Exercise is important for children to keep them happy and healthy. There are plenty of fun ways to keep the whole family active.
Pre-schoolers need at least 3 hours of physical activity spread throughout the day, including active indoor and outdoor play. The more the better!
Aim for a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity a day for school age children. Below are some of the ways in which you can encourage this within your family.
Encouragement and motivation
Exercise doesn’t just have to be about getting your child to go swimming or running. Think about which activities your child enjoys more. Are there any day-to-day activities that you could turn into a fun form of exercise (that gets your heart rate up for 10 minutes or more at a time) for everyone to enjoy together?
It's important to let children try different things so they can find something they like. Try and understand which forms of exercise they enjoy. Encourage them to continue with these and look for further opportunities to develop their interest like joining a local team or an after school club. All forms of exercise and sport are great for a child. You should celebrate any progress or developments they make.
Need some ideas about which sports your child might like? The NHS Healthier Families website has more ideas and information about ways to try new sports or activities.
To find out what is available locally use the Yorkshire Activity Finder.
Doing sport is not only healthy for the body, it can have a great impact on confidence and well-being. Above all it can be a lot of fun! It is important to support your child in trying out different sports and be encouraging whenever they start playing. Try and promote the feel-good factor as much as possible.
Ideas for keeping active
10 Minute Shake Up Games: Change4Life and Disney have teamed up to bring you play-along games inspired by your favourite Disney and Pixar characters. These 10-minute bursts of fun will really get your kids moving and count towards the 60 active minutes they need every day.
The workout badges with Hey Duggee & Joe Wicks: The Workout Badges bring together the fun of Hey Duggee with the positive energy of Joe Wicks to help pre-schoolers learn how to stay fit and healthy all presented within an exciting world of live action and animation.
Cosmic Yoga: Uses stories, role-play and a good portion of silliness to make yoga and mindfulness fun for kids.
Jump at home: Play with these fun, simple indoor activities to keep your children entertained.
Andy's Wild Workouts: Your child can adventure with Andy and learn some animal moves of their own.
50 Things to do Before You're 5: Provides inspiration for parents and carers to connect with children through a range of activities, all designed to have a positive impact on learning and health.
Fun activities for indoors or outdoors
- Play 'keep it up' with a balloon
- Have a dance-a-thon
- Play catch with a bean bag
- Plan an in/outdoor treasure hunt
- Play musical statues
- Play hide and seek
- Read stories and sing songs that require actions in time with the words
- Dance or jump to music
- Make a den
- Rough and tumble play is also fun, so only stop it if it seems unsafe. Physically active toddlers should be in a safe environment and supervised at all times.
PE sessions will offer different sport types so listen to what your child has done each session and what they have particularly enjoyed. You can see if they would like to continue some of their favourite sports outside of school or you can find out if your school offers after school activities.
Are you focused on getting your child to school as quickly as possible e.g. by car? The walk to and from school is a simple form of exercise which can help your child (and you!) reach your 60 minutes of activity a day. Walking is a great form of exercise.
Try one of these family friendly walks in West Yorkshire.
Using the community (Parks and green spaces)
Try and engage with other families in your neighbourhood and find out what activities they do. This could be a useful way to gain ideas whilst giving your children opportunities to make friends and partake in shared activities. Local authority websites have parks and free activities that are available. Through these links you can find parks and green spaces in your area:
Why not try Junior Park run? It is a free activity that runs every Sunday morning at 9am in parks across West Yorkshire. Junior park run is 2km in length and suitable for children aged 4 to14 years old. It is a positive, welcoming and inclusive experience. There is no time limit and no one finishes last. Everyone is welcome to come along, whether you walk, jog or run.
Find your nearest junior park run.
Using the community (Sports and facilities)
Within your community there are organisations which offer a wide range of sports bundled into one package/membership. There are different levels to these memberships and they strive to be inclusive by having reductions for certain groups. Here are some examples in each region: