It should come as no surprise, that exercise is vital in both the physical and mental develop of young children, especially with more and more children favoring video games or television over physical activity. According to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), children should receive at least one hour of physical activity every day:
- Toddlers: 30 minutes planned physical activity AND 60 minutes of free play.
- Preschoolers: 60 minutes planned physical activity AND 60 minutes of free play.
- School-Age: One hour broken up into bouts of 15 minutes or more.
“Physical activity and sports [like climbing] are generally promoted for their positive effect on children’s physical health,” says Dr. Amika Singh. So how do you encourage your children to get up and get moving? Well, for children, it’s all about F-U-N!
“One of the main problems is that people associate exercise with a gym or equipment,” says Dr. Marc Tinsley. “I tell people to think ‘outside the barbell.’”
A 2010 study conducted by One Poll in the UK reported 85 percent of children ages 6-12 want more adventure in their lives – camping, biking, hiking, climbing!
And 85 percent of parents agree, with 44 percent admitting that they played outside more as a child than their children do. A big part of this has to do with safety. 38 percent of parents admit that they are more protective of their children than their parents were, which is probably a sign of the times. Gone are the days when children would run, jump, and play outside until the street lamps came on. Today’s world is just not as safe as it used to be. So, more and more children are growing up in front of a television screen instead of in the great outdoors. Child advocacy expert Richard Louv calls it “nature deficit disorder.”
“Direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults,” says Louv.
The trick is to find a fun and safe environment for adventure play.
A Fun, Safe Environment for Adventure Play
“Play has been called the work of children and is an important part of their development. It helps introduce kids to the world and to each other while also helping them build skills and confidence,” writes Jenna Stadsvold.
Conveniently located in Howard County, Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures has a ropes course specifically designed for children ages 5-10 – our Terrapin Explorer kids’ course. With 22 different fun elements, the Terrapin Explorer lets kids walk, balance, swing, zip, and crawl as they get the physical activity they need.
Don’t worry! There’s plenty for parents to do as well! As the old saying goes, Lead by Example. It is important for parents to demonstrate the importance of physical activity to their children.
“Parents who exercise with their children are not only teaching them how to live a healthy lifestyle, they are also reinforcing the family bonds and creating wonderful family traditions,” says Pam Howard, certified health coach and mother of two.
“Time spent in outdoor recreation leads to a range of benefits, from reduced obesity rates to strengthened family ties,” says Robert Manning, professor of recreation management at the University of Vermont. And, quite frankly, it’s more enjoyable.
If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
- Wickes, Stuart. “Kids need adventure. Parents need to teach them how.” Family Adventure Project. N.p., 08 Jan. 2016. Web. 23 June 2017.
- Stadsvold, Jenna. “Adventure Play: The Benefits of Risk Taking.” Head Rush Technologies. N.p., 04 Nov. 2016. Web. 23 June 2017.