Leading an active lifestyle as a child is important in the development of social skills, physical and mental health.
Children are more likely to lead active lifestyles when they are older if they are given the opportunity to try a variety of sports and outdoor activities when they are younger.
Some activities, like team sports and swimming, are encouraged at school and after school clubs. For more unusual activities, like archery or geo-caching, you will probably need to make your own arrangements.
The variety of sporting and outdoor activities on offer also depends on where you live. Contact your local sports development team or Sports Wales to find out what’s happening near you.
Disabled Sports Wales supports a wide range of sporting activities for disabled children and young people.
Some local councils organise summer activities, usually during the school holidays. Some are family-orientated while others are specifically for children. Examples include summer camps, football academies and multi-adventure programmes.
Community-based outdoor activity clubs
Joining a community-based club can be great for a child’s development and help them make friends and develop other skills. There are often opportunities for parents to get involved in voluntary roles e.g. there are now junior parkruns in many parts of Wales..
Learning to swim is fun and could one day save your child’s life. Check out swimming lessons and/or free swimming sessions at your local pool.
N.B. You will probably need to register your child before they can attend free sessions.
Wales has over 400 lakes and over 180 paddleable rivers not to mention the coastline so why not encourage your child to try canoeing, kayaking or paddle-boarding?
PaddlePower is the British Canoeing reward scheme, designed to encourage more young people to come into and stay in the sport.
Climbing is a fantastic activity for developing balance, strength and co-ordination in a safe environment.
Most climbing centres cater for children, including disabled children. The National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme encourages young climbers to develop their skills and confidence until they are sufficiently competent to climb outdoors.
When there is time, walk with your child to school, the shops or to after-school activities. At weekends, head to the park, beach or mountains for a more leisurely stroll.
The British Mountaineering Council is a fantastic resource for climbing, hill walking and mountaineering.
Cycling can help to develop balance, co-ordination, traffic awareness and risk management skills. Introduce your child to cycling at an early age with a trike or a balance bike.
Welsh Cycling can provide information about starting out, bike maintenance, and joining a club.
There are now over 1,200 miles of National Cycle Network in Wales.
National Parks and Trails
Visit one of Wales’ National Parks – Snowdonia, Brecon Beacons and Pembrokeshire – where there are lots of activities on offer for the whole family to enjoy, including hiking, paddling and climbing.
Though not a National Park, the Wales Coast Path is 870 miles long, with plenty of coastline to discover and enjoy.