1. Spend time playing actively with your children. Teaching your children to play a game like Monopoly involves teaching the rules and ensuring that all participants in the game follow the rules and processes. This in itself is a learning experience for them. Play does not need to involve more than two people. Play with your child by teaching them to ride a bike, boxing moves, how to tackle/dribble as in a soccer or rugby match, and even how to lift – the appropriate dumb-bells for their size and age of course.
2. Encourage your child to play with other children. Arrange play dates for supervised play with other children. Parents can also ensure that the children in the neighbourhood have a safe space to play outside, by cordoning off parts of a street and controlling the movement of traffic where the children are playing.
3. Encourage outdoor play. When children play outdoors, they are likely to play for longer and participate in vigorous activities. Switch off the electronic gadgets and television and get them outside. Without these distractions, they are more likely to think of an outside activity than when they have options indoors.
4. Be a positive role model and encourage family activities. If you spend your free time seated indoors, your children will do the same. However, if they see you outside gardening, mowing the grass, riding your bicycle or jogging, they are more likely to do the same, whether by joining you or playing on their own. Most importantly, they will be outside and moving along with you. Planning family activities is an excellent way to consciously get the whole family moving together.
5. Provide access to sport, play equipment and play facilities. It is important to choose toys and equipment that will encourage moderate to vigorous physical activity. This means buying a skipping rope, a hula hoop, bicycle, or soccer/rugby/cricket/tennis equipment that will allow your child to fully participate in their favourite activity or sport. Let them sign up for school sports, even though it may mean driving them to matches in the early morning hours or watching matches under the blazing sun. If you live near a park, walk your preschooler there so they can play on the swings, slides and jungle gym.