One step at a time – tips to become an Active Family

by Nicole Sadlier, Mighty Movers CBR program

My Grandparent’s generation had a saying “Do as I say, not as I do.”  Whether you agree with this parenting philosophy from earlier generations, it does demonstrate the power of role modelling and how our actions or what we ‘do’ help to guide our children’s behaviour.

Each time we look for a ‘park at the front’ to save us walking too far, choose a screen based activity in our leisure time or drive to the local shops instead of choosing active transport (walking/riding) we teach our children behaviours that decrease physical activity.  Alternatively, when we suggest going for a walk to the local park or playground to kick a ball to relax, ride to work or meet other parents for a bush walk we share with our kids that it’s enjoyable to be active.

Becoming a more active family starts with being mindful about the choices that we make, and regularly asking ourselves the question “How can I do this task differently to make it more active?”

Here’s some tips to get you thinking about increasing active time for your family:

Active Travel to Playgroup or your local shops
Can you walk or ride to your playgroup?  Your answer may be “Yes! But my child walks too slow and we’d never get there in time.”  I’ve been there.  My family’s solution was that I walked and pushed my child in the pram even though he could walk well but he knew that on the return journey we’d walk at his pace when we didn’t have any time constraints.  If your answer is “No” – try parking a few hundred meters away from playgroup and walking the last part of your journey.

Go Chair Free
Ok, maybe not 100% of the time, but again ask yourself the question “Do we really need to sit in a chair?”  This is especially true for kid’s activities like craft, play dough, drawing and morning tea that are traditionally set up at a table with chairs.  Kids can easily stand at a craft table while they create and morning tea on a picnic rug means that your child is engaging their core muscles to sit as opposed to being held by a chair.

Get on Your Bike
Your child doesn’t have to be of riding age to enjoy the freedom of two-wheels.  Bike seats and bike trailers make it possible for parents to get biking again with their little ones.  When parents speak with me about going two-wheels with kids one of their biggest concerns is around what equipment to choose.  To help you trial using a trailer: See Change have a Bike Trailer Rental project – for more information go to http://www.see-change.org.au/bike-trailer-rental/

Let your Child be Involved
Speak to any parent who let’s their child help with the vacuuming, washing the car or assist with cooking and they’ll most likely laugh about how much longer everything takes at first.  However, I can promise you that by taking the time to allow your child to build life skills they actually become quite competent and helpful as they become a preschooler.

Get Fit Together
Parents often comment that they know they need to improve their fitness but cannot find the time to get to a class, gym, etc.  Unless you’re training towards specific fitness goals or need some kid-free downtime, moving together as a family kicking a ball, skipping, frog hopping, running up the slippery slide, or playing chasing is guarantee to elevate your heart rate (ie improve your physical fitness), make you laugh (ie improve your mental fitness) and it’s free (ie improve your bank balance).

If you’re sitting down reading this, get up and have a 5-minute activity break!  Walk around the block.  Dance like no-ones watching.  Chase your child around the house or yard.  Start small and see if it makes you feel good!

Mighty Movers CBR is an initiative of the Bluearth Foundation run in partnership with ACT Playgroups and supported by the ACT Government under the ACT Health Promotion Grants Program. We hope it helps you, your children and your family Move More, Sit Less.

 

Bluearth: improving the health and wellbeing of Australian children by making movement part of everyday life.

Mighty Movers CBR – Active Play #20 The Gingerbread Man

I must admit, I love the quiet time of snuggling up with my child and sharing a book. Although, what I enjoy even more is hearing and observing the stories we share weave their way into his play, singing and story telling. Through Mighty Movers CBR I’ve come to value bringing books to life with movement. Story time doesn’t have to always be quiet time and indoors – it can be active, exuberant, noisy, full of self-expression and take place outdoors – that’s why we’ve created Active Play Idea #20.

Your local Libraries ACT staff will be able to assist you with titles that will get you and your children moving. Or go online and check out their Kids Programs like Giggle & Wiggle.

Move More Sit Less when sharing story time with your child!

How can you help to support and spread the word on Active Play?

  • Try these play ideas at home or with groups of kids
  • Follow us on Facebook  – and Like, Comment or Share
  • Share these play ideas with other families either through play, conversations, Facebook or printed copies
  • Let us know if your family, playgroup or centre need help with making active play part of your everyday

Mighty Movers CBR is an initiative of the Bluearth Foundation run in partnership with ACT Playgroups and supported by the ACT Government under the ACT Health Promotion Grants Program. We hope it helps you, your children and your family Move More, Sit Less.

Mighty Movers CBR – Active Play #19 Go Bush

When I’m asked, “What is your favourite playground?” – my first response is generally a mix of:

  • a place I can walk to from home
  • a nature reserve near my home, and
  • the bush!

To me, the bush is one of the best playgrounds we can take our kids to. There’s so much space to run, lots to explore and normally fallen trees to climb, balance along and jump off. The bush, unlike most built playgrounds, changes markedly with the seasons and weather and helps kids tune in to nature with experiences like finding and smelling the delicate Chocolate Lily.

When I spend time with families at Bush Groups I’m always part of great movement, observe exciting explorations and hear interesting conversations. Active Play Idea #19 ‘Go Bush’ has been created as a resource to kick start your playgroup or family bush adventures.

