Growing up, there are certain things all children need to have a successful start in life. The basic needs of personal hygiene, sleep, and nutritional foods help children grow big and strong as they go through the various stages of development during those first few years. Physical activity is an equally important aspect of childhood. Being physically active helps children develop skills such as hand-eye coordination and become aware of their personal space. As children grow older, physical activity becomes harder to incorporate into their day. There are school demands to meet, extracurricular activities to attend, and family obligations that often come before children have free time to engage in physical activities. Neighborhoods are not conducive to letting kids roam free like the children of previous generations could. For that reason, you need to get creative when it comes to incorporating physical activity into their lives. Discover how fort building can get kids moving!
Being physically active provides your child with benefits that exceed simply staying in shape. You may observe your child making several attempts to jump over a pile of rocks on the playground. It may seem like a harmless activity to you. However, for your child, it is a chance to explore a new sensory skill. Spinning in circles, climbing trees, jumping in puddles and other similar activities are all necessary to help your child learn how the body works and how that body works with the outside world.
Walking barefoot through the park allows your child to feel various sensations such as dirt, rocks, leaves and other items on the ground. Navigating these obstacles teaches your child how to use balance and personal space to make it from one point to another. Rolling down a hill engages muscles that will benefit your child later in life when coloring with crayons or holding a baby animal. Physical activity also paves the way towards a healthy development of positive self-esteem that will benefit your child for the duration of a lifetime.
Introducing physical activity into your child’s day is easier said than done. At first, your child will not appreciate your attempts to turn off the television or put their electronic devices down. It can be a difficult battle to fight, but you must stay the course and do what is in the best interest of your child. Your encouragement needs to focus on offering age-appropriate activities for your child. Doing this allows your child to see how fun physical activities can be without becoming discouraged at being unable to engage in an activity that is beyond his or her age-appropriate skill set.
Start by aiming for 60 minutes of physical activity each day. It can include the recess at school, playground time at home or team sports. You also want to give your child some free time to play and use her imagination as she sees fit. Younger children do not need to engage in team sports they can have a difficult time understanding the rules of a game. Older children may benefit from this type of structured activity while finding a sense of personal enjoyment as well.
Fort building is an excellent way to keep your child actively engaged in physical activity without even realizing that he or she is exercising. The fun starts as your child creates a design of the fort layout by drawing it out on paper using crayons, markers or other writing instruments. With a drawing in hand, your child can get to work gathering the necessary tools and equipment that will bring that plan to life. For a younger child, this activity helps define sensory skills, such as how different objects feel. It is useful, for example, when your child needs to distinguish between an object with a rough surface or a smooth surface.
An older child will engage in problem-solving techniques to determine which objects work best with a Fort Magic kit for building the fort they imagine. With supplies in hand, your child can now start building the fort. Avoid stepping in and offering assistance or providing ideas on how the construction should take place. Let your children utilize their imagination they try to bring their vision of the plans on paper to life. Offer words of encouragement when they encounter a problem and words of praise when something goes according to the plan. Upon completion of the fort building process, your child’s physical activity can continue.
Allowing your child to bring other household items such as couch cushions into the fort can create additional opportunities to enhance his or her level of physical activity with the fort. You can easily extend the recommended 60 minutes of play time per day into endless hours of fun. Once kids see how fun physical activity can be, they will jump at the chance to do it all over again another day! How do you get your kids moving with forts? Share your ideas below!
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