Maria Melchionda, CEO of NAHPL
Sandra Sims, NAHPL Southern Tier Representative to NAHPL
In an age where everything is at the click of a button of our fingertip, it seems that technology has its grip on young children who need outside play more than ever. According to Statista Research Department (Mar 23, 2022), the number of minutes American toddlers in 2020 spent using media is astounding.
In 2020, American children under two years old spent and average time of one hour and 50 minutes daily using media, according to the source. An overwhelming share of this time is spent on watching television/videos (45 minutes), listening to audio (35 minutes) and reading (28 minutes).
Children need physical activity. Human bodies were built to move. According to the Centers for Disease Control, American College of Sports Medicine, and US Department of Health and Human Services, children should be active 60 minutes or more each day. Most of these minutes should be aerobic activity (example: walking, hiking, biking). At least 3 days a week, children’s activities should include some type of activity working on muscular strength using their own body weight (example: climbing trees). Playing outside is an excellent choice to collect activity minutes.
The National Academy of Health and Physical Literacy believes play is an essential part of growth and development. Children need the time to do so as it allows for the elements of sharing with others; playing in groups; development of fine and gross motor skills and gives experiences to allow children to work on social skills with their peers. Children will no doubt, become healthier and will want to explore the outdoors more, in comparison to sitting on a couch watching a screen. Studies show children are happier and more engaging when spending time in nature! Reducing stress, more movement, inspiring creativity and attaining more confidence are just a few of the benefits of children being able to play in the great outdoors.
The National Academy of Health and Physical Literacy encourages parents and children to “Go Outside and Play” this Summer. The benefits are waiting for you and your family.
Below are a few articles that may be of help to encourage young children to play outside: