Keeping kids active and entertained over the holidays can be a challenge – especially if you’ve already been to the beach or park every day this week.
One area of activity that is often overlooked is outdoor play. Time spent outdoors needs to be more about just physical exercise. Children need to explore, investigate and climb trees, and have a sense that they’re discovering new things around them.
What’s great is that outdoor play can happen in your own backyard – set up a safe obstacle course, a treasure hunt or put up a tent. If you don’t have a suitable garden, take them to a park or along a hiking trail, and set some fun challenges along the way, so that it isn’t just about racking up kilometres. Or, slap on a layer of sunscreen, put on hats and teach them to fly kites or even body board or surf at the beach.
Research shows that children who exercise do better in school, control themselves better, and have fewer behaviour issues. Active children also:
- Have stronger muscles and bones
- Have leaner bodies, because regular exercise helps control body fat
- Are less likely to become overweight
- Have a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life
- Have lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. That’s right, these aren’t just “adult” conditions
- Have a positive attitude and better outlook on life
- Sleep better at night and are better equipped to handle physical and emotional challenges
So, enjoy and maximise the time spent with your children – it has as many benefits for you as it does for them.