Summer Sports For Kids
What Are We Doing Today Mom?
Summer is here with glorious sunshine, balmy nights and of course, school holidays and the eternal question made by your little ones “What are we doing today, mom?”
I live in France and here we have been bombarded lately with the famous “manger bouger” advert. This translates literally as eat and move; meaning eat healthily: 5 fruits and vegetables a day and exercise yourself. So with this in mind I have looked into summer sports and activities suitable for my little ones aged 6 and 9.
Summer Sports for Children
If you have children –I guess you do if you are reading this- you know how difficult it can be to get them to move away from the tv or their playstation. With children you need to be tactful, you need to tantalize them to do something, to try new activities which hopefully they will like and enjoy so much that soon it will be them asking you to exercise.
Making your children walk
- Walking for fitness:
As a mother of two young children I know how difficult it can be to get them motivated to exercise. Some children are naturally sporty, mine arent. So I make them walk under different excuses. Here I have collected a few ideas that worked for me...
Summer Sports For Children
Walking is the simplest of sports and you do not need any special equipment for it. You can initiate your children to walk during good weather and carry on with regular walks even during winter. Walking is a perfect low-impact, aerobic exercise with numerous health benefits.
The Wonders You Discover When You Walk
- Cycling for fun and fitness
To Get Started You will need a bicycle to suit your needs. There are several types from road bikes, mountain bikes, tandems, vintage and even hybrid bikes. Keep in mind where are you going to use your bike and how often before you buy one.
Cycling is one of my favourite sports. Once you get a proper bicycle to suit your size and a helmet you are ready to cycle for France!
If you are not sure that your children will like cycling, try renting a bike and see how it goes before you invest in a bicycle.
Cycling With My Boy
Learning To Cycle In The Farm
Swimming is the summer sport par excellence, although nowadays you can swim all year round in health centres, usually you can only swim outdoors during summer.
Make sure you start your children swimming early. We introduced our boy to swimming before he could even walk. He was only 4 months when we took him into a pool. Now he is a water boy, he has no fear and has learnt to swim by himself.
Outdoor swimming can be done in the sea, in lakes or rivers. Always make sure that your children are wearing sun protective swimwear to avoid sunburn and do not leave them unattended in the water, even if they are good swimmers.
This year while holidaying on the French Atlantic coast we discovered the Ecole de Sauvetage or lifeguard school which offers lifesaving classes for children, a very interesting concept that improves children’s swimming skills, their knowledge of the sea and of course first aid essential tips.
Golf for children:
Golf For Children
This is an excellent sport from children from about 6 years onwards. You can start with the mini golf courses at parks, beaches and main golf courses. The only drawback is that if your child shows interest in practising golf the rest of the year the equipment and coaching can be rather expensive. In Royan, France your children can do a set of 5 courses of 1 hour for 5 days for about €150 euros.
This is an excellent sport for appreciating the outdoors in all security and it also helps children to learn about etiquette. In golf there is no judge or referee; instead, players govern themselves and fellow competitors.
Golf Tips : Golf Drills for Kids
Child size multi sport helmets
This is perhaps a bit out of fashion, but it really depends on where you live. In some countries roller skating never went out of fashion and children and adults continue rolling along the streets and parks.
This is an all time favourite game at the beach. Let your child try his first strokes there and if he likes it and has potential start some serious training. According to the experts depending on your child's ability to concentrate and follow instructions, the ideal age to start technical stroke instruction is between 4 and 7 years old.
I like this one myself and even very young children get excited about football. Beach football is excellent for your child’s feet provided that he plays barefooted and with a soft ball. This is a game that can be played by boys and girls alike. If your child enjoys playing football for fun at the beach, later on you can start take him to a football club. Young school children benefit from playing in a team. By joining a local children’s team they will learn and practice specific skills useful for play as well as learn the basic rules of the game.
This is a fun game that I used to play at school in Peru. I have noticed that in Europe Volleyball is less practised. To play with kids you can use a soft ball (less hard on their little hands) or even a balloon if your children are very young. Playing volleyball will help improve your child’s flexibility, balance and coordination.
If your child likes animals, horse riding might be the sport for him. Make sure to choose somewhere which is established and has a good track record at teaching youngsters. Ponies are best for children, certainly in terms of size. The school should have a range of horses which are specifically kept for children to learn on. Remember that animals –even when well trained- are unpredictable; safety is of paramount importance. The school you choose should have plenty of differently sized riding hats for your child to borrow. If the school does not insist on hat wearing then turn away – they obviously do not take the children’s safety seriously if they will not even enforce this rule.
Meeting the ponies & horses
Horseback Riding is also great Therapy for Special Needs Kids
Important Points To Remember
- Let your child play for fun. Competition should be kept for real competitions at school or clubs. Let your child enjoy the sport.
- Children's sports promote fitness and prevent obesity so it is important that your child practises a sport.
- Be patient to help your child find which sport she wants to practice. Let her choose what she wants rather than making her do what you want.
- Children enjoy counting toward easy goals, for example cycling 2 kilometres the first day, 3 the next one and so on. Do not start with big goals to avoid disappointment.
- The earlier children are introduced to a sport the more likely they are to develop the correct technique.
- Summer camps are a great introduction to organized sports.
- When doing sports with your child make a point to comment on your child’s achievements. If you need to make a correction, preface it with something positive to avoid discouraging your child.
© 2010 Wendy Iturrizaga
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