When children engage in active play, we know important things happen.
In the early years especially, active play stimulates their physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development. Their brains actually form new neural connections, and their social skills, creativity, and problem-solving grow in tandem with the growth of their movement skills and physical literacy.
This is why Active for Life has created ActivePlay.ca, a new web portal with active play ideas and resources for early years educators who want to ensure the children in their care get the play opportunities they need.
ActivePlay.ca provides free videos, posters, and articles to show early years educators how to deliver important play-based physical activities in a wide variety of indoor and outdoor settings. The videos are captioned in 10 different languages, including three Indigenous languages. The posters are also available in all 10 languages.
The benefits of active play extend beyond simply motor skills, physical literacy, and brain development. Children who play actively every day tend to be calmer and more engaged, and they also tend to eat and sleep better.
The problem is that many children today don’t get enough opportunities for active play at home. With hurried modern lifestyles and busy family schedules, plus the distractions of television, video games and digital devices, many children are not active enough. This is why it’s important that they have plenty of opportunities in early years centres.
A recent study showed that children who participated in a play-based early years physical literacy program learned to love moving and became happier and better behaved.
The early years educators in the 11 participating early years centres reported several key benefits for the children:
· 75% said they observed improved emotional development
· 88% stated the children showed better cognitive development
· 94% said the children became more active overall
· 100% agreed that active play programming had made the difference
The educators also reported that they themselves enjoyed better relationships with the children and with each other by being part of the activities.
ActivePlay.ca is designed to break down barriers to physical literacy by making it easy for early years educators to engage more children in age-appropriate physical activity.
By taking advantage of the practical and inexpensive ideas at ActivePlay.ca, early years educators can be confident that they’re giving children the right start in developing all the qualities and capacities they need to become happy, healthy, and active for life.
ActivePlay.ca is funded by the Government of Canada’s Early Learning and Child Care – Innovation Program.