The preschool facility is much more than just a building. It's a play space where learning happens daily. Along with developing cognitive (memory, problem-solving) and other intellectual abilities, your child will also build physical skills. Take a look at why exercise is important for the young child and how the preschool environment encourages physical fitness that can lead to your child's motor development success.
Why is physical play crucial for the young child and their development? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that children age six and up get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day to stay healthy. Even though the CDC's guidelines don't specifically state set time amounts for younger children, experts believe that preschoolers also need plenty of exercise opportunities throughout the week.
Physical play should include a variety of activities that promote different parts of motor development, such as muscle strength-building, balance, and coordination. Along with these abilities, physical activity should also include an aerobic (cardio) workout that is age-appropriate for a preschool-aged child.
Physical fitness activities don't always need to include set or specific exercises. Free play in an outdoor setting is an ideal early childhood motor adventure — with or without playground equipment. Outdoor equipment, such as a climber, obviously encourages physical play. The name implies what the children will literally do. They'll climb up and down the jungle gym-like structure, building strength, improving balance, and getting a workout.
But non-equipment-related outdoor play can also play an equal role in physical fitness. Whether the preschoolers are running, playing tag, rolling through a grassy space, or simply exploring the area, they're also exercising.
A rainy or cold day doesn't have to equal the end of physical fitness play. Moving the activity indoors is easy, with some creative curriculum planning. A preschool classroom dance party adds excitement, entertainment and a major cardio workout to the regular preschool day.
Other activities, such as follow the leader or an indoor obstacle course, are also simple answers to the question "how can a child exercise without the benefit of an outdoor area/open space?"
Including exercise and physical fitness activities in the preschooler's day is crucial for every child's healthy development. The preschool facility can support this type of activity through both outdoor and indoor play. From climbing on playground equipment and racing around a playground to an in-classroom dance party, preschools can support physical fitness in plenty of completely age-appropriate ways.