Any form of play which increases children’s heart rate and makes them huff and puff is known as active play. It can have the same benefits of physical activity such as:
- Developing strong bones, muscles and hearts
- Improving cognitive skills
- Building skills for social interactions
- Increasing coordination and movement
- Developing self-esteem and self worth
Active play can be structured or unstructured. Chasey (tag), roller-sports (skateboarding/skating/blading), hopscotch, tree climbing, go-carting are all examples of unstructured active play. These are just some great ways for kids to be active and independent outdoors with supervision nearby.
Best of all, active play is not only fun, but can be indoors or out, and can be completely free!
For more ideas on outdoor activities,
- Nature Play WA has loads of WA based programs and activities for all ages and families.
- Active in Parks has the latest park based family activities and events in Victoria.
Tips and ideas for active play!
- Keep some cheap equipment in the car.
Examples such as frisbees, cricket set, and soccer or tennis balls are great for spontaneous games while out, you could even pack a kite to fly on windy days.
- If there are other families in the street, choose a day to do some activities together. If the kids go to school, walk and use the time to catch up, socialise or grab a coffee after the school drop off.
- Kids often enjoy, or are enrolled in sports they enjoy. Take some time to practice with them, or even better get everyone involved in a family match!
- Join in. Rather than just supervising, unlock your inner child and participate in active play. Remember to let the children win once in a while.
Safety - Know your neighbourhood
Traffic or stranger danger is a concern for many parents. If your street is busy and unsafe to play along, locate the nearest park or path suitable for activities.
Safety in numbers
Do you know other families in you neighbourhood? Active play together with the kids next door can improve safety through numbers. If there are other families you know, try taking in turns to watch the kids on alternate days. Older children could gradually provide supervision and gain responsibilities as they accompany younger ones to the park or playground.