Activity ideas for keeping kids busy and happy

Keeping your children active is the responsibility of every parent. As well as keeping a child safe, and teaching them to find their way in the world, good parenting also means keeping your child fit and healthy. You wouldn’t dream of letting your child play too near a fire, or eat only ice cream, so don’t let them get into the habit of leading an inactive lifestyle. This can result in health problems later in life. Keeping children active is a matter of leading by example, and of starting at an early age.

Provide toys

Children have a natural curiosity to learn about their world around them, and about their own bodies. As soon as they can crawl, they are testing their own strength and endurance.

Encourage activity in your child, by providing interesting and stimulating toys. Start with a baby gym, find your toddler exciting bikes and scooters, and buy your teen a skateboard and basketball hoop.

Make sure that you maintain interest in these toys by changing them frequently, and by joining in the games yourself. A child always wants to be with his or her parents, and just spending a few hours a week with them will help you to bond, and encourage an active lifestyle.

Family activities

Make sure that the things you do together are activity-based. Choose to go fishing, walking, hiking or skiing. Ride your bikes together or get him to show you the latest skateboard tricks. Go swimming and surfing if you live near the beach, or hill-walking if you live near the mountains. Play tennis and soccer anything you can think of!

When you organise a family holiday, book one that will give you the opportunity to be active. Pick a cruise that has volleyball on board. Go bowling in town, or choose a sea-side destination with water sports.

Be an example

Let your children see you enjoying physical activity. This might be digging the garden, cycling to work, or jogging. You could talk about playing golf or rowing. Make sure they know that these activities are pleasurable. Talk about how great it is to be with your friends, as well as the buzz the sport gives you.

Fun

Let your children know how enjoyable sporting activities are. Focus on this instead of the health benefits, so that they want to do it instead of seeing it as a chore.

Be supportive

Support your child in his or her chosen activity. This might mean buying shin pads or football boots, driving them to matches or competitions, or paying for ballet lessons. Encouraging your child to have a healthy attitude to exercise, and to think of it as a natural part of their life is well worth the effort.

Exercise

Build exercise into your everyday routine. Get your child to cycle or walk to school, and walk to their friends house. Arrange activity afternoons for them and their friends, perhaps taking them to the beach, or local green space to kick a ball about.

Set up basket ball hoops in your back yard, or a badminton net if you have room.

Get them to go to dances and discos to burn off some energy.

Every thing you do to encourage your child to be active will help, from unloading the shopping from the car to taking them horse riding. Don’t miss out this important part of being a parent you’ll both love it.