How to Encourage Physical Activity in Children - OutdoorToys

In this digital age, some children struggle to get out and move as often as they should. That's where we at Outdoor Toys come in.

With the day there to be seized, there's nothing quite like getting outside and moving. It's fun for all the family, whether you're taking part in a hike or kicking a ball around the garden.

This guide will share some of our top tips to encourage children's physical activity. Whether you need to grab your suncream or raincoat, let's prepare the family to take on the great outdoors.

How to encourage physical activity in children: 10 steps

1. Lead by example

If you hadn't noticed already, little ones tend to emulate their parents' behaviours. What does this mean for you? You need to set an example! If your children see you regularly participating in physical activity, they'll be inspired to follow in your footsteps. 

So, get those running shoes on!

2. Make exercise fun

Let's be honest: physical activity can be challenging to get behind if it feels like a chore. Adding some excitement to your child's exercising time will make it feel like time spent playing instead of working.

Not sure how to make exercise fun? Well, it looks different for every child. Team sports like football and basketball will stimulate some children; some will take more to role-play and creative play. It's all about getting to know what your child likes best!

3. Set screen time restrictions

Long periods of watching TV aren’t suitable for anyone, especially a young mind. Thanks to the addictive nature of screens and technology, they also act as a massive distraction from physical activity.

To tackle this, parents should set specific times when a child is allowed to play on their devices during the day and consider capping it after an hour or so of daily use. Before long, reduced screen time will turn into valuably spent quality time!

4. Provide toys and setting

A young mind needs to be stimulated, especially during play! Children and young people benefit from toys and proper settings to fully immerse themselves in physical activity and outdoor play.

Toys like climbing frames, bouncy castles, and mud kitchens are great examples of outdoor toys that you can pop in your garden to encourage children to go outside and get moving.

In terms of setting, some children might be stimulated more by going to specific places for physical activity. Consider taking them to a local running track, a swimming pool, or a park where they can play on the slides and swings and interact with other children.

5. Enrol them in clubs

Clubs are an excellent way for children to stay physically active, learn new skills, and make friends in their age groups.

Get the ball rolling by asking your child about their interests. Depending on their personality type, they could be interested in anything from cub-scouts to badminton.

6. Set routines

Setting a routine and sticking to it will help you and your child develop habits, making physical activity a welcomed part of your day. Each day doesn't have to be filled with workouts of a vigorous intensity; just set aside a set time every day for you and your little one to get moving.

It could be a brisk walk or a quick game of tennis; just get outside!

7. Be flexible

Like we said before, physical activity shouldn't feel like a chore, so there's got to be some give. When your child is carrying out their PE and active play routine throughout the week, you've got to be flexible.

Some days, they might feel up for exercising, and you must be patient and considerate. Days off are allowed and can benefit a child's recovery and general health further down the line.

The benefits of children's physical activity

Physical activity is one of the building blocks of a child's development. We all know it's important to get moving, but do we know precisely why? Here are some of the main benefits of children's physical activity

  • Muscle strengthening: Exercising is proven to strengthen muscles, which is vital while a child develops. Some top muscle and bone-strengthening activities are dancing, climbing, and gymnastics.
  • Heart health: cardiovascular and aerobic activity contribute to strengthening the heart, which can help fight against health problems later down the line. To improve heart health, your little one should take part in vigorous-intensity physical activity, such as cycling, swimming, and running.
  • Discipline: Physical activity guidelines can help build a child's discipline, giving them a stronger mind alongside increased confidence and willpower.
  • Socialisation: Enrolling your child in an age-appropriate sporting club or activity will encourage them to communicate with their peers. Before you know it, they'll bond and make friends over their mutual interests.
  • Hand-eye coordination: When your child uses their body frequently to participate in sports or activities, they're fine-tuning their hand-eye coordination and movement skills. These come in later down the line, especially if your child chooses to pursue a physical career or learn to drive a car!

You can learn more about the health benefits of the great outdoors in our piece on the benefits of outdoor play.

Make physical activity fun with Outdoor Toys

As you can see, physical activity and play aren't just about having fun; they are a huge part of healthy growth in a child's life.

Here at Outdoor Toys, we have a great selection of toys to encourage your little one to get outside and move. Our range has 6ft trampolines, swings (including metal swing sets), climbing frames, swimming pools, sandpits, and much more to allow you to turn your garden into an irresistible playground.

With 48-hour delivery and the option of 0% finance for qualifying orders, transforming your garden is now quicker and easier than ever. Visit our delivery and PayPal credit pages for further details.


How much physical activity should my child be doing?

Many parents are unsure about how much exercise their child should participate in daily. It is suggested that children ages six up to seventeen should participate in at least an hour of moderate or vigorous-intensity physical activity per day. 

This can look different to different people and can come in the way of a football match between friends down the park or a quick trip down to the local pool.

What are the most popular physical activities for kids?

Children in the UK are lucky enough to participate in a vast range of physical activities. The most popular are club-based activities, such as rugby, tennis, football and basketball.

Child development