Limit or reduce your kid’s screen time and take them outdoors. Here are some kids activities that are also exercises for kids that the entire family can enjoy!
The lack of outdoor activity among children could be one reason for high rates of myopia. According to a 2018 study, kids in Singapore only spend 3.1 hours a week outdoors as compared to children in Sydney who spend get 13.8 hours.
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You may think that playing with sand is a passive pastime. However, children engage their upper bodies when they scoop, dig and pour sand while squatting works their legs, glutes and calves. With the constant running to and from the water’s edge to get buckets of water for the sandcastle’s moat — it’s a whole body workout! Hand-eye coordination is also enhanced through the use of the sandcastle building tools like shovels and chiselling sticks.
Sandcastle building is a great way to spend quality family time. Parents can also use the fun outdoor activity to coach children on setting their vision, transforming their madcap ideas into realistic goals, honing their patience and concentration skills while unleashing their creativity.
To see sandcastle enthusiasts create stunning gigantic sand sculptures, head down to Castle Beach at East Coast Park (Near Carpark E2) on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Sandcastle building kits are available for sale there.
For maximum enjoyment, bring plenty of drinking water, sunscreen and a cap!
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Have a teen who’s bored of kiddy activities? Have a go at stand-up paddling or SUP, the latest sport to hit sunny Singapore, which requires one to stay upright on a surfboard while using a long paddle to move through the water.
If your teens are water-confident, this will thrill them. It is a lot less painful falling into the water, than off a skateboard onto the hard ground — which means parents can join in this activity with their children as well!
SUP requires good balancing skills, strength and an alert mind to keep one upright and the paddleboard above the waters. To propel and manoeuvre the paddleboard, all core muscles including leg muscles, shoulders, back, chest, arms and abdominal muscles have to work in unison. It’s a full-body workout but the sport is so distractingly fun that your kids won’t even know that they’re “exercising”. Over time, they’ll have a better sense of balance and coordination, increased mental alertness, heightened body awareness, better stamina and more muscle tone.
Related: Getting Fit Through Fun for kids
Archery is often misunderstood as a passive sport. In reality, it is a great form of physical exercise that gives the upper body a good workout by strengthening core muscles.
This sport is a good way to train one’s endurance and concentration skills. To excel in archery, one must be able to keep the body balanced and still while exercising the arms and fingers to draw, aim and fire the arrow.
Archery improves hand-eye coordination and flexibility of our hands and fingers. Practising archery is a great mind exercise and de-stressor as it trains one to free the mind from distractions and focus on the target. The repetitive motion of archery builds strength, muscle memory and mental strength.
For affordable archery programmes, search for “archery” at ActiveSG’s portal, where you can offset 30 per cent of the cost with your ActiveSG dollars. Programmes range from three-hour basic archery classes like Archery Fun Shoot to a three-hour Archery Family Camp for one parent and one child.
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Studies have shown that taking walks in nature or exploring nature trails can improve one’s physical and emotional well-being, reduce psychological stress, depressive symptoms, build mental strength and improve sleep and vitality.
Bring your children along and start exploring the many nature trails in Singapore. Start by surrounding the young ones with the sights and sounds of the forest — the chirps of birds, the songs of the cicadas, and the rustling of leaves.
If your child can walk independently, start them on paved paths or boardwalks, such as the
Chemperai Trail at MacRitchie Reservoir or the easier 600m Rain Forest Walking Trail at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
As they get older and can look out for roots and rocks, head for the longer, wilder nature trails like the Treetop Trail (pro-tip: start from the Venus Drive carpark instead of the main MacRitchie entrance for a shorter walk) or the Wallace Trail at Dairy Farm Nature Park.
Breaking the walk up with rest stops, cold drinks and snacks will motivate them to continue walking and enjoy the great outdoors.
For more trails, visit NPark's DIY Walking Tour.
Visit Parent Hub, for more useful tips and guides to give your child a healthy start.
Visit Active Parents, for more tips and resources.
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This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
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