Active for Life
Physical literacy skills are the key to raising active kids
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!