Move More Sit Less and go bush in Australia’s Bush Capital, Canberra!

How can you help to support and spread the word on Active Play?

  • Try these play ideas at home or with groups of kids
  • Follow us on Facebook  – and Like, Comment or Share
  • Share these play ideas with other families either through play, conversations, Facebook or printed copies
  • Let us know if your family, playgroup or centre need help with making active play part of your everyday

Mighty Movers CBR is an initiative of the Bluearth Foundation run in partnership with ACT Playgroups and supported by the ACT Government under the ACT Health Promotion Grants Program. We hope it helps you, your children and your family Move More, Sit Less.

Mighty Movers CBR – Active Play #18 Ideas with Rope

When I think of rope and my childhood I have memories of skipping at school and rope swings in the bush. Rope is a super versatile play item and in Active Play Idea #18 we’ve unravelled four simple ideas to share with your child.

Try learning a few different knots to show/teach your child – here’s a good starting point. Or, try making your own cargo net climber like Sticks and Stones Nature Playgroup did.

Remember fun with rope and knot tying leads to some great adventures later on when your children get older like: abseiling, sailing and rock climbing.

Move More Sit Less and find play with the everyday!

How can you help to support and spread the word on Active Play?

  • Try these play ideas at home or with groups of kids
  • Follow us on Facebook  – and Like, Comment or Share
  • Share these play ideas with other families either through play, conversations, Facebook or printed copies
  • Let us know if your family, playgroup or centre need help with making active play part of your everyday

Mighty Movers CBR is an initiative of the Bluearth Foundation run in partnership with ACT Playgroups and supported by the ACT Government under the ACT Health Promotion Grants Program. We hope it helps you, your children and your family Move More, Sit Less.

Mighty Movers CBR – Active Play #17 Obstacle Course

Are you looking for an activity that really gets your kids moving in lots of different ways? Then Active Play Idea #17 ‘Obstacle Course’ is for you!

Obstacle Courses can be created indoors or outside, use everyday items, can be adapted to suit all ages, and best of all…kids love them!

If you enjoy Ninja Warrior from the comfort of your couch, why not create your own Ninja Warrior family course at home. Get crazy and creative, encourage your kids to add their own obstacles and enjoy their laughter when you have a go.

Share the Active Play love by uploading your photos or videos of your family, playgroup or early childhood centre getting their moves on and navigating your course.

Be a Move More Sit Less warrior and have fun!

How can you help to support and spread the word on Active Play?

  •  Try these play ideas at home or with groups of kids
  • Follow us on Facebook  – and Like, Comment or Share
  • Share these play ideas with other families either through play, conversations, Facebook or printed copies
  • Let us know if your family, playgroup or centre need help with making active play part of your everyday

Mighty Movers CBR is an initiative of the Bluearth Foundation run in partnership with ACT Playgroups and supported by the ACT Government under the ACT Health Promotion Grants Program. We hope it helps you, your children and your family Move More, Sit Less.

Mighty Movers CBR – Active Play #16 Jumping Jacks

Does your child love to jump on the bed? Mine does! So much so, I have to sneak into the bedrooms when changing the sheets. Whether you love or loathe bed jumping, jumping is a skill your child will learn and practice on their developmental path.

To help your child hone their jumping skills, we’ve created Active Play Idea #16 ‘Jumping Jacks’. Join in when you can as jumping is great physical activity for adults too.

Looking to share jumping with your baby? Bouncy baby play to active songs and rhymes is sure to delight them. A popular one in my home is Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.

Move More Sit Less and jump for joy!

How can you help to support and spread the word on Active Play?

  •  Try these play ideas at home or with groups of kids
  • Follow us on Facebook  – and Like, Comment or Share
  • Share these play ideas with other families either through play, conversations, Facebook or printed copies
  • Let us know if your family, playgroup or centre need help with making active play part of your everyday

Mighty Movers CBR is an initiative of the Bluearth Foundation run in partnership with ACT Playgroups and supported by the ACT Government under the ACT Health Promotion Grants Program. We hope it helps you, your children and your family Move More, Sit Less.

Mighty Movers CBR – Active Play #15 In the Basket

 

There’s something innately satisfying about throwing an object at a target and hitting the mark. Whether you’re playing ball sports or just like throwing scrunched up paper into your bin – being able to throw an object and hit a target is a skill you most likely acquired when you were a kid.

You can help your child to develop an ability to throw and hit a target with Active Play Idea #15 ‘In the Basket’. It’s a fun game the whole family can play, and it’s a great way to re-purpose any odd, holey or old socks in your drawers.

Once your child is skilled at releasing their throw – try making paper aeroplanes to fly as a family. There’s a great design here https://tinyurl.com/yatuofbg to fold and fly, or feel free to share your favourite design with us.

Move More Sit Less and have fun playing with your kids!

How can you help to support and spread the word on Active Play?

  •  Try these play ideas at home or with groups of kids
  • Follow us on Facebook  – and Like, Comment or Share
  • Share these play ideas with other families either through play, conversations, Facebook or printed copies
  • Let us know if your family, playgroup or centre need help with making active play part of your everyday

Mighty Movers CBR is an initiative of the Bluearth Foundation run in partnership with ACT Playgroups and supported by the ACT Government under the ACT Health Promotion Grants Program. We hope it helps you, your children and your family Move More, Sit Less.