To that end, our blog will offer articles about active play, relevant activities, and reviews & recommendations of active play equipment.
*Note: Some links to featured and reviewed items are affiliate links, meaning I receive a small commission when people buy those items.