Outdoor play and active indoor play are important for teaching your child how to live a healthy lifestyle. Not only is it good for your babies health, exercise and play assist in cognitive and motor skill development. Studies have shown that babies and toddlers who exercise develop fine motor skills earlier and tend to do have better grades in school later in life. The benefits to baby and toddler development are as follows:
Gross Motor Skills
The major motor skills that are affected by the exercise and active play with your baby are walking, running, and posture. Studies have shown that the heavy stimulation in the motor cortex from exercise develop these gross motor skills faster. Developing these skills earlier may correlate to benefits in athletics and coordination later in life.
Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are the smaller movements that we develop that allows us to tie our shoes, write, picking up pens, etc. As with gross motor skills, exercise provides stimulation that cause the baby to develop these skills earlier than their counterparts. This early development may give your baby an edge later in life with intelligence and creativity.
As you can see, exercise important in the health, well-being, and development of your baby. Just as important as the exercise, is the type of exercise at each phase of development.
Age: Newborn to 1
Exercising with newborns is possible, but must be done with care. Most of the physical activity is similar to what we do naturally with our babies. Supervised floor-based play is important. With bellies on the floor, babies use their muscles to push themselves up and move their heads. Also, playing with your baby to stimulate reaching, grasping, pushing, pulling, and crawling helps build muscles. Your infant should be active several times a day.
Age: 1- 4
When your baby is between the age of one and four, exercise or active play should be increased to at least 180 minutes each day. Dancing, walking, running, bouncing, or simply climbing stairs are just a few things that are good ways to keep your baby active.
Children five and older should graduate to at least 60 minutes of more energetic play like hopping, skipping, running, bike riding, playing tag, and other similar activities. It is important to remember to limit TV time to an hour when children are younger, and children should not sit for more than one hour at a time.
CapitalKidz.com has a wide range of out door play toys and items to help facilitate exercise and active play. Find the right products to keep your baby healthy, and to jump start their cognitive development!
"Health, Safety and Nutrition for the Young Child"; Lyn R. Marotz; 2011
"Child Psychology: Development in a Changing Society"; Robin Harwood, et al.; 2008
Research Quarterly For Exercise and Sport; "Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Overweight Children’s Cognitive Functioning"; Catherine L. Davis, et al.; December 2007
"What's Going On In There?"; Lise Eliot; 2000