Turning to tech for fun with physical activity

A more app-ealing way to get active!

Even the sunny Summer holidays can require creative ways to get kids off the couch and moving their bodies. While this doesn’t need to be hours spent in the cricket nets or a 5k jog on a Saturday morning, kids do need to move often for their health and development, and the more different movements they do the better. Whilst technology is typically the foe of physical activity, these days there’s plenty of fun to be found in fitness through tech, and most of it is free! Why not try these electronic exercise enhancers for the kids in the house.

Before you launch into it...

Try to remember that the health benefits of movement aren’t just about burning kilojoules, especially when it comes to kids. Activity can develop fitness, health, balance, proprioception, and even social skills when communication or teams are involved. Regular exercise for enjoyment can also set-up healthy habits throughout the lifecycle, so it is better to focus on fun rather than fast and furious.

Activity Tracking Apps

If you’ve ever been involved in kids sports, you’ll know that a simple high-5 or a shout of support is often all the motivation they need. Building on this, technology has found ways to provide personalised motivation in lots of rewarding ways. Step counters and activity tracking apps for watches and phones generate congratulatory messages when kids reach a set number of steps per day, or a new personal best for an activity.

Mobile applications like Streaks can also set-up rewards for regular exercise and healthy eating. You might even be able to set-up a streak for cleaning the dishes or making their bed every day* (*results may vary).

Fun and Fitness

When it comes to kids, nothing is as effective as a game to get them moving. Sure, some might work up a sweat playing Galaga or Go Fish, but now there is even a way to relive the GameBoy glory days while getting a walk or run in with PokemonGo. This app uses interactive events and a GPS to make the walk, jog, rollerblade, or ride an adventure. Fitness RPG is another great example of a game that can really get the kids going by turning their steps into experience and generating points in a fantasy world.

Community or Competition

We’ve come a long way from the days of MSN Messenger, and the options for keeping kids connected now are endless. In the fitness world, there are some fantastic examples of community creating apps that can motivate all ages to stay active whilst also staying connected. Strava and Map My Run are ‘run-tracker’ style apps which are available on all devices and allow anyone to upload activities like jogging, walking, cycling, and swimming.

Users can track their progress against previous activities or create challenges against friends. Fun for the whole family, these great platforms show you who can run up the steepest footpath in the neighbourhood, who can cycle the most in a week, or even who can take the bins out the quickest!

Brain beats Brawn  

Wellbeing and health aren’t just about physical activity or exercise. Mindfulness, meditation, and relaxing activities such as yoga can be incredibly beneficial to kids as well, especially those who are already active over the break. One of the best parts of these types of activity is that anyone can do them, and they encourage kids to make a habit out of slowing down and spending time engaged in self-care. Smiling Mind and Headspace are two apps that offer a range of meditation and mindfulness activities ranging from a couple of minutes up to an hour, bear in mind that some of these platforms may end up being pitched more at adults.

Cosmic Kids on the other hand provides yoga and mindfulness activities designed for the younger ages and has a wide variety of options to suit all abilities. Don’t fancy your kids as the ‘Zen’ types? Why not try a podcast instead? Wow in the World is a great STEM educational podcast for primary school-aged kids, or for those who are a little more creative tune into the What if World podcast which answers questions like “What if cats ruled the world?”

Whether it is a simple morning mindfulness session, or a sweaty sprint around the suburb streets, don’t forget that technology and apps can help you keep the kids active and healthy in a creative way throughout the school holidays.

If you are heading outside, make sure to be SunSmart by following these great tips.