Keep kids active to maintain fitness
Swap your childen’s screens for some fun in the sun, writes Erin Riley.
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.
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.
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.
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.