Active play for preschoolers


By the age of two, most children have mastered walking and are ready to progress on physical and social development.  For this, they need an extensive range of active play. Active play experiences help young children develop physical literacy.

How does physical literacy cycle work? It revolves around the below 3 components.

1.Motivation to move

2.Confidence to move

3.Competence to move

“Active play” includes both structured and unstructured activities. Structured play for preschool children means providing them a rich stimulating environment (indoor/outdoor) and set them free to explore. Pre-schoolers   learn best when they do things, when they are not given any rules to play or win a game because they have not yet developed cognition of following rules.

For toddlers and pre-schoolers, structured play or sports should be conducted with the motive to drive fun filled learning. What is important here is that they gain confidence participating in sports/structured play, whether they do it right or not is secondary as they are still young to have technical sports skill. In actual, when kids have fun practicing any sports (for ex throwing a ball), it helps them learn that skill easily at an older stage.

Below are some benefits of active play:

Helps learn developmental tasks

There is a critical need to develop a disposition for outdoor physical activities in young children. Active play in large areas of grass and steeps encourages all forms of play. Pre-schoolers can climb up and roll down, hog and jump, throw out and pick up. Toddlers are can lie, crawl, run and roll.   All of this helps them to widely learn risk-taking, fine and gross motor skills.

Develops social skills

Sports give lots of opportunities to develop confidence and competencies as it encourages participation of large number of children. They are motivated to move faster than their friends, work in pairs/teams, develop leadership qualities, interact with people and perform in front of large audience.

Socio-dramatic play

A good sport/structured play must have structures/objects that can encourage children to use to expand their cognition. These structures encourage rich socio-dramatic play; as it requires children to pay attention to details and reflect on how to use it. This experience can be further enhanced by incorporating a concept to the sport.

Improves health

We all know there is something essentially healthy about playing outdoors. It enables children to enjoy the nature, take fresh air, insource Vitamin D from sunlight and expend energy.  Moreover it develops disposition for physical activity which is important to stay fit.

Harness the surplus-energy

Play allows children to release pent-up energy. They need to let off the energy collected over time and rejuvenate themselves. Engaging children in some active sports enables children to pursue academic learning with an increased level of focus. 

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