Elena and I always wanted to design the Learn Play Grow Programme primarily around children having lots of fun and being engaged.
We created a multi-faceted programme that covered all aspects of children’s development – physical, emotional and psychological. We also introduced stories, puppets, characters, musical instruments and more to help our children stay engaged and interested. All parents (and grandparents) know that once you’ve lost your child’s interest, it’s very difficult to get it back.
Learn Play Grow is not a sport specific programme, so it’s not focused on athletics, swimming or gymnastics – we’re not trying produce an Olympic Champion at the age of three! It’s a programme that will develop and nurture a love of activity, giving kids a positive experience with the support of our skilled coaches.
Fun for all the family
Parents can join in and get involved in our fun and games with their children, too. We always encourage our parents to come along and watch sessions because we know it gives them plenty of ideas for fun activities to try at home with scarves, bean bags and tap sticks.
How physical activity helps keep kids healthy
Physical activity helps strengthen children’s bones, muscles and ligaments, as well as encouraging their range of movement and training their posture. It’s also fantastic for long term health, as we all know, and when it’s started young, the results are even better.
Exercise is the best thing you can do for your heart; it’s no different to any other muscle in the body in that if you work it through activity, it gets stronger. If we combine activity with a healthy diet, it’s the best investment you can make in your child’s health.
You’ve probably heard scare stories about cholesterol levels, perhaps you’ve even been tested for high cholesterol yourself? It’s well known that increasing physical activity can help to reduce harmful cholesterol in our blood, and it helps maintain the walls of the blood vessels, preventing high blood pressure.
It might seem crazy to talk about high cholesterol and high blood pressure in very young children, but the sad fact is, that unhealthy habits at this young age can easily lead to very serious health conditions like these in the short, medium and long term.
Physical exercise also makes our children’s lungs stronger, reduces blood sugar levels, and helps to prevent weight gain, which is becoming a massive problem for our children. I’ve seen far more overweight children in recent years than I would have seen 20 years ago, and I find it very worrying.
Exercise and emotional health
Giving your kids a great start in life involves looking at their overall well being and emotional happiness and there are studies that link increased exercise in children with better mental health. Mental health is a very serious concern for health care professionals, and every adult with emotional issues and mental health problems, was once a young child. Our life experiences make us who we are, do it’s our responsibility as parents and grandparents to do all we realistically can to protect our children.
It’s interesting to note that while some studies positively link fitness and better mental health, the association between physical activity and mental health in young people is moderate. On the flip side, there are consistent associations between sedentary screen time and poorer mental health.
Life and its opportunities are there to be experienced. If we can find ways to have more fun and bind as a family unit, that’s even better, and fitness is such an effective way to do this. Whenever you can try to spend time with the family, playing fun games and taking part in physical activity and fun games, and you’ll be doing so much to help their mental and physical health now, and in the future.
Although I know the positive effects that activity and healthy lifestyle can have on little ones, I’m not a doctor, so if you’re worried about your child’s physical or emotional health, you should seek advice from a doctor or a health professional.