Finding activities your child loves can be challenging. It’s especially tough if your child has social anxiety or a learning disability, or tends to avoid new people or group activities.
Thankfully, participation in team sports and organized activities is just one way kids can grow up active and healthy.
When in doubt, go back to basics
The most important aspect of getting your child more active is to find something they love to do. Once they become interested and engaged, it will not be hard to get them moving each day.
Think back to your childhood. What activities and games did you enjoy when you were a child? You may surprise yourself at what you can remember after you sit down and think about it.
Remember hula hoops?
I can remember, as a child, spending hours on my driveway playing with a hula hoop. This fun activity is perfect alone, as a family, or with one or two close friends. This tool is excellent to use around the waist, legs, and even arms for alternative ways to get moving.
Related read: How to make your own hula hoop
Playing with a hula hoop is a low-impact activity that can help your child become more active. Hula hoops also have these added benefits:
- Build coordination
- Improve motor skills
- Increase body awareness
- Strengthen core muscles
- Develop flexibility
- Tone muscles in the legs, arms, and stomach
- Build endurance
And how about hopscotch games?
Draw squares with chalk on the sidewalk with numbers and use a pebble to throw on a square. Hop on one foot in each square until you reach the end, while avoiding the marked square. There are variations you can use to make the game more or less challenging to suit your child.
Hopscotch can build self-confidence and encourage movement, even for children with physical limitations. Other advantages of hopscotch include:
- Develops coordination
- Builds body strength
- Increases balance
- Creates body awareness
- Builds cognitive functions
- Improves both gross and fine motor skills
Get your kids involved
There are many ways to help get your child moving without team sports or complex activities. Try sitting down with your child to brainstorm some ideas and see what interests them.
One method I’ve used with my children was to create an activity list together, then post it to our fridge. We included as many activities we could think of, listing simple things like an obstacle course or a jumping jack challenge. Each day we would try one, then cross it off the list. Each day offered a new challenge that my child could look forward to.
Related read: Tips for getting active with your non-sporty child
If your child prefers to play on their own or in small groups, don’t feel you need to push them to join a team or sign up for a program at your local rec centre. Do what works best for you and your family. With your support and with plenty of time for active play every day, you can help your child discover how they love to move.