Children are full of energy and will naturally burn that energy off, given the opportunity. However, children are also easily lured by television and computer games, and these are blamed for many children never getting any exercise outside of school.
How can you get your kids more active? There are many common activities such as soccer, swimming and cycling, but also many alternative options. Here we look at some of our favorite ways to get our children more involved in active play.
Play in the Park
Kids play areas in parks provide an excellent full body workout. Climbing, running, jumping and swinging work a lot of muscles and kids love to play. Many parks have climbing frames with monkey bars, and small climbing walls and ropes to climb are becoming more common again.
Taking the kids to the park is also a great excuse to meet up with other parents for a chat and some time for yourself out of the home. Plus, research has shown that exercising outdoors helps to lift your mood.
Play fighting is mostly a pastime for boys, but some girls do join in. It is often hard as a parent to sit and watch as you are forever worried that somebody is going to get hurt. However, most of the time the kids play within their own set boundaries and no harm is done.
Kids are more likely to role play when fighting, such as playing knights and pirates or characters from their favorite cartoons and films, such as Star Wars, Spiderman and Batman.
Karate is a very popular martial art for children. Children’s karate classes start with fun games to get the kids moving and warmed up. These games usually playing a games similar to dodgeball but using focus pads which are punched across the line.
Children are given exercises similar to adults too, burpees are done throughout some classes as punishment for the losing team – or children who do not keep quiet!
Karate works on belts and badges which provide a great incentive for the children to keep training. Kids love winning badges!
Of course, karate is not the only option. Many kung-fu and Judo clubs also have excellent classes for children.
Fencing is a sport which encourages children to concentrate and focus while also improving reflex speed, agility and flexibility.
Fencing tends to be far more relaxed than karate and some children will excel in such an environment.
The main downside of fencing is that there are fewer clubs around.
Archery has some similarities with fencing. It requires a lot of concentration, so is a great activity for children who find it hard to focus on a single task for long.
Archery forces them to focus on one thing only and teaches patience too. The personal reward for hitting the center is enough to keep most children captivated.
Like fencing archery is a rather elite sport so it can be hard to find a class nearby.
Rolling Down Hills
Just being outdoors can give children a lot of free rein to run around and enjoy themselves, which will get them active. Rolling down a small hill is a lot of fun for kids and burns a lot of energy – at least running to the top of the hill to do it again does.
Obviously you should pick a very small hill that is covered in soft grass, such as the one pictured.
Exercise Reward Chart
Kids love winning badges and stickers, so to help you to encourage your children to be more active we have created an exercise reward chart. Tick a box for every day that exercise is performed and then when they have done it 5 times they win a badge / sticker. You can either print out the chart twice and use one copy to create your own stickers, or you could make your own rewards for your children.
Activities such as basketball and dance can be done at hope or in the park. Soccer can be a kick around with the family in a garden or at the park.
If each activity is done once per week they can win 9 rewards in a month.