As the old adage goes: outdoor play keeps the doctor away. Keeping active and having fun out in the fresh air is good for health, fitness and confidence; especially in young people!
One of the most varied and accessible outdoor sports for kids is the classic track-and-field option, athletics – and despite its traditional summer time uptake, it can be enjoyed year round. It doesn’t matter if it’s lawn games at home, racing friends at the local park or outdoor games at an after-school club – athletics is great for kids of all ages and abilities, whatever form it comes in.
Getting involved in athletics is great for young people. These are just a few reasons why!
Athletics covers a broad range of activities, from long jump to the 100 metre sprint. There are dozens of track and field events, which are all adaptable to your child’s age and ability.
Whether your child enjoys running long and short distances, or throwing sports like discus and javelin, they are sure to find something to enjoy.
Some of the activities children can get involved in are:
Of course, these sports can and should be adapted to be age-appropriate. No-one wants to be in the line of fire when a group of 10-year-olds start throwing javelins! You can swap a shotput for a bean bag and kids will have just as much fun.
It’s no secret that physical activity is good for health and fitness. Outdoor activities like athletics provide an easy way for children to get moving and away from screens.
Some key health and fitness benefits of athletics include:
Introducing athletics into everyday games and outside activities is a great option for improving health and fitness, but it’s important to do so in a fun way that engages children. At Premier Education, our highly-trained coaches are adept at finding the fun in every sport. We incorporate athletics into our after-school clubs and Holiday Camps in a way that ensures every child is fully engaged.
Hop, skip and long jump into a day of athletics at home. Make days spent lounging in front of the tv a thing of the past by starting a mini Olympics of outdoor games in your own backyard.
Parents can get their kids involved at home, in the garden, at local parks or any outdoor field close by. If you want your children to be playing outdoors, athletics is a really accessible – and adaptable – way to get them active.
If you’re looking for a few ideas, these are a few athletics-adjacent activities you can play at home:
Many of the classic playground games from your own childhood work well for getting kids active, as they involve plenty of running and are instantly familiar.
They include tag, capture the flag, port and starboard, red light, green light and sports day classics like a three-legged race, egg and spoon etc. All of these outdoor activities for kids are easy to play at home with parents.
Swap the discus for a frisbee and the shotput for a bean bag: throwing sports are one of the easiest activities to try at home. Set up some mini hurdles using cushions and you have the beginnings of your very own Olympic circuit!
There are countless options for outdoor play with your kids that require minimal set-up, such as simply using a hula hoop, playing catch in the backyard, making a fairy garden and even the simplest of games such as throw and catch, which can involve younger kids.
You could even start challenges that include skipping, jumping or to hop on one foot and race!
For a really simple game, grab a skipping rope. You could play this at a local park with other kids, or in the backyard with just the family. Any parent can set this game up, as all you need is a rope and the kids are all set to get on with it and play!
If you need to brush off the cobwebs and remember how to play the game, here is a quick breakdown:
All the players stand in two teams on either side of the rope; any amount of people can be jumping at the same time, the only rule is that if you stop the rope, you’re out! Beating the other team is simple: be the last man standing. To keep other players who have been knocked out interested, you can ensure all the kids engage well with the game through keeping score.
These ideas are easy for the whole family to play – if you want to create a really memorable day of athletics at home, make it into an Olympic theme, complete with medals and the Olympic rings.
At Premier Education, we offer athletics as part of our varied after-school programme. Our highly-trained coaches work hard to make athletics fun for kids, often bringing the sessions to life by adding an Olympic theme. This makes outdoor activities more exciting, but also helps young people learn about people and places around the world.
For younger children, athletics sessions are a great introduction to new basic skills, while for older children we offer a mix of competitive and team-based activities that encourage communication and leadership skills. Outside of athletics, we offer a range of outdoor activities for kids to play, ranging from basketball, football, volleyball to futsal, lacrosse, boccia and tri-golf.
We know that getting kids outdoors and active is vital for their development, but also understand that every child is different. Our coaches are able to adapt to different age groups, abilities and confidence levels easily.
We encourage kids to play, create and engage with others while staying active. Our after-school clubs and Holiday Camps provide a safe environment for children, where our coaches teach kids valuable skills like commitment, teamwork, handling fear and failure and patience through physical activities.
Athletics is a great new experience for kids as it creates long-lasting skills and involves a variety of sports.
As mentioned previously, athletics is a particularly active sport group, which is great for health and fitness. As well as physical benefits, taking part in athletics is good for mental health and academic performance: students who participate in extracurricular activities and holiday camps typically concentrate better at school.
It introduces competition in a healthy way, gets kids outside and away from screens, and makes exercise fun.
Athletics gives you plenty of outdoor activities to try, but they’re far from the only option. If you have kids that would rather play volleyball than play tag, don’t be afraid to switch it up.
Outdoor activities for kids are a great way to keep them active and out in the fresh air, whether it’s athletics or not!
While spending time outdoors is the ideal, sometimes the British weather gets in the way. Another fun physical activity you can do indoors is bowling; all you have to do is set up some bowling pins – or create some with toilet roll – and get a soft ball. Kids learn quickly, and after an initial set-up, you’ll soon find the game continues without you!
Discover more ways to keep them busy at home with our ultimate guide to fun activities for kids at home and stay active resources.
If you want to get your kids involved, look for a Premier Education after-school club (in term time) or Holiday Camp. We create a space where kids can participate in a variety of outdoor games, and along the way build resilience, improve their ability levels and gain fundamental skills all while having fun.