Kids need active play to grow into healthy, active adults

There are some universal truths in life that we can all accept—money can’t buy happiness, life isn’t fair, and all kids love to play!

You’d think, then, that kids would find time for play on their own, but active play is something parents need to be concerned about. Only 9% of Canadian kids aged 5 to 17 are getting the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity they need.

To set a child up for success in leading a healthy, active life—giving them the physical and mental skills to engage in sport and physical activity for life – kids need lots of free, unstructured play at a young age.

Canadian Sport for Life calls this the ‘Active Start’ stage in their Long Term Athlete Development model, and it applies to children aged 0 to 6. An ‘Active Start’ through regular play means kids will learn the ABCs of movement that they can use to learn sport skills later on:

  • Agility
  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Speed

Together, these skills and fundamental sport skills will help kids build the physical literacy to engage in healthy habits for life. Plus, active play enhances brain function, builds confidence, social skills, imagination and improves sleep. And, it’s fun!

So, how can you encourage more active play in kids? Start with our comprehensive list of all the ways you can make room for more play:

When in doubt, get out of the way and let kids play!

This month, Canada’s Year of Sport draws attention to the importance of getting kids involved in organized sports and active play. Learn more here.