Play together, stay together

Play together, stay together

Active play with grandchildren can help keep you fit and healthy, boost their development and build strong relationships

These days we all worry whether children are getting enough exercise. It’s all to easy for youngsters to play video games instead of going outside. And as adults, we don’t always set the best examples, often choosing to crash out in front of the TV during our leisure time.

Luckily, there’s a way to solve those both those problems and spend quality time with the young children in your family. By organising fun, active play sessions and getting involved yourself, you can get a great workout, help the development of the little ones and have a good time together.

Active play is any physical activity with spontaneous and occasional bursts of high energy. It can take place outdoors or inside on rainy days. Even before children can walk, they can play. Between the age of one to five years old, experts recommend that children are active for three hours a day.

Children who are frequently active build strong hearts, muscles and bones, develop good co-ordination, increase self-esteem and learn skills for social interaction. And it’s fair to say that the adults keeping up with them get the same benefits!

Toddlers will enjoy simple, freeform outdoor activity, rolling, crawling, standing and enjoying new challenges. Try playing with soft beach balls, buckets and spades and cardboard boxes to stimulate their imaginations. Music and action songs like the Hokey Cokey are a great way to encourage movement and have fun.

Preschoolers enjoy exploring independently and are increasingly confident running and jumping. They are interested in copying each other, creative play and making up their own games and activities. Have fun with them by playing along or help them get started with a few ideas, such as musical chairs, sack races or kicking goals.

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