Best Sports & Outdoor Activities For Children 2018

Does your children spend enough time playing outdoors? Are your children glued to their tablets, computers and mobile phones? Are your children putting on weight? Many health practitioners and parents too are concerned about the amount of time that children, from preschoolers - to teens - spend indoors, being physically inactive.

This can cause serious problems for children, especially, as they are still growing - their bodies and minds are still developing - and they need to be active. How are you going to get your kids off the couch? And out of the house? And get them playing a sport, of taking part in outdoor activities, today?

​Serious Health Risks

​Children need physical exercise to help them develop and stay healthy. Children, who are not physically active, risk developing serious physical and psychological problems, later in life. Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes are common health problems that are linked to sedentary lifestyles.

​Not all children are naturally athletic, but, there are a lot of fun, family friendly, options, when it comes to enjoying a more active lifestyle, together. There are classes that your children can join, or, you can adapt games, to play at your home.

​1. Basketball

base ball for kids

​Basketball has many benefits for your children. It can be played indoors, or outdoors. The hoop is normally lowered, for children. Teach your children ‘hand-eye’ coordination, or, teach them to be a part of the team. Learning the rules will help your child become physically stronger, and learn good sportsmanship. Take your kids to your local basketball court, and shoot some hoops, or set up a hoop at home.

​You’ll need to buy a ball that is the right size, for your child. Basketballs can be a size 3, 5, 6, or 7. The 7 is the standard men’s size ‘game’ ball, while the 6 is slightly smaller, for women. A 5 is for younger children, ages 8-12, and the 3 a mini-ball, for ages 5-8. You’ll need to set up a board, and hoop basket, and buy a ball that is age appropriate for your child. Read The best basketball review to pick a awesome basketball for your children.

​Basketball is played by dribbling the ball, with one hand on top of the ball, on the court, and passing it to a fellow player, to score a basket. You could also dribble it all the way across the court, and shoot the ball into the basket, yourself. Two teams compete to score the highest points. Depending on the area of the court, from which the shot is taken, a ‘basket’ can be either 1, 2, or, 3, points. There is a game referee who will call out fouls and illegal moves.

​2. Air Hockey Table

Air Hockey Table

​Air hockey tables are often found in arcades and can be played by older children. The game is quite simple to play and will help your child develop ‘hand-eye’ coordination, and have fun playing, too. The game is played with ‘mallets’, which have to touch the table, which is very smooth. The ‘puck’ is a disk that must be propelled towards the goal, and your opponent can block the goal, and take a shot, to yours.

​The winner is the first person to score 7 times. To begin the game, the puck is placed in the center of the table, and players will ‘take’ the puck. You are not allowed to place your mallet over the puck, at any stage. You also have a time limit - you cannot slow down game play - you have 7 seconds to move the puck over the center line, or you forfeit your shot. Air hockey is a fun, fast paced game, which can be enjoyed by the whole family.

​You could consider getting your own air hockey table for your family rec room. You can also toss a coin, to see who plays first. Air hockey is a great way for children to learn to compete, have fun, and flex their physical, and mental, muscles. To have the best choice you should read the best air hockey table reviews

​To play the game successfully, you will have to learn how the puck moves on the table, and you can also learn to manipulate the angles of the table to assist you, when making more difficult shots. It is possible to rebound the puck off the side of the table, so that it comes into the goal, at an angle. Assuming, of course, that your shot is not blocked, by your opponent, you can score a sneaky goal this way

​Speed and dexterity are required to play the game. It is not suitable for very young children, but, they can have a turn at playing for goal, by themselves. This will be beneficial for younger children - without the pressure of the game itself, just a way to ‘play’ and learn coordination.

​3. Pickle Ball

pickel ball for kid

​Pickle Ball is a game that was originally invented by parents, who were looking for a way to keep their children entertained, during the long summer vacation. Pickle ball is played on a badminton sized court - a tennis court can be adapted, or you can make your own court, at home. It is similar to tennis, but a much simpler game, that can be played by two, or four, players.

​Pickle ball is a wonderful game for children to play because it is much easier than tennis. Children do not have to learn how to serve a ball, but simply hit it ‘underhand’ over the net. The ball has to pass beyond the ‘no volley’ line, and bounce, first - it cannot be volleyed back until the first ‘bounce’ plays are made.

​The balls are ‘whiffle’ balls - balls that have holes in them which enable them to move more slowly, through the air. Traditionally these are practice balls, used in sports such as golf, or, baseball. Pick balls are Duraballs, or Jugsballs, and are used to play either indoors, or, outdoors. There are also special pickle ball paddles which are used to play the game. Games can be played in sets, or you can play the first to reach 11, 15 or 21. You need to win by 2 points, to win a game.

​Pickle ball is a sport that is played across the States, and internationally. It is a very ‘child-friendly’ game as the rules are relatively simple, and the skills required to play are fairly basic. Teach your children how to play, and they will be entertained for hours, and develop good ball skills, and being active will also help their mental development, too.

​There is a strong link between physical exercise and developing stronger mental ‘processing’ skills - the more agile and fit your child is physically - the sharper and quicker they will be, mentally. Most importantly, pickle ball is a fun, family-friendly game, which everyone can play together.

​Families that spend time together, and are active, together, are also happier. It is too easy, with the demands of modern life, to become inactive. Taking time to play and be active, with your children, will help everyone to be healthier and happier. You can set up a court in your garden, on your driveway, or head over to your local tennis courts, and mark out a court with chalk. Remember to lower the tennis net, to 34 inches, and see just how easy it is to play pickle ball!

