As we approach the summer months at EC3, we are just as excited as the children that there are more warm days than cold for outdoor learning and play. “Large motor development” (building the large muscle groups in the body) through play is critically important to overall physical development, and the “locomotor” activities (walking, running, skipping, galloping, hopping, jumping, sliding, and using the legs for swinging) are perfect for young children.
This type of play is not only fun and beneficial–it can save lives! High physical activity for children develops the skills that will prevent health problems later in life, from obesity to diabetes. A new study by the National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play found that sedentary lifestyles impact children’s health at a much younger age than originally believed. In this investigation, preschool-age children who experienced low levels of play activity were found already to have greater health risk factors, such as higher triglycerides, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and body mass index. Not only that, but the study also found that outdoor play has a positive impact on children’s cognitive learning, emotional development, and critical thinking skills. Hooray for play!