How can you increase your child’s activity without making it about exercise? The answer is in combining play and exercise. With these ideas for active play, you and your kids will be getting exercise with the added bonus of it being fun at the same time. Are you wondering how much exercise kids need and why it is so important to be active? We answer that and give you 10 active play ideas for toddlers and older children too.
Why Active Play For Toddlers Is Important
In 2012 by the Australian National University studied 700 primary school children over a 4 year period and found lean children were doing far more physical activity that those who were overweight. On average larger children did not eat any more in terms of the number of calories or fat than the kids who were leaner. That is not to say that a well-balanced diet should go by the wayside if a child’s physical activity increases and let’s leave the discussion of sugar for another time. It is still important to have a balanced diet and forgoing one for the other will not see any improvement overall.
Increasing your child’s physical activity regardless of their weight can only be a good thing. The more they exercise and increase their fitness the more they will crave better foods as well as finding calmness at the end of the day and an improvement in the quality of their sleep. Building muscles also helps them build strong bones.
Here are some excellent suggestions for combining play and exercise. These ideas for active play include both cardio and strengthening components which are both beneficial. Strengthening exercises improve lean muscle mass which burns more energy and cardio improves heart health.
Ideas For Active Play – 10 ways to exercise and have fun at the same time!
- Frog jump races.
The action of crouching down and jumping up is a perfect exercise in strengthening leg muscles. Doing the sound effects adds to the fun!
- Playing tip/tag.
This is a great cardio exercise and has everyone running around burning off calories.
- Hopping or jumping on the spot. See who can hop or jump the longest. Hopping in particular is good because it helps kids with their balance. Or jump rope.
- Dancing statues.
Dancing is a great way to exercise but it is even better if there are doing dancing statues where they have to freeze when the music stops. If they move, they are out. This is excellent interval training where they increase their heart rate when dancing and then bring it down again when they stop. Bit like burning gas in your car if you are stopping and starting all the time.
- Keepings off.
A game of keeping the ball from one person in the middle and the ball is thrown without that person getting it. If the person in the middle gets the ball then the person who threw the ball is now the one in the middle.
- Musical chairs.
Lots of running around involved as well as sitting down and getting up again in a squatting action which is good for the legs.
Again lots of running around involved as well as working on gross motor skills.
- Treasure hunt. (For things other than candy and chocolate!) Teams are great to keep them moving at a fast pace as they hunt.
Biking or wit your kids is a great way to get active. They can use their training wheel if they are still learning.
Taking a journey on their foot powered scooters is another great way to get in some active play.
All of these ideas for active play not only provide exercise but help kids with their gross motor, balance and social skills and the beauty is that you can play most of these games with a minimum of two kids/people but the more the merrier. The key is to keep them moving.
So have fun and watch the time fly! What are some of your favorite ideas for active play?