As humans we’re made to move – however, busy modern life can sometimes make it difficult. As many as 4 out of 5 children in Australia aren’t getting the 60 minutes of activity per day needed for good health. This ideal number is even higher for little ones aged 1 to 5 years, who are recommended to have at least 3 hours of physical activity spread out over their day. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to get moving more.
The benefits of physical activity for children
There are so many benefits of children being active as they grow and develop. Physical activity helps children to develop healthy muscles, bones and joints. It improves coordination, posture and balance, and supports a healthy weight. Moving is also great for heart and lung health, and helps to make essential connections between the body and brain. And of course, starting off with physical activity at an early age helps to build the blocks for a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
So what are some physical activity ideas for children to encourage running, stretching, learning and growing healthily?
How to encourage physical activity for children
If a child is unsure about participating in physical activity, there are many ways we can encourage them to get moving in enjoyable ways.
Encourage a sense of fun
Lots of the best physical activities don’t involve structured ways of playing. Consider the following fun ways to increase everyday exercise:
- Learning to fly a kite
- Playing under the sprinklers
- Inventing new games
- Silly dances every morning
- Building sandcastles at the beach
Get active together
It’s a great idea to actively participate in physical activities with a child from early in life. This can be as simple as walking around the neighbourhood and saying hi to neighbours, or include dancing, bike riding, skipping or backyard games.
Vary activities around the child’s enjoyment
Children often gravitate towards certain activities, providing opportunities for encouragement. A child’s love of catching and throwing might lead to a love of sports like cricket, tennis or frisbee. Or, if your child loves music they might embrace dance or gymnastics as they grow older.
Provide a safe yet flexible environment
The right environment can be crucial in building a little one’s physical confidence and capabilities. Aurrum Kids centres are each designed to provide a flexible yet safe environment in childcare to encourage both structured and free physical play, in all weather.
Include physical activity in the everyday
There are so many ways to get moving during daily activities. Holding a race to tidy bedrooms, washing the car together or walking to school are just a few examples. Our early learning educators also incorporate gardening as part of our Playground to Plate approach.
Be prepared for physical fun
Consider gifting sporting equipment like scooters, bikes, balls or skipping ropes for birthdays to build excitement. When these are readily available at home and in the car, children can easily incorporate them into their games and free play.
We’d love to show you around. If you’d like to explore the rich learning environments and the Early Years Learning Framework at Aurrum Kids in Mornington or Ballarat, get in touch with our friendly team today.