Supporting Children’s Physical and Outdoor Play

Decades of research have shown that play is an important mediator in the development of physical, social, cognitive, and language development of young children (Bergen, 2002; Garvey, 1993; Vygotsky, 1976). In spite of this, play faces threats from many directions in modern American life. Active play is being replaced by passive television viewing and computer use at home; opportunities to play are even disappearing in some schools. With a growing focus on academic achievement, some parents and policymakers are losing sight of the critical importance of active, physical play in the healthy development of young children.

Supporting Physical Development in Infants and Toddlers

Watch video. (3:20)

View a transcript of this video.

Incorporating Motor Play in the Preschool Curriculum

Watch video. (3:40)

View a transcript of this video.

Using an Obstacle Course to Promote Active Outdoor Play

Watch video. (3:07)

View a transcript of this video.

Nurturing Preschool Children’s Emotional Health Through Active Play

Watch video. (3:55)

View a transcript of this video.

Supporting Thinking in Infants and Toddlers Through Active Music and Play Experiences

Watch video. (2:36)

View a transcript of this video.

Download the Videos
Download these videos directly to your computer or iPod through iTunesU. You must have iTunes installed on your computer.

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Development of videos for this project involved a collaboration of early childhood faculty, health and physical education faculty, video production professionals, students, parents of young children, and teachers from Eastern’s Child and Family Development Resource Center.

  • Producer and Scriptwriter: Julia DeLapp
  • Videographer and Video Editor: Ken Measimer
  • Student Production Assistant: Kristin Chemerka
  • Content Experts: Dr. Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, Dr. Darren Robert, Dr. Ann Gruenberg
    Narration: Julia DeLapp

The Center would like to thank the early childhood professionals who served on the Teacher Advisory Committee for this project: Claudia Ahern, Kim Bartle, Patricia Gardner, Kimberly Lewendon, Ashlee Marouski, Patrice Ramm, Niloufar Rezai, Jessi Robey.


These videos were funded in part by Head Start Body Start.

For more information, contact Julia DeLapp.