There is definitely not a shortage of children’s toys available on the market today, but it can still be a challenge to find something that will keep your child engaged and active. And as parents, we would prefer not to break our budget on toys in an attempt to keep our children engaged and entertained.
In this guide, we have listed toys that help exercise the areas of activity that have an important impact on your child’s health.
The Benefits of Improving your Child’s Fitness
There are many benefits to your child being active. Some of these benefits continue into their teen and adult life, such as developing a healthy habit of putting in the time and effort to exercise weekly. Everybody knows the general reasoning for ensuring your child gets exercise, but the more specific benefits are:
The Three Types of Physical Activity and Their Toys
It is recommended that children receive on average 60 minutes of exercise a day. And there are three main areas of activity that your child should exercise every day. If you would like to track the amount of exercise your child gets or their movements for safety reasons, consider purchasing a smartwatch or fitness watch designed for kids.
Endurance or aerobic activity involves the continuous movement of large muscle groups. It causes your heart and breathing rate to increase, and you work up a sweat. This kind of activity is essential to the strengthening of your heart and lungs.
Riding on a kick scooter is a great cardiovascular endurance activity. Your heart rate and breathing are constantly changing depending on how fast your child is kicking and moving. Increasing and decreasing your heart rate and breathing is an excellent way to improve your endurance because you are constantly working your lungs and heart, strengthening the surrounding supporting muscles that help improve the functioning of these organs.
Roller skating is another great way to improve endurance. It works the same as scootering. Using large groups of muscles to propel yourself forward drives your heart and breathing rate up; therefore, exercising the surrounding and supporting muscles of the organs improves your endurance.
Strength/Muscle and Bone Strengthening:
Strengthening your child’s bones and muscles helps with their development and health further down the line. Working against some form of resistance is one of the best ways to improve your child’s strength. Their muscles should be strong enough to handle the daily challenges they will encounter, such as lugging a heavy book bag up a flight of stairs.
A trampoline might seem like an odd thing to suggest just after we’ve told you that the best way to improve muscle strength is by working against some form of resistance. But what you might not know is that when jumping, your child is working against resistance. They’re working against gravity.
To remain balanced in the air, your child has to use all their major muscle groups – back, core arms, and legs. This means that all the major muscle groups are working against gravity to keep your child upright, therefore strengthening the muscles.
When your child is pushing the balance bike forward, their leg muscles are actively working against the resistance from the friction of the road, and their core muscles are activated to remain balanced. Therefore both the large muscle groups in the legs and core are being strengthened. One of the smaller muscle groups that also get exercised is the muscles in your hands and feet. It might not be noticeable, but strengthening these muscles can improve your child’s fine motor skills and ankle strength.
Flexibility is a vital activity for your child to practice. Flexibility helps maintain and lengthen muscle length, and it helps prevent the shortening or stiffening of muscles, which helps reduce the risk of injury. It encourages strong muscles and bones, improves mobility, muscle coordination, and good posture.
Dancing is a fun way to improve your flexibility. Before and after every dance session, your child will have a stretching session. While dancing, your child will continue to stretch their muscles. As the stretches and dance moves become easier, your child will be able to go further into each action, eventually permanently lengthening their muscles and improving their flexibility. If you don’t want to pay for dance lessons, consider purchasing a karaoke machine or Bluetooth speaker so your child has music they can dance and stretch to.
Active Play on a Playground
The running, climbing, falling, and jumping involved in active play encourage the muscles to expand and contract while activated. While their muscles are expanded, they are being stretched. Continually expanding their muscles will improve their flexibility and mobility. If you have the luxury of having a yard and live a distance from a park, consider purchasing a small jungle gym or water slide to encourage your kids to play outside actively.