Active Imaginations website launched to help young children stay active

The Active Imaginations website encourages young children to have active fun.

The idea is that parents looking for something to entertain their toddlers can look online, spend a few seconds watching one of the video ideas, then recreate it at home. The activites are themed around items people will have at home – including using the recycling or just having an impromptu dance party playing music through a phone.

Active Imaginations collect and share a range of activity ideas that draw upon 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 per day. There is already a large database available, and it is intended to continue to grow this with new, fun ideas.

The Active Imaginations team will be filming with families in locations throughout the wider Yorkshire and Humber region this week to create new ideas  which will be shared at www.activeimaginations.co.uk and through social media channels.

Hull City Council is one of just 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 Gwen Lunn, portfolio holder for Public Health and Adult Social Care at Hull City Council, said: “This is a fantastically simple idea, and we already know through consultation that it really resonates with parents. Every parent and carer will know that feeling of needing to entertain a child and being out of ideas – Active Imaginations is a really brilliant resource for those moments. There are so many fun, simple games and activities which you can look at online and be playing in minutes.

“They’re all designed around things you’ll already have at home, from playing music on your phone for a dance party, to using plastic bottle headed for the recycling for a game of bowling. The added benefit is that you and your child are physically active and mentally engaged the whole time you’re playing. You can even make setting up the game part of the fun – get them to help find the items you need and count or name colours together.

“It’s an entirely free resource, you don’t need an app, just pop to the website and spend a few second watching the video guides”.

Cllr Clark, portfolio for Children and Young People’s Services, said: “At its heart, this project is about increasing opportunities for every child to have  the best possible start in life. Making sure children’s needs are met in terms of physical and cognitive development at this important life-stage can have life-long positive effects. The important thing about Active Imaginations is that it is simple and fun, the games can become part of the regular routine and aren’t reliant on buying expensive toys or equipment. Most can also be played indoors and don’t take up much space.

“I’d encourage all parents to give them a try . Our local children’s centres will support with any questions, or if people want more information.

“The project also encourages parents to submit their own favourite activities of this type – I know we will have all sorts of creative and uniquely local ideas and it would be great to see those shared on the website”.

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 further information for parents and carers from Start4Life can be found at www.activeimaginations.co.uk

[Kiran Ghuman – Hull City Council]

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