How much exercise does your preschool-aged child get during recess?
In a recent study that compared structured play, free play and spending time in a classroom setting containing books, computers and learning stations both forms of play resulted in greater activity levels. However, there were also differences in a child's activity levels within these two types of play.
A highly active child during free play was significantly less active during structured play. Conversely, the child who was least active to moderately active during free play was significantly more active during structured play. This study also suggests that, similarly to different styles of learning in the classroom there may also be different types of recess activity that are more beneficial for your child.
In conclusion, this study finds that while free play and structured play are both beneficial there may also be differences in how a child responds to the two types of exercise environments. Understanding these differences and what a young child needs at this age could have significant impact on a child's lifetime approach to physical activity.
Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness, Volume 16, Issue 1, April 2018, Pates 37-42