According to the Canadian Physical Activities Guidelines, children from birth to 4 years of age should get at least 180 minutes of physical activity per day, at any intensity. Children aged 5 to 11 should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily.
A good way to integrate physical activity into the routine of young children is to have them participate in household tasks. According to the website Naître et grandir.com, “it is appropriate to have children take part in household tasks. Chores help them learn to organize their time, to be responsible, to set goals, and to gain skills”.
An easy way to get children involved is to make household tasks into games that help develop their physical abilities. Here are a few ideas:
- Swoop and Scoop (LEAP HOP, pp. 90-91, 141): Ask your child to use bottle scoops to pick up his or her toys and put them into a basket or a box. You can also make the activity into a competition or a race.
- Special Deliveries (LEAP HOP, pp. 86-87): Have your child pretend to be a letter carrier, delivering clean clothes, towels, and sheets to specific rooms. The child can use a basket or a wagon to carry more clothes.
- Laundry Basket Ball (LEAP HOP, pp. 50-51): Let your child pick up or sort dirty clothes by tossing them into a laundry basket. You can make the activity more challenging by asking them to sort the clothes by colour (ie. whites in one basket and dark colours in another). Another way to increase the challenge is to have the child turn around and throw the clothes into the basket behind them, throw clothes over their heads, etc.
- Put on some music and dance as you tidy the house.
For other activity ideas, see the activity cards for parents at: http://decoda.ca/resources/online-resources/resources-child-family-literacy/leap-resources/