Play essential for child development and happiness

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A study has reaffirmed that play aids in boosting children’s language development, risk management, problem solving and independent learning skills.

The report which was completed for the Children’s Play Policy Forum, found that play improved the mental, physical health and emotional well-being of children. It found that school playground playtime may enhance academic skills, as well as behaviour and attitude.

The report has been published to coincide with Playday in the UK. The aim of Playday is to offer parents, children and communities the opportunity to place focus on the positive aspects of play.

The Play Return report reviews a range of research into the importance of play in aiding children to develop knowledge and skills as they grow up.

Parents link playing in playgrounds with family well-being and families who live close to playgrounds and used them on a regular basis often reported higher happiness levels in their families.

The study indicated that play and youth facilities within public areas led to reduced vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

It was reported that changes to school playgrounds leads to an increase in the physical activity levels of children. It stated that different forms of intervention resulted in this, such as changes to marking, adding play equipment, making equipment available and introducing loose materials, such as recycled office equipment and scrap.

The author of the report, Tim Gill, said that the message of the report is that outdoor play does not only impact on the children’s lives, it also provides a basis for the transformation of communities.

According to health professionals, children aged five to 18 should get at least one hour of aerobic activity each day. This should be a combination of moderate-intensity activity where they work hard enough to raise their heart rate and sweat, and vigorous-intensity activities where they would be breathing fast and hard with their heart rate increasing. They should also do activities for muscle and bone strengthening.

Children under the age of five, who are able to walk unaided, should be active for at least three hours each day, both indoors and out.

To mark Playday 2014, thousands of young people and children from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland will participate in events across the country.

Image Credit: Argyll Holidays

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Emma Brown

Emma graduated in 2005 from the University of York with a degree in English Literature. A huge passion for writing and health topics, Emma is a perfect match for Health News UK. Hobbies include; cooking, writing (of course), musicals and her 2 dogs.

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