Summer is a great time for children to play, explore and get active outdoors. Gone are the dreary winter months; instead, fantastic summery days have arrived, filled with endless opportunities for fun and engaging outdoor activities!
Of course, this means your kids may need to put down their tablets, phones, and screens, but with the sun shining outdoors, this shouldn't be too difficult a task to do! Check out these easy activity tips for parents to get kids moving this summer!
How Does Exercise Benefit Young Children?
Encouraging our kids to exercise is important for their growth and development. Regular exercise benefits our children in the following ways:
- Develops muscle strength and coordination
- Increases flexibility
- Improves cognitive function (concentration and thinking skills)
- Develops healthy joints, muscles, and bones
- Encourages better posture and balance
- Promotes healthy heart and lung development
- Helps maintain a healthy weight
At What Age Should Parents Start Encouraging Physical Activity?
Exercise benefits children of all ages; however, we're not suggesting your 2-year-old starts regularly working out at the gym! Instead, think small-scale and fun when it comes to exercise for kids.
Encouraging basic movement through play such as tag, hide and seek or catch are excellent ways to get your little one off the sofa and into the great outdoors! In fact, any movement that motivates them to get physically active is good; it doesn't have to be a structured sport or activity.
You can introduce more complex games like hopscotch or jumping rope as your kids get older.
Remember, playtime is also a form of exercise for children. Playing with friends or siblings not only develops strength and coordination but also promotes essential social and problem-solving skills and encourages them to stay engaged longer than if they were to do the activity alone.
8 Creative Tips Parents Can Use to Help Kids Keep Fit This Summer:
- Organize an obstacle course: You can use old cushions, garden furniture, cones, hula hoops, and rope to set up the course. Have them jump over small objects, crawl under tables, slither through the hula hoops, and jog around chairs. An obstacle course is an excellent way to get your kids running around and having fun at the same time!
- Go on a nature hike: Nature hikes allow you and the kids to explore the outdoors while being active. Top tip* Bring along a camera so they can document their adventures. You could also make it a scavenger hunt! Have your child see how many pine cones, interesting stones, or flowers they can collect along the way.
- Go on a bear hunt! Okay, so maybe not an actual bear hunt. Instead, head to the woods and spend a fun afternoon pretending to walk like a bear, hop like a frog or bunny, soar like an eagle, and pounce like a lion. It's bound to be immense fun, plus it will get them moving in a fun and interactive way!
- Make yoga part of your routine: Yoga is great for increasing flexibility, coordination, and balance in kids, plus it teaches them how to stay focused and relaxed. Don't panic; you won't need to become a yoga instructor to teach the kids; there are many online videos with easy yoga poses for kids and wobbly adults!
- Invest in a trampoline: Trampolines are perfect for getting the whole family outdoors and bouncing around.
- Skipping rope: Possibly the simplest and most fun outdoor activity since long before iPhones were even dreamed about! This activity not only provides hours of fun but gets little hearts pumping (increases heart rate) and muscles working.
- Disco Jumping Jacks: Anyone who has done gym at school knows how to do a basic jumping jack. They're a fun and easy way to exercise! Pop on the music and get the kids to do them in time to the beat; they'll give your little one a good cardio workout and plenty of giggles at the same time!
- Dance Mania: Forget professional dance moves. If you can't do them, that's fine. All you and the kids need to do is some funky jives to the music. It's a super cool way to get your heart rates up while having a laugh and enjoying some family time together.
Top positive parenting tip* Invest in appropriate outdoor clothing and kids shoes so they can play and exercise comfortably.
The Final Jive
By implementing exercise in a fun way, parents can help foster healthy habits in their children from an early age. Don't be afraid to get active this summer, and encourage your little ones to do the same. Remember, positive parenting is only effective when we lead by example!