Healthy Games and Gymnastics Activities for Kids – The Top Ten

As a parent, you want to do everything you can to keep your children healthy and fit. This includes cultivating a positive attitude towards physical activity and sport.

For my children, I have developed my own criteria for choosing fitness activities. What was important to me was :

Safety and low risk of injury This should be at the top of every parent’s priority list.
Mastery of skills Sports or gymnastics activity that requires learning increasingly complex patterns of muscle coordination or group interaction
Develop a balanced fitness routine This involves working the upper and lower body muscles, training both right and left sides, and developing cardiovascular fitness and strength in an age-appropriate manner.
The right mix of competitiveness, personal challenge and fun
The possibility of lifetime participation
Mix of individual pursuits and team sports, organized programs and less structured activities
They have to want to do it.
Based on these criteria, here are my top 10 sports, healthy games and gymnastic activities for children:

Dance – Dance classes are a great workout for life. You learn to become aware of your own body and develop your fitness in a balanced way. Dance also has a creative element. And you can continue to dance throughout your life. My two boys took dance lessons when they were kids. It’s unfortunate that as they got older, the number of boys in the class decreased and they ended up dropping out as well.
Kicking and punching (martial arts) – Fighting arts such as tae kwon do and karate emphasize balanced body (and mind) development, build confidence, have a well-orchestrated reward system of colorful belts and can be a lot of fun. It is also an activity in which children and adults can participate.
Swimming – Every child should know how to swim. It works at different levels: a relaxing activity, a good component of a basic fitness regimen for life, or an intense, competitive sport. There are two possible drawbacks to swimming. Some people have problems with all the chlorine. And sometimes people who swim a lot can have shoulder tendon problems because of repeated head movements. Good training is essential for competitive swimmers.
Soccer – This is one of my favourite team sports. You run all the time. There is teamwork. You learn to kick with both legs. You also need to develop your peripheral vision and your sense of the field to improvise strategically. The equipment requirements are not onerous. There are many adult leagues.
Wrestling More children should wrestle – especially girls. You have to be really fit to wrestle, but at the same time, it is a strategic mental game. Injuries are not so common. My oldest son wrestled on his high school team and even though he didn’t plan to wrestle in college, I’m sure it helped him get into the college of his choice. He also participated in many other activities at the high school: orchestra, choir and theater. Of all these social groups, the wrestlers had the best average and were the most ethnically diverse. Who would have thought? Another advantage of wrestling is that the weight category system allows children of all sizes to compete on an equal footing. Depending on the level of intensity of the program and your child’s place in the weight spectrum, there is sometimes pressure to “cut down the weight. Use extreme diets, sweating and exercise programs to lose enough weight to qualify for a certain weight range. This has never been a problem with my son – if it had been, I would have removed him from the program without hesitation.
Figure skating – can be a fun activity throughout life. It provides balance training, which is an important and often overlooked movement skill (in 80 years your children will be less likely to fall and break bones). One drawback is that advanced skills, such as jumping and turning, are usually developed – unlike dance – by going in one direction.

Ice Hockey – I’m starting to appreciate field hockey more and more as a good sport for kids. The movement skills developed in field hockey are incredible. And I know guys in their 50s and 60s who are still playing – so there’s a chance to make a lifelong commitment. Women’s field hockey is also growing in popularity. One drawback: unless you live in a cold climate where the ponds freeze in the winter, there can be a lot of equipment and other expenses.
Ultimate – Ultimate is more than just a bunch of last-day hippies throwing down a Frisbee. It’s actually a serious sport that promotes fitness, teamwork and sportsmanship.
Yoga – Yoga involves and integrates mind, body and soul – the whole. It develops self-control, calmness in the midst of chaos, and an ongoing appreciation of one’s body, limits and incredible abilities.
Hiking, canoeing, kayaking. Experience nature. Taking up physical challenges. Anyone can do it, at any age. It can be practiced with the family or in a group.
As a parent, you need to take an active role in encouraging your children’s health and fitness. Based on your understanding of your child’s physical and social development, make positive choices about healthy activities for your children.