Play sessions get children more active than at any other time of the school day according to new report
The ‘Active Play Report’ measured primary school children’s activity levels first hand and found that physical activity during play is higher than at break-times, lunch-breaks and some school PE lessons. In fact, children were moderately or vigorously active for almost twice as long when given toys and cardboard boxes to play with than in the school PE lesson that were monitored.
This new research has revealed that playing is the best route to physical activity for primary school children. The study, undertaken by the British Toy & Hobby association (BTHA) and the Institute of Youth Sport at Loughborough University, suggests that children are more active when given time to play than at any other time in their school day. Making play the most effective way for primary school children to reach the minimum government guidelines. Examining the views of 2000 parents on the activity levels of their children – more than a quarter of which admit their children get just 30 minutes or less of physical activity a day. Parents acknowledge this may not be enough however; almost half agree with government guidelines that children should have an hour or more physical activity a day.
The university research studied children in play sessions, with a variety of toys including space hoppers, hula hoops and dance mats or with cardboard boxes in both in both indoor and outdoor scenarios and during school activities such as break-times and PE lessons. They were observed in 30 minute play sessions across four days using accelerometers and heart rate monitors to measure their activity levels. This latest study highlights the substantial contribution that active play can have at getting children to reach daily activity levels.