Why Kids Need to Play & Be Active Everyday

This post was written by Kari B. Nov 09, 2016 in Health & Wellness, Play
Kids Playing Outdoors at Camp

Play has a very important role in every child’s healthy development.  Backed by research, it’s clear that unstructured, active time for all kids is good for both their minds and bodies.  

Here are four reasons why heart-pumping physical play is essential for every child. 

1. Social skills
Without a doubt, play has a positive effect on social development.  What may seem like a game to us is really an interactive learning opportunity.  Activities like tag, manhunt and four-square actually help kids relate to each other and develop social skills.  They learn how to be creative, take turns, negotiate, solve problems and resolve conflicts. 

These social skills are significant because they’re developed with peers on the playground, not during structured time scheduled by adults.

2. Academic Performance
Research also suggests that physical play positively affects developing brains.  Just as in adults, exercise alters the brain and can influence mental performance.  For active children, this can mean improved attention spans and better grades.

The CDC states, “…physical activity can have an impact on cognitive skills and attitudes and academic behavior, all of which are important components of improved academic performance. These include enhanced concentration and attention as well as improved classroom behavior.”

Also students perform better academically when they take breaks during the day to recharge.  So yes, recess is important!  

3. Confidence
Play is the perfect way for children to try new activities and develop their confidence.  Conquering monkey bars at recess or getting a goal at lunchtime soccer can boost self-esteem and encourage interest in other activities.

When children feel good about their achievements through play, they feel positive about themselves.

4. Physical Activity
An hour a day of physical play is ideal for children.  Activities like climbing, playing tag, throwing a ball and dancing are not only great ways to get exercise, but these actions help them become stronger, better coordinated and more flexible.  

When children embrace physical play, it’s not only fun, but it contributes to an active lifestyle and better health.

Make time for play!  

North Vancouver Recreation & Culture is pleased to offer a variety programs to help keep kids active and support their healthy development.  Visit Find a Program or Early Years Drop-in  to get started.


We have asked our employees and guest bloggers to contribute to our blog in their own voice and with their own opinions. As such, the opinions expressed in this blog entry are not necessarily shared by North Vancouver Recreation & Culture. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

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