Kids Exercising: More Than Just Structured Play
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Kids Exercising: More Than Just Structured Play

Kids exercising as defined by many experts involves physical exertion for a period of time. Kids exercising, in essence, involves movement and this movement can occur in many different ways. Kids exercising is only restrictive to a child’s imagination as movement can take on many different forms. Kids exercising can be as simple as a walk in the park with the dog to more complex roleplaying sequences with other kids or in groups of kids. Kids exercising can involve technology like WII systems that set challenges, rewards and progress tallies. Kids exercising can also be incorporated into family chores or activities around the house.

Historically kids exercising used to centre around weekend sports where children would train 1-2 nights during the week and then participate in the sporting activity on the weekend. Kids would supplement this sporting activity with recess play at school and afternoon play with local neighbours. These types of afternoon activities were not structured or planned. Kids would make their own fun.

In more modern times kids exercising has changed to incorporate more structured play where coaches, trainers and health professionals run time duration programs for kids. Personal trainers are also cashing in with specialised 1:1 kids exercising programs. These types of programs can become mundane and boring and if not sequenced well with lots of variety can lose the interest of children quickly.

Kids exercising needs to take a leaf out of historical activities and reduce the structured activities that happen in modern society. Kids exercising should focus on movement and reduce the rules and regulations that can restrict the variety and fun kids can have. When kids have input into the frameworks of their play based activity they have greater control over the limits and boundaries they can work within. Kids know what they can do and achieve and giving them control allows them to check and re-check their capabilities as they are interacting in their exercising activity.

In recent times, I visited a leisure facility that simply provided different and varied resources. Kids had control over the types of activities they would do. The only rule the centre had been that kids exercising is kids moving. Kids must move for at least 75% of the time they are exercising. This was a great concept as the 10 kids on the room all had different experiences, skill levels and talents that they could call on and use in their desired activity. The kids that had better coordination levels and higher skill sets were able to set activities that provided greater challenges for them. The other kids with lower coordination levels and skills were still gaining significant benefits due the level of challenges they could set for themselves. Overall the program was a huge success with kids dancing, playing sports, role playing etc.


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