​4. Water Gun Fun

Water gun for kids

​There is so much fun that you can have with a water gun, and a few simple, extra, props. Playing with water guns is a lot of fun, for children of all ages. It’s a great idea to buy the bigger sized water guns, as you do not want to have to refill too often - your children will love testing out their ‘shooting ‘ skills, for example, if you play water gun ‘target’ practice.

​There are countless ways to use water guns to play games. Being outdoors is healthy for your children - they will get Vitamin D from the sun, and enjoy playing, and being physically active, at the same time. Younger children, especially, do not have very long attention spans and playing with water guns is ideal. You could play water gun ‘tag', or use water guns to make a beach ball ‘ water gun’ race, build a pyramid with drinking cups, and see who can shoot it down the quickest.

​Water gun games can be fun for the whole family, but younger children, especially, will have a blast - literally - spraying each other, and enjoying playing with water. You can also do something quite creative with children, and fill water guns with water paints. (Do make sure that they are wearing old clothes first!) Set up a large canvas of some kind, against a wall, and let children spray paint onto it, or onto t-shirts. You can also thread the string through styrofoam cups, and ‘race’ them along. (Tied with two points.)

​You really don’t need a lot of equipment to have a blast with water guns. Be sure to set up an easy ‘water station’ for refilling - you can use a blow-up mini-pool, or you could use an old cooler, and fill that up with water. Going to a tap will be too time-consuming, and the water guns will need refilling all the time - rather make a water station!

​Remember that water gun games can be played at the beach too, or at a local park - your children will love running about and enjoying a change of scenery too. Water gun games can be used to help your children fine tune their motor skills, and enjoy, good, clean, fun!

​5. Water Table Fun

water table fun for kids

​Children love water, and a water table is a great way for children to play outside, and also develop their fine motor skills. Younger children will simply enjoy playing with water, in the same way, that they enjoy playing with sand! Sensory play is an important part of your child’s development, and learning new concepts too - like floating!

Water tables are more suitable for younger children, and they can be used in many different ways. You can add many different toys to the water, and let your children explore, and learn about water, as they are playing. Simply add soap, and Lego pieces, to your water table, and see how children adapt to the water environment - they will enjoy the ‘feel’ of water, and ‘slippy’ soap, and enjoy filling, pouring and amusing themselves.

​You can get really creative and freeze different toys into ice, and add these too. Children will see the toys floating on the water, and it adds something a bit different to play time, too. Water tables are great for toddlers, and preschool aged children, and will stimulate their imagination. You can add boats, and toys that float, and see how they play with these.

​Young children are learning through play, and through their senses - they are learning about shapes, and textures, and how things fit together. Water, as it is moved, from one cup to another, does not change - it is fluid, and takes the shape of the container that it is in. This may seem like a simple concept, but young children are still learning to see this.

​Their minds are still developing, and children are not able to understand ‘conservation’, as a mental concept. You can use a short glass, and a long glass, that hold the same amount of water, and you demonstrate this, by pouring water from one glass to another. They’ll not able to understand that the tall glass does not actually have more water than the shorter glass. This is a higher level mental concept, and children are still learning about liquids and volume. Playing with water is the first step in developing, more complex, adult, mental, skills.

​6. Swing Set

swing set for kids

​A swing set is a great way for your children to be physically active, and enjoy the freedom, and sensation of flying through the air, in a safe way. The momentum of the swing, and how it works, will be learned by your child, as they develop.

​Learning that they need to use their body to make the swing forces grow stronger, is a very basic first step in understanding the general laws of physics. Aside from helping your child to learn about the principles of momentum, a swing set is just simple, great, fun. Younger children will need to be pushed and will love the feeling of rushing up, into the air, to return again, before being pushed, again.

​‘Again, again!” You will get a work-out too! Older children will learn to use a swing themselves, and have great fun, for many years to come. Playing outdoors, in a green environment, is also mentally stimulating for children.

​Children need to play in gardens, and parks - being in a green environment is wonderful for children. Being able to see, and touch, plants, flowers, and explore nature, are essential, for your child’s health, and mental development.

​Set A Healthy Example

​Children need playtime that is structured, and activities that are both fun, and age appropriate. There are many games, and sports, that your children can enjoy playing or participating in, that are not expensive. You may need to purchase some equipment and learn the basics, but you will be able to enjoy hours of great family time, together.

​Games like pickle ball, and basketball, will help your child develop good ball skills, and be more coordinated. There are many health risks associated with lifestyles that are not active.

​Be sure to set a healthy example, and remember that your children are learning from you, too. Families need time together, too, to bond, and share, and playing games together is also a great way for you to see, and track, your child’s development.

​Remember to always encourage your child’s efforts, and not to focus on the results. There are so many health benefits for your children, when they are being physically active - either playing games or sport. Your children will develop healthier strong bones, develop better muscle tone, and decrease their risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes or becoming obese.

​Conclusion

​Parenting, and full-time working, is not an easy responsibility for modern mothers, and fathers. By scheduling special time together, to play sports and games, you will help your family grow closer, and be more physically active, too. Modern lifestyles, and our entertainment, often revolve around screens, tablets, phones, and computers.

​Having fun outdoors, and being physically active is important for everyone. Whether it’s the delight of hearing your child laugh, as they are being pushed on a swing, or seeing your son shoot his first basket - or enjoying a family game of pickle ball - you’re guaranteed to make a positive difference, to your child’s development, and health.