Do You Know How Much Playtime Kids Need Each Day?

how much playtime do kids need

Have you ever wondered how much playtime kids need each day? Then what type of playtime do they need? Structured, free play or even adult guided play: our children thrive on it! As the Number 1 way children learn, it’s essential you know how much playtime kids need to give them the best start at life.

Guideline to How Much Playtime Kids Need

Children learn through play. Experimenting with different toys, sharing with others, making connections with their cultural identity are all so important. When our kids can interact with a range of resources, they take risks, try new activities and learn how things work. But how much time should they be playing every day and what types of play should they be?

Well there is play and there is physical activity. Often the two are put together, but let’s look at them both separately for a moment.

In terms of physical activity, there are three main types: aerobic, muscle strengthening and bone strengthening. According to the CDC, your children need 60 minutes or more of aerobic exercise each day. They also need 60 minutes or more of both muscle and bone strengthening activity at least three days per week. Physical activity play not only helps keep kids fit, but also develops their motor skills and improves their health and wellbeing.

In terms of play, let’s define as doing something for fun, rather than a serious or practical purpose. This can include:

  • Unstructured Play - playing alone where the child decides what toys they need and how to use them. This could be playing with blocks, dressing up or sitting at their own kid sized table
  • Structured Play - playing with toys chosen by an adult and using them in a set way to do a specific thing. This could be playing a game of hockey, playing board games or building a K’nex Turbo Jet.

 Person, Do You Know How Much Playtime Kids Need Each Day?

How Much Should We Play with Our Kids?

Back in the 1970’s, Dad went to work and Mum stayed home with the kids. As well as looking after the house, she also spent many hours playing with her kids. Today this is rarely the case. As parents, we often feel guilty that we are not spending enough time with our kids, let alone playing with them! A study done by Melissa Milkie from the University of Pennsylvania showed that it’s not the amount of time that’s important, but the quality that counts.  Milkie did not identify a set number of hours we should play with our kids, but rather that it is the quality of the parent time which is the key factor. Activities such as reading, bike riding, playing board games, building or imaginary activities provide the quality time with parents which is so necessary

To learn more about the benefits of play, check out our 7 Benefits of Play You May Not Have Known article. You can also buy a great range of toys for playing with your child right here at New Zealand’s best online toy shop: KidzStuff Online!



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1 comment

Thanks for the info! Really interesting to learn about the differences between play, physical activity and how much kids need.

Hayley Maxwell

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