First, let us agree on one thing Our previous generations had a more active childhood than us or the upcoming generation. Due to our daily busy and hectic schedules, it has become rather difficult to find time to play with the kids. Unfortunately, kids are left alone with fewer options. However, this lack of physical activity and other lifestyle changes has caused several problems. One of them is obesity.
According to the research, 14.4 million kids in India are obese. Body mass index (BMI) is the average height and weight of a person. A child is considered obese when his/her body mass index is greater than the BMI of 95% of kids in the reference population.
Genetics and familial factors make up only 5% of this problem, however, the major reasons for obesity among children include insufficient intake of fruits and green leafy vegetables in their daily diet, frequent consumption of junk food, packaged food, aerated drinks and, the main lack of physical activity daily.
Children who have obesity are more prone to complications high blood pressure and high cholesterol which are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. They are also more prone to insulin resistance, type-2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, breathing problem, sleeping disorders, and psychological problems like anxiety and depression. Those kids have a high chance of falling victim to social bullying and low self-esteem. Obese children have more chance of becoming an obese adult if one or both parents are obese.
Hence childhood obesity has become a silent pandemic! The good thing is these factors are controllable and reversible. Thus, it has become very important to provide child nutrition and a healthy diet. Children needed to be encouraged to be more physically active. Healthy games and sports help children to build strong muscles, maintain healthy joints, and controls weight and blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, and decrease the risk of stroke and diabetes.
Research has shown children who are more physically active have better concentration levels which in turn improves their academic performance. When we are exercising our brain recognizes it as stress and our body releases a chemical called ‘endorphins’ to fight the stressful situation. The endorphins chemical interact with opioid receptors in the brain. These opioid receptors are the same ones that are found in many painkillers for example morphing; however, these do not turn addictive, unlike the drugs.
The binding of these receptors can elevate our mood by reducing pain perception and therefore triggering a more positive feeling in our body popularly known as runner’s high. Sports and exercise reduce the feeling of anxiety and depression. It helps to boost self-esteem and reduces stress. Team sports help children to build their confidence, they understand the importance of discipline, time management, and group effort. It also helps them to cultivate leadership qualities and maintain strong and healthy relations with others.
So here is the list of few fun games and sports for your children:
Ø Races- there are varieties of races, it could be one-legged, two-legged or, three-legged. Lemon and spoon race, sack race, crab walk, book-balancing race to name a few.
Ø Hide and seek- one person is “IT”, he/she has to close his/her eyes and counts to whatever number the group has agreed on, while the others hide. The first one found has to be the next “IT”.
Ø Hopscotch- with the help of chalk make a hopscotch grid. Number the squares from one to nine. Pick a marble or a rock and toss onto square 1. Hop over the rock/marble with a single foot or both feet follow the hopscotch pattern till the end. Turn around when you reach the square come back, stopping on Square 2. Balancing on one foot, pick up the rock from Square 1 and hop over Square 1 to the start. Continue this pattern with Square 2. And so on. If one tosses a rock and misses the correct square, his/her turn is over. You can include as many numbers in this game you want, or you can make two groups and play pointwise. But ensure only one person can go at a time.
Ø Tug of war- Divide yourselves into two teams. Each team members hold a long rope from each end and try to pull it towards them. When the opposing team crosses the line marked between, the other team wins. Hula hooping- Spinning the hoop around your waist for as long as you can. Once you become a master in it, try with multiple hoops going at once. Or try other body parts like spinning the hoop around your neck, arm, or leg.
Ø Kho-Kho- It is played by teams of 12 players. However, it may differ. The teams remain seated in a long line so that every alternate person belongs to the same team. By toss, one team chases first and the other gets chased.
Ø Treasure hunt
Ø Musical chair
Ø Jump rope
Ø Obstacle course- put down some pillows and cushion and the kid need to jump from one to the next.
Ø Dominoes- help the kid to arrange the dominoes according to shape and design and once all are done ask them to flip down.
Ø Dice games like Ludo, snake, and ladder, etc.
Ø Carrom-the game includes a square wooden board with four corner pockets and is played by flicking a “striker” disc with one’s fingers at the target pieces or carrom “men”. The goal of the game is to collect points by sinking the nine carroms “men” of your color, plus the red “queen” piece, into the pockets before your opponent.
Ø Balloon games
Ø Card games
Ø Table tennis
There are also indoor games that help the child to use logical reasoning more like pen and pencil games like join the dots, tic tac toe, Pictionary, name, place, animal, thing, and various types of puzzle games and sorting. Such kinds of games help kids to describe, analyze, and compare objects.
It is important to take out a few minutes from our daily life to spend quality time with the kids which helps them in their development and also presents us an opportunity to relive our childhood.