At Little Pandas ELC we have this week started our Term 2 Extra Curricular activities.  Read about the benefit of Physical activity and motor skill development below.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILL DEVELOPMENT

The preschool years are known as the ‘Golden Age’ of motor development. It is during these years (2 to 5‐years of age) that important skills like running, jumping, throwing, and catching are developed. Through play and physical activity, children learn and practice skills that become building blocks for more complicated movements. Physical activity helps pre-schoolers develop motor skills today that they will need for tomorrow.

Intensity Matters:

There are many different forms of physical activity, but not all of them benefit your child in the same way. Research shows that moderate to vigorous physical activity is most important for developing motor skills. Here are some visible signs that can indicate the intensity of your child’s physical activity:

Sedentary: child is not participating in any physical movement (e.g. TV viewing, reading, drawing, naps)

Light: child is not out of breath (e.g. moving about, standing up, walking at a slow pace)

Moderate to Vigorous: child’s heart is beating fast; child may be out of breath (e.g. running, swimming, biking)

Right from birth, your child is learning how to control their body movements and how to interact with the world around them. This learning process is called motor skill development. Motor skills can be divided into three types:

locomotor (e.g. running, hopping, jumping), object control (e.g. throwing, catching, kicking), and stability and balance. It is during the preschool years that children improve the most in these skills. Physical activity is important for motor development, especially for improving locomotor skills. Research has found that children who spend the most time in moderate to vigorous physical activity tend to have the highest motor skill. Children who are the least active have the lowest motor skills. This may be because physically active children spend more time learning and improving new motor skills. Children with better motor skills may also find physical activity easier and more fun. We know that motor skills do not always improve naturally. As a parent or caregiver, it is important to introduce children to new movements and create opportunities for them to practice. By encouraging physical activity, you not only help children improve their motor skills, but you also help them increase their confidence.

(CHILD HEALTH & EXERCISE MEDICINE PROGRAM McMaster University Issue 3, July 2011)

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