Want smart and healthy kids? The importance of play time, and how much should be allotted per day

MILWAUKEE -- Most kids are soaking up the final weeks of summer break and the weather outside is perfect for playing -- but that doesn't always mean kids are as active as they should be. Tammy Hilgeman, a special education teacher with Penfield Children's Center, joins Real Milwaukee to talk about why parents should prioritize play time.

With summer in full swing, it is important to ensure that children remain active in order to achieve proper physical and mental development, starting at an early age. Through play, children have the opportunity to engage imagination and explore their surroundings. What people often don`t know is that in addition to helping with physical development, play also helps to enhance a child`s concentration, attention, creativity and overall cognitive development. We will walk through easy and active play activities that are accessible to all and require little resources.

60 minutes of unstructured, open ended play and 30 minutes of caregiver or parent led play is recommended.

Here are some ways you can get in that amount of activity:

• A DIY cube. The cube activities work on rolling the cube, following the direction, and turn taking. This also helps children learn to wait and follow through with the various activities, working on muscle groups, bilateral movement, and getting kids moving. The best part is that families or caregivers can write activities that work for each individual level.

• Different colored plastic buckets and ball - simple and versatile activity purposed to have the child throw the ball into the specific color or numbered bucket in order to encourage physical and cognitive development.
• You could also build an obstacle course outside using items you can find around your house and yard, and a large cardboard box.