Children should be active, at a moderate to vigorous level, for at least 60 minutes every day. Moderate activity is when breathing and heart rate increase, but a conversation is still possible. Vigorous activity is when breathing becomes heavy, heart rate becomes faster and it’s difficult to keep a conversation going. These recommendations are the minimum needed for our children to improve their fitness, muscular strength and bone health. Remember that all activity, no matter how short, counts - including active play at home!
Plan a morning walk around the block to simulate the school run, set them a challenge such as 10 bunny hops or lunges or push-ups (depending on their age) to coincide with their small break at school. After lunch, send them out to the garden or bring them to the park to play football or chasing. Practice skipping, throwing or climbing in the afternoon when they would be due home from school and go for a walk again at teatime.
Continue to spend time outdoors if you can, always following Government guidelines
There are many resources online that can be used to increase compliance with this, particularly on a rainy day, some examples are;
- Go Noodle
- There are some great ideas on START to get active outdoors
- Kids Educational Games on YouTube
- The 10@10 from Operation Transformation
- parkrun also have a range of videos called School of parkrun, setting daily parkrun themed tasks covering 5 subjects; English, Maths, Science, Geography, and Art
Think about the fundamental movement skills that children need to learn. These include walking, running, hopping skipping, jumping, throwing and catching, balance, kicking, striking a ball and landing. These are the basic movement skills, the building blocks for lifelong activity.As the kids will spend more time at home, recognise the need for them to be active daily. All activity, no matter how short, counts and now that organised sport is postponed, we need to plan for active play at home.
Top tips for keeping the kids active:
- Get them involved in the housework – hoovering, doing laundry, digging in the garden, spring cleaning and helping to clear out their rooms are all tasks that count as activity
- Walk around the block with them whenever the sun comes out
- Find their wet gear and wellies – jumping up and down in puddles is a great way to keep them active and tire out the little ones!
- Encourage them to drink plenty of water. Better hydration means more frequent need to go to the bathroom, as well as the need to fill up the water glass (i.e. plenty of short bursts of walking)
- Sit down and plan a routine of games and activities for each week, and get their input to improve co-operation
- Activity does not need to take place all at once - short sessions of 10 to 15 minutes can be built up over the day
- Do not let them sit inactive for more than an hour at a time. This is most relevant for the kids who see this school closure as an opportunity to play more computer games
- Make sure they play outdoors as well as indoors daily
- Lead by example! Children learn through example and are 5 times more likely to be active if their parents are.
- Choose age appropriate exercises otherwise your child might become bored or frustrated.
- It must be fun! Children won’t be enthusiastic to do something they don't enjoy
- Play active games with your children - such as ball games, skipping, running games, tug-of-war games and even wrestling.
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