Kids need to move! Whether this is splashing in the pool, running for the ball or just jumping on the bed, all children need movement in their lives. And LOTS of it!
This is not only for the obvious health benefits of physical exercise. Children who get the chance to run, jump, spin, tumble, splash and dance experience major improvements across multiple areas including attention, learning and overall behaviour. A study completed by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in 2010 found that “There is substantial evidence that physical activity can help improve academic achievement (including grades and standardized test scores)”.
Angela Hanscom, a Pediatric Occupational Therapist writing in the Washington Post, referred to these activities as “authentic play experiences”. These are not boring prescribed exercises but rather are sports, games and activities that provide strong physical and cognitive input required to support development and are also motivating, exciting, and most importantly, fun for the young person.
But what if you live in a city like Dubai, where it’s difficult to play outside for a large part of the year? Playing Frisbee in 50 degree isn’t fun for anyone, so what to do? Luckily there are some wonderful summer and afterschool activities available. The good people at afterschool.ae have created a wonderful, highly accessible website where both parents and young people can explore all the exciting options available in our great city. Whether you want to try street-dance or ballet, gymnastics or martial they can help.
So let’s think beyond I-Pads and PlayStations. There is more to childhood than clashing clans and crafting mines (your kids may disagree with me on that one). Go online, find something that excites them and get out there. You’ll see the benefits at home, in the classroom and on the report card.