Motivating children to go outside and be active can be a challenge with all of the electronic devices they have at their fingertips. And it’s more than just too much screen time and strain on the eyes that parents should be concerned about. A lack of physical activity for growing children can lead to all sorts of problems, such as juvenile high blood pressure and diabetes.
Take a look at these healthy water activity options for kids and the physical and emotional benefits they can provide. Of course, with all of these activities, water safety comes first. Make sure your kids are always supervised and have properly-fitted equipment, including a child-size life vest.
1. Paddle Boarding
Paddle boarding is a fun activity that both adults and kids can participate in and enjoy together. To get started, check out what online stores, such as PaddleBoardDirect.com, have to offer. For best results, you’ll want to choose a paddle board that’s recommended for kids.
Once you’ve selected a paddle board, work with your child on finding his balance on the paddle board. Learning balance is key before he can actually paddle and gain the benefits of regular exercise. When paddle boarding, the core, arms, legs, feet and toes are engaged.
Just like with paddle boards, kayaks are available in different sizes. Again, there’s a learning curve here for anyone who’s new to kayaking because balance is key. It’s also important to get the proper paddling motion down for efficient, not wasted and misplaced, movement. Kayaking can help children gain strength and endurance, as well as build upper body strength in the arms, shoulders, chest and abs. Leg muscles will also be engaged. This is a good activity for families who want to spend time on the water together.
If you or someone you know has a swimming pool, you’re already ahead of the game with this activity. However, most towns, even the smaller ones, have a community pool. If your child doesn’t know how to swim, look for a swim instructor to give your child the benefit of lessons.
Swimming is a great healthy water activity because children are typically constantly moving when they are in the water. They use their arms, core, legs, ankles and feet to maneuver around, strengthening their muscles and building stamina. Swimming also helps increase flexibility and coordination.
Snorkeling is another fun activity for children, but supervision and instruction is necessary. When children participate in snorkeling, they wear flippers and a life jacket and have a snorkel and mask. As they slowly move through the water, their muscles are at work keeping their legs in line with their body and activating the muscles in their core. Their arms are also used to help propel them through the water. All of this activity can elevate the heart’s rate and result in cardiovascular benefits.
How Healthy Water Activities Can Benefit Kids in Other Ways
Water activities can benefit kids in ways other than the area of physical fitness. Participating in them can also have an effect on a child’s emotions. For example, a child who learns the skills required for a water activity, such as swimming or paddle boarding, will develop self-confidence as he achieves those skills and is able to successful execute the activity.
The process of learning how to perform an activity well can also help children learn the value of setting small, achievable goals and persist until they get what they want.
Water activities can also present children with a host of social benefits. For example, if your child takes lessons related to a water activity, such as swimming, she will meet others who are learning, too. Your child will learn to take turns receiving help, as well as develop a respect for others who are trying to achieve the same goals.
Finally, water activities can help children have fun and enjoy themselves. No matter if it’s the pool in your backyard, an ocean or a lake, most children will be delighted to participate in activities that allow them to splash in the water and expend their energy.
Water activities can also give families something to do together, which can turn into a bonding experience that everyone will remember for many, many years to come. If you’re feeling adventurous, you might want to make it a goal to try one or two new water activities each year.