A recent report by Natasha Schranz, PhD, from the University of South Australia has found that only 19% of Aussie kids (aged 5 – 17 years) get the recommended amount of exercise every day. The recommendation is one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity or MPVA each day
‘Things like walking to school, playing outside and turning off televisions and computers also contribute to overall health and physical activity levels – and these things are being forgotten.’ – Natasha Schranz
‘We’re raising a generation of couch potatoes and if we don’t start to reverse this trend this will drive up health problems in the future – obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease.’ – Professor Trevor Shilton, Heart Foundation
Playing and getting active in the backyard reduces the risk of obesity, develops good motor skills, stimulates problem solving and creativity and offsets reduced cognitive development from overly structured activities
Some tips to get you started on getting your kids to spend more time in the backyard and getting their daily MPVA each and every day:
- Have a soft lawn suitable for allergy sufferers so everyone can play. Sir Walter is an ideal choice for a kid friendly lawn.
- Use different coloured ground marking sprays to create your own outdoor twister game – the spray won’t damage your lawn and it is great fun.
- Make the circle sizes appropriate for your age group – little one do better with smaller circles.
- Nature scavenger hunt – provide the kids with a list of items to find in the backyard and a bucket or paper bag. Send them out into the backyard and watch them race around.
- Make your own backyard obstacle course using old wooden ladder, hula hoops etc. The possibilities are endless and the kids can even design their own.
- Backyard bowling – all you need are some old softdrink bottles with a little sand or rocks in the bottle for stability and a tennis ball. Set them up and knock them down.
- Pool noodles and balloons – a bit little tennis – but a lot more fun. Use those pool noodles to hit around some blown up balloons with the aim of the game to keep them up in the air and off the lawn. Using pool noodles and balloons makes it easy for even very young children to take part and they are both nice and soft in case anyone get a little overzealous and take a swing a bit too close to someone else.
- Ice block treasure hunt – use an old ice cream container to freeze ‘treasure’ in water. Take it out into the backyard and let the kids chip into it to reveal what’s inside. You can use any plastic toys like dinosaurs, animals or cars.
- Cloud watching – For this one you need nothing but your imagination and perhaps a picnic blanket. Lay in the backyard, watch the clouds roll by and see who can discover what inside the clouds.
We’d love to hear your ideas of how you encourage your kids to get active out in your backyard. Message us via our Facebook page here to share your tips.