How to get the kids active this summer

Children have fun in the Commonwealth Pool's soft play air blower. Picture: contributed
Children have fun in the Commonwealth Pool's soft play air blower. Picture: contributed
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With the Commonwealth Games coming to Scotland, there has never been a better time for young people to get excited about sport.

Which is good news, especially in light of the recent reports highlighting worrying levels of inactivity among children here.

That may have been no surprise ­perhaps to parents who despair of their console, TV and smartphone-obsessed offspring.

But what can you do to convince kids to ditch the screen for something a lot better for them? When a child finds an activity they love, the battle against ­inactivity is half won, so we have teamed up with Edinburgh Leisure to come up with some ideas based on the activities on offer across Edinburgh this summer.

Tommy George, the organisation’s young people and communities team manager, says: “Physical activity is an essential component for healthy growth and development in children and young people.

“If we are going to establish active and healthy habits that last into adulthood it is important to start early, reducing the amount of time our children spend sitting watching TV or playing computer games and increasing the amount of ­physical activity they do. Research has shown that being physically active can help with the development of ­motor skills, maintaining a healthy weight, developing strong bones, muscles and heart, self-confidence, communication, decision-making, and social skills.”

Climbing/Abseiling

Climbing is enjoying the limelight, with the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena (EICA) Ratho on our doorstep. This year EICA and ­Active Schools launched P4Rocks, to allow more children than ever to try climbing. The European Youth Climbing Championship comes to EICA on June 14.

Diving

Diving was one of the most exciting events at London ­Olympics 2012, putting Tom Daley on the world stage and spawning TV show Splash. The Royal ­Commonwealth Pool hosts the diving for the ­Commonwealth Games. Having invested £34,000 in new boards this year, the diving coaching is making a big splash.

Be part of it

Now the excitement about the Commonwealth Games is ­really kicking in, Edinburgh Leisure is inviting children to “be part of it”. Join the school run from Holyrood Palace to Meadowbank on Saturday, June 14, for the Queen’s Baton ­relay. Then the Tryathon will see hundreds try out a wealth of activities and sports. When school’s out on June 27, head to the Meadows for the Join In Free event, to run every Wednesday and Friday afternoon in the holidays.

Tennis

Andy Murray has inspired a whole host of kids to love tennis. There is a range of classes Craiglockhart Tennis Centre.

Holiday camps

Holiday camps are the perfect way to allow kids to try out new activities. With wraparound care from 8am to 6pm they are also a perfect solution for working parents. The city’s sports development team is running four weeks of camps from three venues: Broughton High Community Sports Hub, Forrester/St Augustine’s Community Sports Hub and Holyrood High School. The camps are for P3-P7.

Gym Nippers and soft play

For children to enjoy healthy lives, get them early. From Gym Nippers to parent & child swimming classes, babies as young as two months can enjoy active fun. Scrambles (EICA Ratho), Clambers, Commonwealth Pool or Tumbles Portobello.

Swimming

Swimming is the sport which brings out the water baby in everyone. It’s fun, sociable, works every part of the body, and is a potentially life-saving skill. This summer, the council is funding the Free Swimming scheme at Edinburgh pools.