Physical development during the early childhood years consists of developing bones, muscles, nerves, and physical skills, resulting in coordination and endurance.
For young children, active play also goes hand in hand with learning, communicating, and connecting with people and the world around them. Not only is active play fun, but it also provides young children with a variety of different learning opportunities.
Research has shown that children are much more attentive right after they have engaged in active motor play. In addition, children learn through movement. Adults can integrate movement into daily routines and planned activities to help introduce new concepts and enhance learning outcomes.
Benefits of active play include:
- build awareness of others.
- create solutions to problems.
- develop and refine coordination.
- learn to use imagination.
- have fun.
- gain confidence and self-esteem.
- decreases children’s anxiety, stress, and depression.
- build relationships with peers.
- learn to communicate with others.
Strategies to incorporate active play every day:
- Provide simple, fun obstacle courses that the child is capable of completing.
- Provide daily opportunities and activities for children to use handheld tools and objects.
- Use songs with finger plays to develop fine motor skills.
- Incorporate singing and dancing into many activities.
- Let students practice swinging and hitting.
- Give students blocks, clay, paper, pencils, crayons, safety scissors, play dough, and manipulatives to use.
- Plan daily physical activities, and take students outside to run, climb and jump around.
- Have students practice buttoning and unbuttoning, zipping clothes, and opening and closing a door.
- Use activities that involve cutting, pasting, drawing, and writing.
- Model and use activities with drawing and writing tools.
Looking for new ways to incorporate active play into everyday routines? Check out H&H Child Care Training Center’s courses Rainy Days: New Ways to Play and The Best Promotion is Play.