Global Epidemic of Childhood Inactivity Reported

If you have had an eye on the news recently you may have spotted this story on the BBC website. It reports that four in five 11- to 17-year-olds around the world are not taking enough physical exercise. The article goes on to explain that The World Health Organisation says children’s health is being damaged, as well as their brain development and social skills. Here at Happydesigner HQ we’re big fans of keeping fit, as well as moving around and playing games! But sometimes it’s seems easier to sit on the sofa and watch some TV, or head to the PS4 after a long day of school and homework. It’s very understandable, but it’s so important that kids get the chance to move around and stay healthy and active.

What Can I Do?

It can feel quite overwhelming sometimes, keeping up with teenagers and getting kids out of the house. Trying to dig a 17 year-old out of their bedroom to come and have a walk is more difficult than turning off Netflix when the next episode of The Crown is counting down and it’s 10.30pm (that little button saying “five seconds until next episode” is CRUEL!) but getting a toddler to join in on a dog walk isn’t quite such an ordeal. Thankfully, here at Happydesigner HQ we have a book for every occasion, and today’s book is all about a little guy called Charlie! Read on to see how he can help you to get more active with your family.

Keeping Fit: Just Like Charlie

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Keeping Active, Just Like Charlie

Charlie is excited: it’s Sports Day at school! “Just Like Charlie” is a great book about keeping fit and active. Join Charlie as he learns how to walk like a bear, stand on one leg like a flamingo and waddle like a penguin! “Just Like Charlie” is a children’s book designed to get kids moving by giving them helpful tips about how to move, as well as encouraging them to try the exercises that Charlie is doing. Whilst the movements themselves aren’t too taxing, they will get kids up and exercising, and you can use them as a basis for fun games and ways to play. Can you walk like a bear, Just Like Charlie? Or stand on one leg, Just Like Charlie? Give it a go, get the kids involved and see if you can make your own Sports Day, Just Like Charlie!

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How Active Do I Need to Be?

The NHS advises that children need to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. There are some ideas on the NHS website, such as cycling, swimming and dancing. Even just making sure you all go out for a dog walk or a walk into town can help eat up those 60 minutes. Perhaps this Christmas holiday you can take up a skill you’ve always wanted to try. Is there a local martial arts group you can get involved in, or perhaps a dance class nearby that will teach the type of dancing you or your kids are into? Perhaps you’re lucky enough to live near a beach, and you can use the free facilities that nature has provided. If you want to make it more fun for your kids you can find snorkelling gear (just the goggles can be enough!) cheaply enough from most supermarkets. If not, then most local sports centres have swimming pools that often give discounts (or even free sessions) to children. It’s always worth asking!

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There are some fab resources online that will help you to find ways of becoming more active. The BBC have a great team of Super Movers, and they will give you some great ideas about getting active. They can even help you to learn your times tables whilst moving about and having fun! There’s also a great quiz, which can help you to find activities for everyone.

Make Your Own Sports Day

You can follow Charlie’s example and make your own sports day! How about planning it the day before; get a lot of colourful paper, ribbons, glitter, paint, glue – anything that will require a lot of mess in the garden is great! Perhaps think about the kind of resources you’re using as well; is the paper recycled? Is the glitter edible? Are the buttons and sequins plastic, and would it be better to use natural alternatives like really dry leaves and flowers? Creative moments are a fab way of getting kids to think carefully about the choices they make.

Then get planning! Think old school, do you have any eggs around you can boil for an egg-‘n’-spoon race? If you boil them it won’t matter if they drop, and you can put them in a salad for lunch after! Remember to plan healthy snacks into your day, and plenty of cold, fresh water. Try to avoid sugary juices or cordials and definitely stay away from fizzy pop. Perhaps part of the planning fun can be making fruit smoothie lollies?

“Creative moments are a fab way of getting kids to think carefully about the choices they make.”

You definitely need some chalk, as that can be a great way to mark the start and finish of races. If your garden isn’t big enough for laps or running, take your race to the local park. It doesn’t mean you have to take everything with you, maybe plan certain races or games for the park, and some for the garden. If you don’t have a garden (or one you can share with a friend) how about using an old duvet cover to draw hopscotch markings on? You could tie it to the sofa and make a great limbo bar out of it too! Why not try a dance-off? Whoever is up for their turn needs to stand on the duvet and make up the best dance they can (you can use your phone or the radio for music) and the “judge” chooses the best moves or most interesting use of the music!

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Make sure that part of the planning involves prizes too. Try to avoid sweets as rewards; after all, today is all about staying active and being healthy. Make some medals with pieces of ribbon, or let someone off one of their chores for that night. Perhaps you can look into making your own healthy treats; find your inspiration here.

Get Your Copy of Just Like Charlie

If you want any more helpful tips on staying active and getting kids up and moving, grab yourself a copy of Just Like Charlie. Written by Carl Ford and illustrated by Sarah (Happydesigner) this book is sure to be a hit with kids, and may even get them outside before you do! The book can be found for sale here.

 

 

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