Want your little ones to swap screen time for active time? We’ve got some great ideas for getting children away from the TV and tablet, and on the move …
Play old-school dancing games
From musical statues to musical bumps – there’s no need to wait for the next birthday party before getting the kids dancing with these games.
Just hit ‘play’ on the iPad and everyone has to groove around the living room. But when the music stops, you must freeze on the spot or sit down.
Added bonus: these games will also boost their listening skills.
Set up a treasure hunt in the garden
It’s up to you how simple or complicated you make the hunt.
Choose the treasure – it could be a small toy, a book or a bag of treats – and hide that first, working backwards and hiding simple clues under empty flower pots or tucked behind garden chairs.
You could even theme the treasure hunt so that the kids are detectives – be as creative as you like.
Play hide and seek
No special equipment needed here – just you, the kids and a bunch of fun hiding places. Children who are very small might like to hide with an adult, so you could
try hiding and seeking in pairs of children and grown-ups.
Play ‘can you find something blue …’
In this activity, ask your little one to get up and point to something in the room that’s blue, red, green, brown … and keep going with different colours.
Children will love the challenge, and this activity taps into their observational skills as well as getting them moving.
Turn your living room into a campsite
A fun idea for a rainy day. Use an old bed sheet as a tent, and drape it between chairs or sofas to form a cosy canopy. Use pots from the kitchen as camping cooking
equipment, sing classic camping songs together and go on a ‘hike’ around the house.
Follow a fitness DVD
TV isn’t always the enemy – why not use it to get your child more active by sticking on a workout DVD and doing a simple exercise class together?
Make the most of your park
Whether it’s wildlife watching, having fun on the swings and roundabouts, or using one of many outdoor gyms that are cropping up at parks, your local open space
is a brilliant resource for encouraging children to be active.
Create a mini Olympic Games
Who can run fastest between two trees? Who can throw a ball the furthest? Who can perform the best forward roll? Get the whole family involved in taking part in a mini Olympic Games in your garden.
Involve them when you’re cooking ...
Small children love to feel important and involved in grown-up activities, so enlist their assistance when you’re in the kitchen.
Give them simple tasks such as getting a packet of rice out, or fetching a pan from the cupboard.
Doing the housework!
Whether it’s dusting, putting away laundry or helping you unpack the shopping. Involving them with the garden can be lovely, too – when you’re watering the plants, give your little one their own watering can so they can give plants a drink, too.
Create an ‘imagination station’
Fill a large box with props such as hats, scarves and old clothes for dressing up, soft toys and foam balls – anything you have lying around the house – and encourage
the children to let their imaginations run away with them as they play with the different things.
You can take this outside when the weather’s good and use it inside on rainy days.