Why Active Play Early On Helps Your Child's Development and Growth

As the digital age is upon us, more and more children are spending less time playing and more time typing. Daddilife speak about how activating play from an early age is detrimental to a baby's development! They also give their three top tips for how to make play time fun and where to go.

baby playing with toysWe found a remarkable statistic recently that by the time children turn 11, they are on average spending 45 hours in front of a screen, and only 5 hours playing outdoors!

Shocking as that may sound, when you start thinking about the wider world our children are growing up in, it’s not that surprising unfortunately.

Unlike in our childhoods, digital screens are everywhere now. We walk around with one constantly in our pockets in the shape of our mobiles, and tablets have only increased the opportunity for our children to interact with content, gaming, and huge variety of other screen time things.

At DaddiLife we often see the tension of Dads and mums wanting to encourage more adventurous play into their kids lives, but instead finding a zombie like response from their children who’s focus is totally on the tablet!

Start the right behaviours, early

The important thing to realise is that the behaviour itself actually starts a lot earlier around the 18-month phase, and it matters so much more than we think.

Outdoor, active play with daddy is absolutely vital. When we consider the effects it’s having on our children, it makes the statistic even more important to correct. 

In a study for the Early-Years group, research shows how outdoor play is essential for large muscle development - so the way our children learn to walk forwards, run, climb, pivot, jump, balance etc are all fundamentally learned through more outdoor play. It’s this sense of body management that’s essential.

Outdoor play is also a vital component of gross motor skills - which we develop into fine motor skills, like learning how to use a knife and fork, holding a pencil, and writing for instance. 

baby playing hide and seekTime to get out there!

In making active play a habit for your babies, here’s what you can do for the children at 18 months onwards:

Hide and seek: sometimes the old ones really are the best. Your children hide, you seek, everyone has lots of fun. Best of all, you can do it in a park, playground, or pretty much anywhere. You can start this when they’re super young, even when they are taking their first steps with baby Hide and seek.

Local farm: A great way to fire up their imaginations is to a visit your local farm. Children love to interact with animals; feeding them, and learning all about their habits and how they live. You can spend hours there and take a picnic with you too. Yes, it costs to go, but the cost is outweighed by getting your kids outdoors and away from the TV.

Dad date: Kids love parental play. You are their role models and heroes. They do as you do not as you say, so set aside a family day to go and do stuff. If the weathers fine, take a ball outside, get out your bikes and scooters, or take a family walk to the park.

What are you going to do to get your little one’s actively playing?

To find out more about the parenting website for Dads, you can visit the Daddilife website. Featuring everything from more information on playing, dad jokes, stay-at-home dads, and general parenting tips!

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