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Making Active Play Happen Every Day

Too Small to Fail
By Too Small to Fail

When it comes to brain-building activities, nothing comes more naturally to babies and toddlers than play. Active play, or play that gets kids moving, is important for the healthy development of motor skills, muscles, and coordination. A baby is actively playing when she stretches her tiny arms to reach for an object or starts to crawl. For a toddler, it can be bouncing to the beat of a song you sing, running down the sidewalk, or climbing stairs.

Active play gives kids an opportunity to explore their surroundings, and is a fun way to get the exercise they need. As they grow, young children need plenty of time to stretch, run, jump, and play. In fact, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommends that toddlers get at least 90 minutes of active time a day, while preschoolers should get a full two hours. Getting that kind of exercise regularly will boost your children’s long-term health, and build healthy habits that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

Active play can happen almost anywhere. Parents and caregivers can head outside with their children to take a walk, play tag at the playground, or toss a ball. When at the playground, ask your child what she’s doing – how high are you going to climb this time? How many times can you jump rope? Walking is a good opportunity to exercise and describe the world around you: what bugs do you see? What color are the leaves?

Families can bring active play inside by having dance parties, acting out stories, or better yet, inventing a new active game together!

Resources for Sharing:

  • These tips for active play offer ways to get moving indoors and outdoors.
  • Find great places to play near you with this map.
  • NAEYC recommends 10 ways to explore the outdoors with your children.

WATCH: Dr. Pooja Tandon of Seattle Children’s Research Institute talks about the benefits of active play and has tips for busy families to get outside more often.>>

Posted In: Newsletter