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  Play - A Life Saver For Children

Think of what children are doing today to "PLAY" versus 10-20 years ago. Things have really changed and not for the best.

Our society and especially children have been caught up in the electronics revolution. Too many children are moving their fingers....but not their bodies.  On top of this, "PLAY" is critical to the development of a child's ability to succeed as an adult.  It is not only a 'life saver.'  It is a 'life shaper,' as well.

Check out more on this important topic below.


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PLAYTIME - AT LEAST 2 HOURS PER DAY

The Benefits of PLAY

We devoted this whole page to PLAY, as we think it is one of the missing links in the development of children. To clarify, we are describing PLAY which involves physical activity, not where children are sedentary or just moving their fingers playing a video game.

The benefits of PLAY from a physical standpoint are well established. Dr. William Bird, a world health expert on physical activity, states why the physical benefit is only one of the benefits.  "Physical activity is essential for normal development of your child's brain. The brain in an inactive child fails to develop normally with fewer neuronal connections. Children's behavior and learning is improved by physical activity," says Bird.

PLAY has many benefits. First, PLAY allows...'kids can be kids.'  PLAY is where children are moving, communicating, and socializing with other children. When children PLAY, they grow in physical, mental, social and spiritual ways. PLAY is where moms and dads are not hovering over them in a way where they can't be themselves. When children PLAY, they make decisions on their own, they learn to work with other children, they takePeter Gray Monitor risks, they communicate with their peers, and they are creative. Think about how, as a child, if you wanted to play soccer, baseball or any sport with your friends, without your parents being around. You set your own rules. If you did not have enough players to have a right fielder, you would close right field so balls hit to the right were outs.  This creative process is one that benefits children when they are left alone to find solutions.

An expert in the childhood development, Peter Gray gives us further insight. "Play is nature's means for young human beings to acquire the skills to develop successfully into adulthood."  Peter Gray, a professor at Boston College, recently spoke for 16 minutes on the evolution of childhood and play. Click on the video image to the right and it will take you to this page. You will be amazed by what he says.

What Has Happened To PLAY?

There are many answers to the question "What has happened to PLAY?," but we have a few reasons:Play Not Play Collage

  • Many sports & other activities are too serious and structured - We need to make sure "fun" is the driving reason children play a sport or do an activity. Many of the structured sport activities have become too serious. "Travel Teams" and constant parent supervision can take away the fun of sports or activities.
  • Electronic devices - Video games, social media and other technology devices have made it too easy for children to be left alone.  We even see groups of children together where they are all communicating with their heads focused on their smartphones. Nothing is moving except their fingers....not even their lips!
  • Availability of safe locations - Yes, this is an issue. But, we challenge every parent to find locations for their children to play. Even if it takes a parent to be there (in a low key way), everyone can find locations for children to play.
  • Longer school days - School days have increased in length and also eliminated play time (recess and physical education) from the school environment.  Longer days also cut down on after school PLAY time.
  • Children's days & lives are too structured - As Peter Gray says, kids have lost their freedom to be kids and too often are doing things which relate to 'resume building.'  PLAY is one of the few times where children take control of their lives.

Looking For Solutions? PHIT America Has Some

We can't tackle every issue, but we have some great solutions for every parent. Create a PLAYTIME for your children of at least two hours per day. 

  • Brain Breaks Exercises - Imagine having a library of FREE exercise videos designed for children. These fun videos from our friends at HOPSports are short bouts of physical activity with engaging graphics and music that are 'streamed directly into your home, classroom or to a mobile device.'  Click HERE to learn more.

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  • 40+ Fun Ways For Children To PLAY - Here are 40 ideas or ways for children to get active and PLAY. These are for children to do on their own...or with very little parent supervision. Click HERE to see our list.
  • 40+ Fun Family Fitness Activities - There are many family fitness ideas and we have 50 for you to review. Please remember to make this focused on fun. It is also great to get the whole family active and moving together. Click HERE to see a list of ideas.
  • GetFitHere.org Database - For the USA, PHIT America has a database of more than 50 sports or activities for adults and children.  Many of these are more structured programs. Click HERE for the GetFitHere.org database to access this list and to find a program or a professional in your area.

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