What is Play for Life and how can it help your toddler POSTED ON 10/07/2019
In May 2019, Health Secretary, Matt Hancock called for help to deliver the Government’s promise to halve childhood obesity over the next 10 years.
According to current estimates, 10% of boys and 9% of girls are starting primary school obese, and experts warn that children gain weight ‘at a drastic rate’ when they are at school. Pressure is mounting on schools to address this trend, but we believe more can be done at pre-school age to defuse the problem.
The Micro Scooters Play for Life campaign aims to support the Government objective by focusing on the toddler and pre-school years. Our analysis of the current research has found that very young children who have exposure to an array of movement challenges and who confidently develop balance and coordination skills, are more likely to develop into more confident individuals with a lower BMI and a life-long commitment to exercise.
The Micro Scooters Play for Life campaign helps parents, caregivers and early years settings to think differently about the foundations of physical development. It provides guidance and ideas on how to support children through play techniques to build a confidence in their physical ability that will last a life time.
Current Government guidelines for pre-school children:
The current Government guidelines for daily physical activity for pre-school aged children is 180 minutes (3 hours) spread throughout the day, indoors and outdoors. Much is written on the danger of sedentary lifestyles in the young. The guidelines state that pre-school children need unstructured, active and energetic play to allow them to develop their fundamental movement skills and master their physical environment.
The NHS offers some guidance on what this activity should be. Encouraging adults to provide physical play opportunities in a safe environment, activities include standing up, moving around, rolling and playing, as well as more energetic activity like skipping, hopping, running and jumping, climbing frame, riding a bike, playing in water, chasing games and ball games.
Micro Scooters Response
Micro Scooters commissioned research with Brytespark a team of experts in biomechanics, child development, fitness training, podiatry, physiotherapy and athletics, who combined their knowledge with expert opinion from around the world. The research found that it’s not just free, cardiovascular exercise that matters during the pre-school years. For children to confidently develop their fundamental movement skills, physical play should be structured, with adult involvement. And, it’s the type and variety of movement a child is exposed to, that makes all the difference at this critical stage of development, if the child is going to secure a life time of good habits.
We know that many adults will be intimidated by a target of 180 minutes physical exercise per day with a child under 5. That’s why our Play for Life campaign delivers the science behind the ‘fundamental movement skills’ theories, in a palatable way and provides useful advice and games ideas for guided-play that are aligned to our product range and appropriate for the child’s stage of development.
See which Play for Life games you can do with your child to encourage their movement skills >>
- Health Secretary call for support May 2019:
- House of Commons, Health Committee 2018: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmhealth/882/882.pdf
- Chief Medical Officers, Start Active, Stay Active campaign: p20-25 Early Years https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/216370/dh_128210.pdf
- NHS Physical Activity Guidelines for children Under 5: