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Physical activity and play@home

The publication of guidelines for children under 5 both for those who are not yet walking and for those who are able to walk means that for the first time across all four home countries we have clear guidance on supporting the promotion of physical activity with specific information for parents and professionals. Achieving 180 minutes ( 3 hours) of physical activity and reducing sedentary time can be achieved through play and play@home gives many age and stage of development ideas to support families at very little financial cost.

An evaluation of the play@home programme carried out by Queen Margaret University found no difference in the babies at baseline but, differences were identified between the intervention and control toddler group samples, with the intervention group reporting higher scores in gross motor, fine motor and problem solving skills, and higher scores in the Pleasure In Parenting Scale. In pre-school children, the intervention group reported higher scores in fine motor skills.

Follow-up data also found an increase in moderate to vigorous physical activity in the intervention pre-school group, equating to 50 minutes per week, while exit responses from the intervention group demonstrated that the majority of parents found the books useful or very useful.

play@home also promotes the importance of reading to and with children from birth.