Peaceful Playgrounds Finding #3: More balls, jump ropes results in active children.

Peaceful Playgrounds research has suggested that adding more consumable equipment like balls, bean bags and jump ropes to playgrounds results in more active children. (Peaceful Playgrounds Research)

A study published in the January 2008 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine further substantiates that claim. Researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health examined environmental factors that encourage children to be active with greater intensity and for longer periods of time. The study reports that children play harder and longer when their child care centers provide portable play equipment (like balls, hula hoops, jump ropes and riding toys), more opportunities for active play and physical activity training and education for staff and students.

The study showed that children had more moderate and vigorous physical activity and fewer minutes of sedentary activity when their center had more portable play equipment, including balls, hoola hoops, jump ropes and riding toys, offered more opportunities for active play (inside and outside), and had physical activity training and education for staff and students. Stationary equipment, like climbing structures, swings and balance beams, were associated with lower intensity physical activity, researchers said, but are beneficial to other aspects of child development, such as motor and social skills.

Although previous research pointed to a link between physical activity and the child care center that children attend, there had been little data explaining which aspects of the child care environment actually promoted vigorous physical activity.

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