Ac­tive for Life

Phys­i­cal lit­er­acy skills are the key to rais­ing ac­tive kids

Westcoast Families - - Kids Get Active - By Clare Adams

with bet­ter weather in sight and more op­por­tu­ni­ties to get out­doors, we’re think­ing more about get­ting our kids to put down the video games, turn off the TV and head out­side for some ex­er­cise. With­out a doubt, I know I find it eas­ier to keep my kids ac­tive in the sum­mer months with longer days and easy ac­cess to bikes, parks and the great out­doors. How­ever a new ini­tia­tive aimed at keep­ing kids en­gaged in life­long ac­tive habits is try­ing to let par­ents know that sim­ply get­ting kids to spend time in ac­tiv­i­ties isn’t nec­es­sar­ily the key to keep­ing them Ac­tive for Life. Richard Monette, Pub­lisher and Edi­tor-in-Chief at Ac­tive for Life, ex­plains the premise be­hind this great new re­source: “We want to pro­mote chil­dren’s phys­i­cal lit­er­acy to help par­ents raise ac­tive and healthy kids. In re­sponse to in­creased rates of child obe­sity and seden­tary be­hav­iour, Ac­tive for Life was formed in 2011 to give par­ents the tools to help their chil­dren de­velop skills and habits for life­long phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity”. So what’s the con­cept around phys­i­cal lit­er­acy and how will that make a dif­fer­ence? Well, it’s pretty sim­ple. The more phys­i­cal skills a child has in their skill set, the more choices are open to them to par­tic­i­pate in dif­fer­ent sports and ac­tiv­i­ties and the more choice that they have, the more likely they are to find ac­tiv­i­ties they en­joy and stay ac­tive. For ex­am­ple, if I teach my 5 year old to ‘bal­ance’ walk­ing along a skip­ping rope laid on the ground, he’s build­ing a fun­da­men­tal skill that could help him with ice skat­ing, ski­ing or gym­nas­tics. Sim­i­larly tak­ing the time to play a sim­ple game of catch in the back yard teaches hand-eye co­or­di­na­tion, throw­ing and catch­ing, which are the basics for base­ball, lacrosse, cricket, rugby, bas­ket­ball. You get the idea? One of the best things about Ac­tive for Life’s on­line mag­a­zine and news­let­ter is that they are packed with in­for­ma­tion, ideas and re­sources to help par­ents to know which ac­tiv­i­ties will help cul­ti­vate which skills, what is age and de­vel­op­men­tally ap­pro­pri­ate for your child, and how to have fun while learn­ing the skills, too. For me, the great­est learn­ing point has been to un­der­stand that or­ga­nized sports are not al­ways the an­swer. Just 10-30 min­utes prac­tis­ing a skill in your back gar­den or at the park can be just as valu­able. Sim­i­larly though, just get­ting the kids off the screens and out­side might keep them ac­tive for 30 min­utes, but en­sur­ing they have op­por­tu­ni­ties to work on their phys­i­cal skills might just keep them Ac­tive for Life!

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