Staying healthy is a concern that we all share, and when it comes to parents, it’s a concern that extends to the entire family. Finding new, engaging and effective strategies for activities that help to build healthy habits in children can sometimes feel like an uphill battle.
The good news? There are tremendous health benefits to be found in things your kids are already doing — like playing. And with just a little bit of understanding and encouragement, you ensure that playtime is a reliable avenue for positive childhood development, with health benefits that last long after cleanup time.
Encouraging a better understanding of the many mental and physical health benefits of play is a part of the mission of the Children’s Museum, where these benefits are explored and uncovered every day at each of their four locations — Downtown, Chesterfield, Short Pump and Fredericksburg.
Through play, children are able to enhance both their physical and their mental development in healthy and productive ways — from simply getting some good exercise to skills that can even help them perform better in school. As they say at the Children’s Museum, when children play ahead, they get ahead.
Research shows that play is an essential part of a child’s physical and mental development — and the more often they engage in play at an active, supportive environment like the Children’s Museum, the more likely they are to find success inside the classroom.
Of course, there’s a physical component to most playtime as well, as any visit to the Children’s Museum will confirm. A child’s natural energy and physical movements make play a chance to further enhance both their fine and gross motor development skills. Physical activity during playtime also promotes good cardiovascular health, strength and endurance.
However, physical play doesn’t necessarily always mean running, jumping or turning a somersault. Drawing, painting, singing, climbing—all of these activities are also defined as physical play, and examples of each can be found at the Children’s Museum.
All four area locations feature hands-on art studios, giving children the resources and space needed to properly explore their growing motor development skills in the most creative of ways. In addition, all four Children’s Museum locations feature cultural events and activities throughout the year, which often include music, singing and dancing.
Climbing is a constant activity at the Children’s Museum Downtown, thanks to the giant treehouse located in the very center of the museum, while parents can literally watch their children climb the walls at the Chesterfield location. At the Short Pump location, kids get plenty of activity by pretending to be ants and discovering pathways through a human-sized ant farm. And at ten feet tall, the Tire Tower at our Fredericksburg location is a giant-sized climbing adventure. With a visit to any Children’s Museum location, your child is sure to find areas and exhibits that encourage physical play.
Promoting healthy socialization skills is still another benefit of play, and another reason to visit the Children’s Museum, where children are given the opportunity to meet and play with children of all backgrounds, in nearly every activity and exhibit offered. That means countless opportunities to develop essential skills like cooperation, impulse control and emotional regulation. Even learning to wait patiently for their turn to scale that previously mentioned climbing wall at the Children’s Museum Chesterfield is a chance to develop self-control skills. By adopting and refining these types of skills through play, children are more likely to find both academic and social success later in life.