Keep kids ac­tive to main­tain fit­ness

Swap your childen’s screens for some fun in the sun, writes Erin Ri­ley.

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Backyard Banter -

Sport is a big part of school th­ese days, with myr­iad codes to choose from and com­pet­i­tive or so­cial leagues to join. But just be­cause school’s out for more than a month, doesn’t mean your kids need to let their sport­ing skills go out to pas­ture.

In fact, in much the same way that the three Rs – Read­ing, writ­ing and arith­metic – need con­stant re­fresh­ing, kids need to main­tain their sport­ing skills when they’re not at school. The more you en­cour­age them to run around out­side dur­ing the sum­mer hol­i­days, the more they’ll put their best foot for­ward in the new year. Lit­er­ally.

GET OUT­SIDE

In­stead of wor­ry­ing about how you’ll keep your kids en­ter­tained th­ese school hol­i­days, em­brace the ex­tra time (and the ex­tra hours of sun­light) and en­cour­age them to swap their screens for the great out­doors. Set up a chal­lenge course around the back­yard (think: crawl un­der the tram­po­line then climb over the pic­nic ta­ble) and add their cho­sen sport into the mix to keep their skills up (think: drib­ble a bas­ket­ball from one end of the drive­way to the other or kick five goals into the back of the net).

HEAD TO THE BEACH

It’s vir­tu­ally part of the Kiwi DNA that we love a ca­sual game of footy on the beach, so next time you take your kids to the beach, pack some sports equip­ment too. Foot­ball and rugby balls don’t take up much room, and cricket im­pro­vi­sa­tion is easy when you re­pur­pose a chilly bin as wick­ets.

SPORT YEAR-ROUND

Gone are the days when sport was lim­ited to sea­sons. Many sports (or ver­sions of the same sport) are now played year-round – foot­ball, fut­sal, rugby and touch, and net­ball and in­door net­ball. To re­main com­pet­i­tive, en­cour­age your kids to make fit­ness and ba­sic skills main­te­nance a daily habit.

SPORT­ING ‘HOME­WORK’

If your kids want to brush up on their Lionel Messi skills this sum­mer, check out the McDon­ald’s Ju­nior Foot­ball skills videos avail­able at nz­foot­ball.co.nz. ‘‘Th­ese fun ac­tiv­i­ties and tricks can be used by par­ents and coaches alike, just about any­where,’’ says Owain Prosser, foot­ball de­vel­op­ment man­ager at New Zealand Foot­ball. ‘‘It’s just as im­por­tant to keep kids’ bod­ies ac­tive as it is their minds, and the sum­mer hol­i­days are the per­fect time to chal­lenge them and keep them play­ing, while hav­ing lots of fun at the same time.’’

SOME­THING FOR EV­ERY­ONE

‘‘You don’t have to be a pro­fes­sional coach to help chil­dren learn new skills,’’ Prosser says. ‘‘The more en­thu­si­as­tic par­ents can be, whilst prais­ing the chil­dren for their ef­forts, the more en­gag­ing the ac­tiv­ity. The key thing is get­ting out there and kick­ing a ball around with them – we nor­mally find that the par­ents en­joy it as much as the chil­dren!’’

For more in­for­ma­tion about McDon­ald’s Ju­nior Foot­ball, visit nz­foot­ball.co.nz. To en­rol your kids in a sport­ing league in the new year, ask at their school or keep an eye out on Neigh­bourly.

En­cour­age chil­dren to make fit­ness and ba­sic skills main­te­nance a daily habit.

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