Why is Active Free Play so key to the Balanced Play Diet?

September 13, 2016 Published by

Active free play: The superfood of the play diet


At the top of the play diet pyramid is active free play, which we call the superfood of the play diet. This type of play is considered the most beneficial to children, so it’s what they need the most of. If they have enough open play space and toys to facilitate, children will naturally be very active (BTHA 2012).

Active play is fantastic exercise, helping keep your child fit and healthy and avoiding health problems like obesity. For toddlers and pre-schoolers in particular, active play strengthens their arm, leg and core muscles (known as gross motor development). This development is important for school, as these muscles are needed for everything from sitting at a table, to improving the hand control needed for holding a pencil to write.


Free play is also great for creativity. Children will use toys as props for imaginative play, e.g. a trike can become a horse riding through fields, or a car just like mum’s. From about three to four years-old they will often play together, which is ideal practise for making friends and communicating.

So it’s important to make sure you are encouraging your child to partake in lots of active free play during their play time, in order to develop these skills. There are lots of products that will help to get your children active and you can find our recommended products here.



The British Toy and Hobby Association (2012). Getting kids active: it’s just child’s play

Harvard Gazette (2015). Keeping an eye on screen time

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This post was written by Anna Taylor

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