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Keeping children active is an essential part of their growth and development, however 91% of children aged two to four are currently not meeting the UK physical activity guidelines for their age group of three hours a day.
The benefits of being active in our early years may seem obvious, such as brain and muscular development as well as maintaining a healthy weight, but it’s also been recognised that children who are more active have advanced cognitive skills such as coordination and movement, as well as enhanced social skills including more self-confidence allowing them to develop friendships easily.
The recommended three hours of activity a day can take any form such as everyday walking or cycling going about our daily routines, active play, dancing, gardening or sport. For younger children who may not be able to take part in these sorts of activities, simple games that move the whole body and get the children out of breath will have the same benefits.
Tops Day Nurseries encourage physical activity throughout the day by having a free-flow system in place, allowing children to have access to the garden as and when they like. They have a variety of garden apparatus including bikes and trikes, sand pits, trampolines, footballs and mud kitchens.
Inside, they have different activities set up by the practitioners. A lot of physical activity is encouraged through role play, children can pretend to be anything they want to be and explore a new area created specifically for their current interests. Some nurseries invite special guests along so the children can take part in music and movement sessions and even Bollywood dancing!
Tops Day Nurseries also offer extra-curricular activities for the children to take part in including Tops Forest School and Football Fridays. These sessions encourage children to explore their surroundings, work in a team, be vigilant and be active.
Promoting activeness in childhood means children are more likely to be active later in life and so is an important part of developing a lifelong healthy lifestyle. In addition to being physically active, Tops Day Nurseries will be launching their brand new sugar free menu in February 2016. Children will also have the opportunity to cook their favourite healthy foods during their Tops Cooking School sessions.
While the press may be speculating that nursery food standards are declining along with changes in government funding, Tops Day Nurseries continue to place children’s health and wellbeing at the top of their priority list, hence the introduction of their new menus. Recipes from the new menus including chickpea curry, herby pilchard pasta and apricot rice pudding can be shared with parents and staff, proving that healthy meals are still delicious meals and are just as cost effective as pizza and chips!