Play 4 healthy lifestyles

Why play for healthy lifestyles?

Play is an important part of encouraging children to be physically active, in early childhood and as they grow up. As well as supporting healthy development, play also helps to spark an interest in physical activity that sets them up for an active and healthy lifestyle later in life.

How play benefits children’s health and well-being

  • The benefits of physical play are clear – it helps children to maintain a healthy weight, builds strength and flexibility.
  • Play is the rocket fuel for healthy brain development, it can even help alleviate stress, which can prove extremely beneficial for children living in challenging situations.
  • Active or outdoor play provides children with the regular, vigorous physical activity that they require to lead active and healthy lives.
  • Play also helps to improve muscle control, coordination and fine motor skills.

Play skills & policy

Physically active play has important benefits for health and mental well-being; however, several international surveys have found that children to not engage in the recommended levels of physically active play as explained by Jeffrey Goldstein. To address this increasing ‘play gap’, we can:

  • Create and encourage the use of safe and stimulating environments such as sports fields, adventure playgrounds and indoor activity centres.
  • Promote active play in early education systems and help ensure children have sufficient time allocated for active and free play.