Physical activity, through play and other activities, is important for children’s physical health as well as their mental health and cognitive development. There is also some evidence that if children are physically active when they are young they are more likely to adopt healthy lifestyles as they grow up.
Active play is the most common form of physical activity for children outside of school and children get more exercise from play than from time spent at clubs and organised activities. Children who walk and play a lot tend also to exhibit greater levels of activity in other areas of their lives. The aspects of physically active play most enjoyed by children include choice, fun, friends, achievement and the possibilities of competition. The element of fun tends to be the over-riding factor in encouraging physically active play.
It is easier for children to be physically active outdoors, where there is space and opportunity for them to move more freely. In Scotland, this may well mean playing outside in all weathers and even the dark.
This toolkit pulls together many active play ideas to help get our children and young people outdoors playing. This is essential for them to understand, value, enjoy and protect our natural world.