10 ways to keep kids active
Want to keep kids healthy, happy and active? Check out our top 5 ways to exercise through play, keeping your little ones moving...
Kids that are getting a good amount of exercise will feel the benefits in everything from bone and muscle strength to concentration skills and mood. It's good to incorporate a mixture of moderate and vigorous activity into each week. Examples of moderate activity include walking, cycling and riding a scooter, while vigorous activity includes playing chase, energetic dancing, jumping, gymnastics and football. According to the NHS website, children and parents should be aiming for the following:
- Kids aged five to 16 need to be active for at least 60 minutes each day
- Kids under five need three hours of activity a day
Here are our top tips for having fun and keeping active...
Walk one mile
The Daily Mile campaign was initiated by headmistress Elaine Wyllie, when she realised that her pupils, like many others, were not as fit as they could be. The aim of the daily mile is to improve the physical, emotional and social health of children, regardless of age or personal circumstances. Whether children walk, skip or run, the goal remains the same. Teachers have seen a change in concentration levels, mood, behaviour and general wellbeing in kids that have incorporated this into their daily routine. A fitness tracker can be a fun way to time this, or you can simply spend 15 minutes making your way around the block.
Nothing will get kids moving like a spray of ice cold water. Whether you pick up some cheap water shooters or turn on the hose in the garden, this activity should keep everyone from toddlers to teens happy. Want to try something new? Turn a traditional egg and spoon race on its head by switching the eggs for water bombs – the winner will then get to chase his or her victims with their intact water bomb. One word of warning, you need to be able to give as good as you get.
Whether you're searching for Pokémon, some fake gold coins or just pieces of cut out paper, you may be surprised at just how fast kids move when there's a treasure hunt on offer. Spread your treasure around high and low, whether it's indoors or in your garden. This is a great game for siblings together or a child playing solo. If you want to go the whole hog, make a treasure map look authentic with a bit of tea staining. There are plenty of treasure hunt clues and free printable graphics if you look online. Prizes can include stickers, fake costume jewellery, stick-on badges or just honour!
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Simply turning on some music and dancing with your kids is a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Have a competition for the craziest dance move, try your hand at breakdancing, bellydancing or even keeping a hula hoop up. It's remarkable how much entertainment a couple of balloons can create too. See who can win at the ‘keeping them from touching the floor’ game – you never know, they may have an Olympic career ahead of them. The only equipment you'll need is a good soundtrack.
If your child has a bit of competitive spirit, try using a stopwatch and time them running the length of the garden – they'll be keen to beat their personal best. You may also be amazed at how quickly their time improves with regular practice. Try adding in star jumps or hopping on one foot for comedy effect. You could even host a mini sports day using our ideas for games and treats.
Cycling as a family makes a great day out. Take your bikes out to your nearest park or countryside cycle route and enjoy exploring in the fresh summer air. Riding a bike helps to find-tune balance and co-ordination, as well as building up leg and core strength. Make sure you take plenty of water and snacks in your rucksack if you plan on going for a while.
This is an easy one to do either at home with an online tutorial or out in a class setting. Yoga is a great and safe way to work on balance, flexibility and strength whilst also working on breathing techniques. Research suggests that there are great mental benefits to practising yoga as well as physical, as it helps to create a sense of calm whilst reducing stress and tension. A short yoga session would make for a relaxing way to wind down after a busy day as a family.
Climbing uses every part of your body and will give your kids an amazing sense of achievement when they complete a route. Take them down to a dedicated climbing gym, or a number of leisure centres now have climbing walls too. You might also be near to an outdoor climbing wall. Look for places that offer introductory lessons if it’s their first time. For more information on how to get started visit the British Mountaineering Council’s website.
For an entertaining way to develop balance, coordination and agility, rollerblading or skateboarding are fun options. It's a great low-impact sport that builds lower body strength. Visit an indoor roller rink or head down to your local skate park which you can find on The Skatepark Projects website.
A cheap and easy way of getting your kids active, you can get them skipping in your garden if you have one, or take them down to your local park. It's an easy way of getting their heart rate up and can be adapted to make a fun group or solo activity. Make sure you’ve got a longer rope if you’re in a group and someone can hold either end whilst people jump in the middle.
Find guides on everything from the best wooden play food and kids baking set ideas to amazing space projects for kids in our family & kids section. Plus, take a look at our baking recipe collection for kids.
What do you do to keep your kids active? We'd love to hear from you below...