I’m very lucky my daughter goes to a school where outdoor play is encouraged, as far as I can tell. She’s just finished her reception year where she had the freedom to play outdoors whenever she wanted, in all weathers. One of her favourite activities at school last year was to play outdoors.
The reception children had their own playground and climbing frame and activities were set up for outdoor play every single day. Whenever I picked my daughter up from the after school club, she was often whizzing around the playground on a scooter. In the summer terms for two mornings per week, before the school bell, parents and pupils were encouraged to take part in a ‘daily mile’ around the school field to encourage a more active lifestyle.
The school provides physical extra-curricular activities every day after school and Bella takes part in the street dance classes. The playgrounds have climbing frames and sheds filled with activities the children can use at break times. As far as I can tell, having not spent an actual school day there, they are keen to encourage the children to be physical and active which is brilliant. Unfortunately it’s not like this everywhere.
In fact, recent research by ESP Play has discovered 68% of a child’s PE lesson can be spent stationary!
That’s shocking, right?!
Many schools seem to be ‘healthy schools’ now and healthy isn’t just about food, it’s the whole lot – a healthy lifestyle which includes being active. So I’m upset to hear the schools that tell parents what children can and can’t eat during a school day, in order to be healthy, aren’t taking physical activity as seriously as they should. It sounds like PE lessons need an overhaul and to become more, well, physical.
Children are becoming less active and more unhealthy in today’s society and both parents and schools need to work together to tackle this crisis before it gets out of hand. Luckily companies like ESP Play are on hand to help schools improve their play areas with cool wooden climbing frames and plenty of play equipment inspired by nature. Their research discovered physical activity increased by 19% where their play methods and playground equipment was installed. I’m not surprised, because if you take a look at their website you’ll see it’s awesome!
I personally love the wooden climbing equipment and we regularly use parks with similar structures. At least once a week we go to a nearby park with a wooden obstacle course both the children (and us parents) love. We take it turns to run laps around the park whilst the children play. Encouraging a love of the outdoors and promoting the importance of being active is so important. We must show ourselves enjoying it as parents if we expect our children to develop a lifelong passion for it.
After dinner, most evenings, we will go for a walk. Even if it’s just around the block or along the country lane behind our home, it doesn’t matter. It’s a great time for conversations, to explore nature and to squeeze a little more activity into our day.
There are so many fun ways you can keep active with your kids in tow. Read my recent blog post 5 Fun Ways to Keep Fit with a Little One for even more ideas.