With today’s exceptional increase in childhood obesity, it has never been more important ensure your children are living enjoyable, energetic and healthy lives. Years ago, children would play outside, participating in a wide range of vigorous group activities. Today, with the creation of kid’s television stations, computers and video games children have begun to lead a more sedentary lifestyle.
As a parent it is your responsibility to encourage your child to play outside at an early age as they will realize the fun they can have as well as develop good habits of exercise that will remain with them throughout life. An ideal solution to keep kids safe and outdoors is to have age appropriate outdoor toys and play equipment that can be used in your back yard with other children in addition to the rest of the family. The outdoor toy market provides something for everyone at all price points. Also, think about the many games you played outside as a kid – Hide and Seek or Red Light, Green Light – and you’ll have your kids playing at no cost at all!
For your young child, a sandbox can be a great way to stimulate your kid’s imagination. Once your child is able to sit, he or she can enjoy the fun of playing with sand and building castles while obtaining motor skills at the same time. Keep in mind that young children also like to put foreign objects in their mouths, so a close eye is necessary while playing in the sandbox. There is a wide range of sandboxes available plus plenty of great toys to play with while in the sand. When purchasing the sand for the box, ensure that it is “playsand” quality that has been treated to remove clay and any other unnecessary particles.
As your toddler grows, another great item for the back yard to keep your kids moving is a swing set or playground. A wide range of playsets are available – from the DIY variety to modular systems that allow customers to combine together multiple modules and allow for an exclusive custom set up. Playsets can either be set up by you or trained construction teams – it all depends on what you want to spend on this investment!
Bounce houses can also provide your younger children with fun and exercise. While bouncing, they’re working on strengthening their leg muscles, as well as perfecting motor skills. Bounce houses are available at a wide range of price points – some even including water features to keep your kids cool on hot summer days.
And speaking of summer, don’t forget to have some water toys on hand to keep your kids refreshed while they’re outside. Any type of sprinkler will entertain your younger child, while water slides, water balloons and water guns will have your kids racing around for hours of fun while burning calories and strengthening their muscles.
Last, but certainly not least, have on-hand sports equipment that encourages both individual and team outdoor play. Footballs, softballs and bats, basketballs (and hoops) and kickballs are all great items to have on hand to keep your kids running.
It’s up to parents to guide their children in the right direction and ensure that they are exercising enough on a daily and weekly basis. If you start encouraging your children when they’re young, it’s more likely they will continue to lead a healthy and active lifestyle as they grow older. While television, computers and video games don’t have to be entirely ignored, everything must be done in moderation to live a long and prosperous life – and, with the right toys outside, you’re kids are bound to be up and running!