Outdoor play the key to a great Christmas
Two thirds of children between the ages of two and five are not getting enough physical activity, according to University of Western Australia Associate Professor Hayley Christian.
Professor Christian has undertaken research that shows while limited screen time doesn’t hurt, getting children more active should be priority.
Seventy per cent of children are exceeding the recommended one hour of screen time each time, Professor Christian’s research revealed.
Because of this, she encouraged parents to consider Christmas gifts that encourage physical activity and outdoor play.
"Its important that we look at different ways to engage children, and get them more physically active, playing outdoors and away from devices,” she said.
She said parents should consider gifts such as blocks, chalk, beach toys, skateboards and balls encouraged imagination and physical activity.
Goodstart’s pedagogy and practice general manager Sue Robb said outdoor environments and experiences were a vital part of a child’s development.
She said children needed to develop their gross motor skills, foster a love of nature and learn to take risks in the great outdoors.
“By being outdoors and engaging in experiences, we can foster a child’s love of nature – which also helps them learn how things grow and how things work, for example, gardening and composting, which also bring with them sensory experiences.”
Top five tips for keeping children active and healthy:
Set up a cubby house in the backyard
Play hide and seek
Get out the cricket ball and bat and head to the park for a hit
Pack a picnic and the skateboards and head to the park
Make an obstacle course in the backyard