By Tamara Jalajel, Children’s Physiotherapist

For many children and teens today, summer is sedentary and indoors, playing videogames and watching television. Getting your child outdoors and playing sports during summer break may be the ultimate plan, but being physically active does not have to be elaborate.

Our teens and kids need at least 60 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity daily for their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. This hour or so can be distributed throughout the day. For instance, you can plan with your child to have a 10-minute movement break in between videogames, puzzles or reading every 60 minutes. This break can include a planned activity or a functional daily routine. Functional daily activities include hoovering, decorating and walking to the supermarket.

Children have different capabilities. One child may find walking up the stairs a moderately intense activity while another child might find it as a light one. It’s important to choose the appropriate activity level for your child.

As physiotherapists, we recommend activities that cover these top five areas:

1. Muscle strength

2. Bone health

3. Fitness

4. Motor coordination

5. Balance

This table is an example of two outdoor moderate to vigorous intense activities that cover those five areas:

Activity One (Take and Go)

Description

Place 10 water balloons in a basket

Your child then takes one water balloon and jumps 10 times forward

Your child places the water balloon on his tummy while imitating the crab walk for three metres

He walks on a 3-metre line and holds the

water balloon

Your child throws the water balloon at a target

Repeat 9 times

Items needed

1. Ten water balloons

2. Basket

3. Rope or tape

4. Target

(Activity Two (Let’s Hunt

Hide 10 water balloons in the garden

Ask your child to hold a basket with both hands at chest level and start searching

While holding the basket, your child has to hop on the right leg while searching

After finding the first five balloons, ask your child to hop on the left one to find the rest

1. Ten water balloons

2. Basket

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