Did you know that Canadian children are receiving a failing grade when it comes to physical activity? According to the participaction report card, Canadian children are not getting enough physical activity during the day, they should be getting at least an hour everyday. We’ve talked about all the benefits for adults regarding physical activity, but for children it’s even more important. So many great things happen when they’re active. According to the participaction report card physical activity improves children’s overall performance, movement inspires thinking/creativity, decreases anxiety (mild-moderate) and improves their mood.

With all of the technology out there, it’s easy for anyone, not just children to get lost and spend an entire day in front of a screen. How can we find a happy medium for our children, so there’s some time for electronics and more time playing.

Here are some suggestions

1- Unschedule your schedule. Not every part of your day needs to be planned. You might find this stressful and unproductive, but this allows children to feel like they're contributing to the decision making process. If you get lots of ideas for the one day, write them down, so you have back up when your kids look at you and say, “I don’t know”.
2- Consider sending your kids to adventure camps or other camps - opportunity to make new friends and learn something new.
3- If you are leaving your children at home  for the day, create a chore list for them - builds responsibility, time management and trust. This takes a bit of prep work on your part, but it’ll be worth it.
       1. Weeding the garden or flowers
      2. Make their own lunch
      3. Clean the yard or the house
      4. Start supper
      5. Educational work - read, math questions etc

Decide what they’re allowed to do outside of the home

  1. Can they go biking or to the park in the neighbourhood
  2. Play in the yard
  3. Go swimming

If you’re struggling to get your kids to do anything but sit in front of a screen, you will need some support and ideas.

  1. Find like minded parents - who want their kids to be active as well
  2. Set electronic rules - EG- an hour a day, Consider changing the WiFi password- have them earn it. Be Firm.
  3. Make a list of all the activities your family likes to do. This way if they’re “bored”, they can look for some inspiration
  4. Make a friend list, if your child is old enough, have them make the call and set up a time to hang out, or get themselves to their friends house (You may have to ride there a few times with them to show them the way. Teach them to read a map or write down the directions - road safety always important).
  5. Think about all the things you did as a kid that kept you entertained -- make your own list of ideas
    1. Climb a tree- or build a treehouse
    2. Pick up games - like baseball, basketball or soccer
    3. Swimming on their own. Make it to the pool, pay (cash - know what to get for change), get a locker and swim
    4. Build something - Bird houses or a reading bench
    5. Make swords or daggers out of toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls and masking tape
    6. Create their own slip n’ slide
    7. Yard bowling - soccer ball and empty bottles (add a bit of water for weight)
    8. Do a park tour - pack a picnic and try to find parks in your area or surrounding neighbourhoods
  6. Rainy days
    1. Puddle jump, let your kids get dirty. Make Mudpies
    2. Build a fort out of sheets, pillows and blankets -
    3. Go to the library or do story telling
    4. Lego without instructions - who can build the tallest tower
    5. Bake - teach them how to bake, by only using verbal guidance- encourage reading directions (manage the oven accordingly).
    6. Board games - make them read the instructions
    7. Museums- let them wander
    8. Let them sit in silence and let their imagination go, great things come when we ponder
    9. Have them make their own “music video” (yes make them sing and dance- make a routine)- Then have them perform it

For more ideas, here are some websites
23 Activities for Tweens
Top 15 Indoor Games And Activities For Teens
50 Fun Spring Activities for Teens
25 Exercise Games and Indoor Activities to Get Kids Moving

Summers can go by in a flash. Being active and making memories is what it's all about. Looking back at my child, it wasn’t about the sitting around, it was about the adventures, playing games and being with friends and family.

Participation Report Card

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