Winter is approaching and the days are gradually becoming shorter and colder. While most children love getting outside and burning energy in the Summer months, they may be tempted to hide indoors with movies and video games over Winter. Therefore, keeping children active in the cooler months can be a challenge.
So, it’s important to encourage your child to be just as active all year long, as obesity is on the rise in Australia. Becoming the second highest contributor to the burden of disease. Also, physical exercise helps manage stress, improve mood and sleep quality, and helps to increase brain function, cognition and academic performance.
Make sure your children are keeping active instead of sedentary with the following ideas this coming Winter.
Keeping Children Active Indoors
Being inside doesn’t have to mean being sedentary. There are many options available to keep your kids active indoors. Consider taking your child to an indoor play centre. There are a wide variety of different indoor centres you can visit, including trampolining and rock climbing centres, as well as traditional play centres. These options are usually quite affordable, and offer facilities like cafés for parents to keep entertained while their kids have fun. You can even organise a group to go together, so that you have adults to keep you company while your kids run around with their friends.
Alternatively, there are also activities you can do with your child, like swimming, ice skating and ten pin bowling. Grab the whole family and make a fun day of it.
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Turn off the TV and put away the video games. You can keep your kids active at home with the following ideas. If you have the space, building an indoor obstacle course that will keep your kids entertained for hours. Use furniture, pillows and other household items to improve your child’s balance, control and coordination.
Indoor and outdoor treasure hunts are fun and help keep kids minds as active as their bodies. You can find pre-made clues online, or get creative with your own. Play some upbeat music your child likes and encourage them to dance to it until they’re worn out. You can also use empty plastic bottles and a light ball to play indoor ten pin bowling at home.
Exercising together is another fun option, especially if you struggle to stay motivated to exercise yourself in the cooler weather. Teach your child push ups and sit ups, and race each other outside. Do jumping jacks and run on the spot to increase both your heart rates.
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Time spent outdoors has many benefits to your child, including providing vitamin D, strengthening their immune system and stimulating their imagination. So, don’t let the cold hold you back. Rug up in coats, hats, scarves and beanies and take your child outside. If it’s windy, grab a kite and teach your child how to fly it. Visit parks and beaches to show your child how nature changes in the cooler and wilder weather. Bring with you a ball to kick or throw around, or a skipping rope. Keeping active will keep you both warm and make the chill more bearable.
If it’s not too far, or expensive, a day trip to the snow can be fun for the whole family. You can have snowball fights, make snow angels and build a snowman together. If you’re feeling more active and adventurous, try skiing or snow tubing.
If you have a dog, kill two birds with one stone by giving your child and dog their daily exercise together. When you take the dog for a walk, bring your child too. Visit a park and let your child throw a ball or frisbee for the dog, and let them run around until they’re both worn out.
Other outdoor activities to do with your child can include a visit to the zoo, farm, or completing an outdoor maze together. If you’re in Melbourne, Collingwood Children’s Farm is popular, and other states have similar attractions.
Many younger children won’t let the colder weather hold them back from running wild with their imaginations. Not only are these great ideas to keep your child physically active and burning energy, but many of these activities you can do together, having fun and bonding.
Winter Sports to keep children active
Traditional winter sports like AFL, hockey, basketball, netball and soccer are popular for children and adults of all ages. They keep kids busy, active and social. They can also benefit your child by instilling confidence, and teaching planning and strategizing skills that are transferrable to many domains in life.
Netball and hockey are great options to consider for your child. As you can play indoors and outdoors. So, they can be continued all year round. Both sports are excellent for increasing fitness, agility and coordination after just a short time playing.
Soccer is considered the most popular sport across the world. It’s a fast and fun game that both girls and boys can enjoy. Given the low entry skills level required, consider it as an introduction to sport for your young child.
Rugby League, Rugby Union and Aussie Rules football are also very popular across the country, and in different states. They help to build strength, cardiovascular fitness and hand-eye coordination. These can sometimes be quite physical sports, so if you’re concerned it may be worthwhile researching non-contact alternatives.
If you’re not ready to commit to the costs of joining a club, a holiday sports camp run by experienced coaches is the way to go. For young children success is synonymous with fun. School holiday sports camps are a great way to build skills and confidence before joining a club. These upcoming Winter holidays, ASC (http://australiansportscamps.com.au/) is offering holiday camps for basketball, football, rugby union, rugby league, soccer, netball and hockey. This is a great way for kids to find their calling in sports, and also to help you decide if you wish to invest in a club membership for your child.