Research recommends that children over five spend no more than two hours a day in front of a TV, computer or other electronic device and toddlers be limited to under one hour.
Furthermore research from the American Academy of Paediatrics suggest that children should spend at least 60 minutes of open ended play per day (not including physical activity).
Encouraging active play and participation in sports is vital for our children
Encouraging active play and participation in sports is vital for our children. Why? Because there are fewer opportunities for active play than in the past – fewer urban play spaces, less school time devoted to play and sport and fewer playmates at home to play with. This contributes to a sedentary lifestyle for young people and the accompanying problems, such as obesity.
Encouraging active play
Children who are shy or not well-coordinated will need encouragement for physical play. Toys, playground and sports equipment should be chosen so that they are easily accessible to physically challenged children but still exciting.
“Playing with a toy activates a child’s brain in a way that computer screens and televisions simply cannot. Toys are tactile, interactive and most importantly, require imagination,” said Jodie Benveniste.
Setting an example is also vital, therefore parents are encouraged to spend quality time playing with their children (and initiating it where appropriate)… It’s amazing how quickly the child in us can.
Just some of the toys that encourage active play
Balls, cycles, push-pull-alongs, pogo sticks, hobby horse, in-line skates, building blocks and construction, trampolines, climbing apparatus, toys, garden tools, stacking toys, stilts, ride-ons, scooters, sports equipment, swings, climbing frames, simulated sports games connected to TV or VCR, remote control vehicles, yo-yo’s, frisbee, hula hoop, karaoke, super soaker, balance beam, sliding boards, interactive football, with motion dance mats, sensors attached to leg active games such as ‘Twister’, skates.