Fun fitness ideas for your kids
Regardless of how old your children are, there’s a way to make exercise fun for the whole family. Don’t panic – while doing active things together as a family is important and is a healthy habit to develop, you don’t always have to be active together. With busy lifestyles, that’s not realistic or achievable 100 per cent of the time. But, if you want to turn exercising into a lifelong habit for your children, it’s important to encourage activities that they’ll genuinely enjoy.
Here are some age-appropriate suggestions that will encourage your children to get out there.
Ages 1-5: Buy active play equipment, such as tricycles and balls. Arrange daily outings to a playground that has climbing equipment, enrol in weekly swimming lessons and let your children walk, rather than always pushing them in a pram.
Ages 6-11: Encourage activities such as swimming, bike and scooter riding, bowling, kite flying, and trampolining. Organise fun, family excursions to the beach, park, rock-climbing centre or ice-skating rink. Try various new sports and use exercise as a reward, by providing gifts that encourage activity, like a skateboard, basketball, hula hoop or Frisbee.
Ages 12-18: Support active interests, such as bike riding, skateboarding and surfing. Encourage your children to walk to the bus stop and local shops, and to play different sports on weekends, such as netball, hockey, basketball or football. Not only can this help instil a love of playing sport that they’re likely to carry with them into adulthood, being part of a team can also hone your child’s social skills.
When you do want to spend active time together as a family, there are plenty of ways to make it fun for everyone. What you choose to do will obviously depend on the age of your children but a few food-for-thought suggestions include having a weekend sports or ‘family Olympics’ day where everyone gets to choose an activity for the whole family to try; signing up for and taking part in a fun run or walk for charity; booking and taking an active holiday together; playing active video games together; organising a BBQ or picnic in the park and playing a friendly game of cricket or soccer.