Lessons are on the national curriculum for five to 11 year olds, but a report by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) revealed that 45% of primary school children can’t swim 25 metres.
Encouraging your child to swim confidently not only gives them a vital life skill but is also fantastic aerobic exercise – it doesn’t place any weight on growing bones and joints. It also helps teach endurance.
Babies as young as four months can get in the pool - but children learn more at an older age. Ensuring your child is a competent swimmer will help you both feel more comfortable around open water, but never leave any children unattended, however trained they insist they are.
It is easy to see why tennis is growing in popularity with kids in the UK. It is a great all-round exercise, providing a cardiovascular workout as well as hand/eye co-ordination. It also teaches mental discipline and doubles helps develop teamwork skills.
Tennis can be played at a relatively relaxed level or can be an introduction to more competitive sport.
Whether it’s football, rugby or netball, team ball games are good for fitness generally and also improve stamina, balance and increase hand/eye co-ordination, and attention span.
On a social level, they teach a child what it is to be part of a team and how to deal with competitive situations. Plus it’s a sure way to make new friends. If they’re football crazy but unsure on the pitch, introduce them to a club that concentrates on a fun format – for instance, www.littleKickers.co.uk runs clubs nationwide for children from 18 months old to seven years old.
If you have a keen karate kid, take advantage of it and enrol them at a martial arts club. It will teach balance, focus, fitness and also discipline and respect. Certainly it is a safe outlet for aggression and learning control, self-defence and confidence. Book a free trial class in your local area at www.getintomartialarts.com.
A popular choice for children and their parents for many years due to its numerous benefits. Ballet promotes great physical strength and agility. It is an intense, yet enjoyable, exercise that will improve flexibility, motion, grace and muscular strength.
Children can start training at any age, and they will reap the benefits from day one. It is a great way to improve balance and can aid in correcting poor alignment.
Like other forms of dance, ballet can increase self control and body awareness, while also instilling a sense of pride in children and boosting their self-esteem.
It’s a fun and fast-paced activity that will get the heart pumping and the legs moving.
This type of dance will allow kids to express creativity and build on their confidence. The training helps to develop co-ordination and discipline and act as a building block to go onto more advanced and varied forms of dance. Many schools offer tap alongside another class, such as tap and jazz. So if your children like to keep their activity varied, this club may be for them.
If your child would benefit from a more active after-school club, then hip hop is ideal. It is one of the most vigorous forms of dance there is and allows for lots of self creativity. Hip hop will help to bring your child out of their shell and provides mental stimulation, as they will be expected to learn lots of routines and movements.
Music and singing tends to be a large part of learning when your child is growing up and its benefits are transferable into the early tweens, too. It encourages a child to express their emotions and sharpens their ability to communicate.
Singing can increase the strength of your child’s memory. Learning a tune and the words to songs will teach them ways of remembering things.
This activity will also increase confidence, while singing in a group or choir will give a sense of togetherness and teamwork.
Is your child a little star in the making? Or maybe they need a little bit of a confidence boost?
Stage school is a great all-round activity for children. It keeps them active while providing a really social environment for them to thrive. The various classes in stage school give children a chance to explore their imagination and develop their creativity through improvisation and role play. Stage school will help with confidence, raise social awareness, aid clearer diction and teach them a wider vocabulary.
Learning to act and role play are some of the best ways to allow your child to express who they are freely in a fun environment. It will teach them discipline and how to work respectfully in a group. Shy kids can find confidence when they become ‘someone else’. Moreover, starting out in drama will lay good foundations for further types of creative talents.