The importance of being active

Regular physical activity is essential for brain development. The more a child moves, the more they stimulate their brain. Children are born wanting to move, to explore their world and to make sense of it. And it’s up to us to make sure they have plenty of opportunity to be active.

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1. Children are born wanting/needing to learn the key movement skills of stability (balance), locomotion (moving your body from one place to another) and manipulation (the ability to handle a piece of equipment to achieve a specific outcome) but they need plenty of opportunities to discover these skills, practise them, and finally to master them. It’s our responsibility to provide these opportunities.

2. The NZ Ministry of Health recommend toddlers and preschoolers should be encouraged to do at least three hours of active play a day, and at least one hour of this should be energetic play. Think active, free ranging, fun play.

3. For school-aged children and young people (aged 5 to 17 years) the NZ Ministry of Health recommend an accumulation of at least 1 hour a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity (and to incorporate vigorous physical activities and activities that strengthen muscles and bones, at least 3 days a week).

4. Being active yourself will encourage children to be active.

5. And remember that children learn best when they’re having fun.

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