Active toddlers – keeping fit

It’s fun to keep fit!

Haven_sports

Exercise is so important to the health and well-being of younger children and yet sadly many under-5′s don’t meet the recommended daily minimum of just an hour of physical activity every day. The Change4Life campaign suggests you need to get those little hearts beating faster than usual for at least 60 minutes every day.

Active children are healthier, happier children. It’s not just the chances of becoming overweight that are dramatically reduced by regular exercise - it will lessen the possibility of diabetes and heart disease and strengthen muscles, bones and flexibility. And even in younger children exercise produces a noticeable sense of well-being – letting off steam by running around in the fresh air helps release frustrations and boost self-confidence.

Haven_sports_gamesWhether it’s due to long working hours or restrictions in their home environment, some parents simply don’t have the time or space to ensure their child meets even the minimum recommended levels of exercise – so it’s often
down to pre-school leaders and nursery school teachers to make sure the nation’s under-5′s aren’t under-exercised!

Devising new ways to make old equipment fun and exciting can be a real challenge so receiving new kit always helps! This year many early years settings benefitted from an injection of free kit supplied by Haven’s Fun & Fitness Giveaway . The scheme, now in its third year, provides free sports equipment to help encourage under-5′s that it’s fun to be
fit. The bags or boxes of equipment (depending on the number of children) include balls, hoops, cones, soft foam flyers, balls and scoopers and a parachute for team games.

‘We wanted to give something back to communities and were keen to encourage a return to some of the more traditional activities,’ said a spokesperson for Fun & Fitness.

For more information about how to take part in the Fun & Fitness Giveaway and to benefit from the free equipment on offer click on www.havenfunfitness.com. Registration is easy and there’s no voucher collection or purchase required - once a pre-school or nursery has registered all parents have to do is click on the website and leave a message of support.

Check out some traditional bean bag games that will help keep kids active!

Haven bean bagsBalancing Act

Get the children to balance a bean bag on their heads as they walk around a room/outdoor space. Ask them to concentrate on keeping the beanbag glued to their heads and gradually shout for them to either walk ‘faster’, ‘slower’, ’change directions’ or ‘hop’! !Once the beanbag has fallen from their heads they are of course out. Fun, competitive and helps develop concentration and core motor skills.

Piggy in the middle

A simple game of catch between two children with a third child – the ’Piggy in the middle’ – trying to catch the beanbag. Or use a ribbon ball for younger children as it’s slower and easier for them to catch.

Balance in the jungle

Set up a hoop at least 5 metres away from the starting line. Divide the children up into ‘animal’ groups

  • ‘Giraffes ‘ must stand up tall and balance beanbags on their heads and make it all the way to the hoop without it falling off!
  • ‘Gorillas’ have to balance the beanbag on their shoulder.
  • ‘Snakes’ have to balance the beanbag the back of their hand moving in and out and side to side like a snake.
  • ‘Lions’ have to crawl along on all fours like a lion with the bean bag on their back.

Throwing game

Place a hoop at least 2 metres away from the throwing line. Then place another two hoops behind the first so that there is a line of hoops, each one a little bit further away from the throwing line.The one furthest from the throwing line is the ‘gold’ hoop where you can earn up to 10 points if a bean bag lands in it. The middle hoop is silver and awards 5 points and the one nearest to the line is bronze and awards 2 points.

The children then take it in turns to stand behind the line and throw beanbags towards the target. After five throws each you can all count up the scores and see who got the most points.

Pretend the beanbags are fish and you’re throwing them back into the pond!

Haven fun and fitness

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Photo Credit: Haven