Guest Column - March 2008
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Get 'em off the Couch...And Onto the Playground

By Matt Miller

Because so many schools are reducing physical education requirements, families cannot depend on scheduled gym classes to fulfill their children's physical activity needs. Parents need to take an active role in educating their children on the value of play and how getting enough exercise is pivotal to their health.

Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that one-third of high school students do not partake in the minimum amount of 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity a day that is recommended.

In order to attract more children, park districts around the country are changing the image of their playgrounds. With spring upon us and summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to amplify kid's excitement in outdoor activity. Taking the family to the local park gets everyone moving. Parents don't have to sit on the sidelines anymore since many newer parks offer multiple activities for adults to participate in with their kids.

When playing with others on a playground, children are less aware of how much they are running around and exercising, they're just having fun. From a young age, children generally like to be involved in what other kids are doing, so scheduled playtime during school and at home is key to their social and physical health. After all, having fun is contagious. Getting kids into the routine of going outside to play helps set a good foundation for an active life.

As the times change and our children become more engrossed in technology, parents need to make sure that the activities available to their children are cutting-edge. New and exciting equipment must be provided that simultaneously benefits their children's growth and development while also holding their interest in today's high-tech world.


Matt Miller is president of Playworld Systems Inc., a leader in customized recreation equipment expertly designed to provide fun and challenging activities that increase mental and physical wellness. Miller's tenure at Playworld Systems has led him to travel extensively to review and study playgrounds, and explore how children learn and develop through play. For more information, visit