Helping young children to stay active

Active Imaginations

A new initiative to help parents and carers come up with ways for 2 to 4-year-olds to get a healthy amount of physical activity has been launched in Calderdale.

Parents and children at two Calderdale Children’s Centres were amongst the first in Yorkshire and the Humber to try out Active Imaginations – an online resource of simple and fun activities that are free or low cost, can be done indoors or outdoors, in open or limited space and in a range of different situations.

The purpose of Active Imaginations is to collect and share ideas that inspire the imagination of children and parents, in a way that supports the Chief Medical Officer Guidelines that children of pre-school age who are capable of walking unaided should be physically active for at least 180 minutes (three hours) per day.

Whilst launching with activities including sock basketball and bottle bowling, the Active Imaginations team has been filming with families throughout Yorkshire this week to create new ideas that can be shared on their social media channels and website at link)

Calderdale Council is one of five local authorities to take part in the project in partnership with Public Health England and The Yorkshire and Humber Association of Directors of Public Health.

Cllr Faisal Shoukat, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Cohesion, said:

“We want all children in Calderdale to have the best start in life. An important part of this is to be physically active from an early age. Families have been consulted and were excited by the idea of simple ideas that they could do at home and in a range of different situations. Young children have amazing imaginations, but for parents it can be difficult to know where to start. The Active Imaginations project supports and inspires them to get their children moving more.”

On Wednesday 25 September, the Active Imaginations initiative was launched at Buddy Bears at Illingworth Community Children’s Centre and at Healthy Honey Bees at Little Stars, Parkinson Lane Children’s Centre.

Gemma Mann, Children’s Health and Wellbeing Lead at Public Health England, said:

“It’s really important that all children get the necessary daily physical activity they need to stay healthy, the benefits for children are well evidenced. Moving more helps young children to develop motor skills, improves cognitive development, helps them maintain a healthy weight, enhances bone and muscular development and supports the learning of social skills.”

Active Imaginations videos and more information for parents and carers from Start4Life can be found at link)

Working with parents to help young children develop well is part of the Council’s Wellbeing Strategy and was also the focus of the Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Health’s recent annual report.

Every child deserves the best start in life and helping young people to reach their full potential is a key part of the Vision2024 for Calderdale – ambitions for the borough in the run-up to its 50th birthday in 2024.

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