9 best sports to play with your family
The truth is it’s not a sin to encourage our kids to do well in their studies but how do we make sure they live balanced lives and not just spend all their time hitting the books and staring at computer screens?
The answer: Athletics! If you’re anything like me, who cringes at sunlight and craves an air-conditioned room every time a bead of perspiration seeps through my pores, then this may be hard to swallow. But hang on! Sports are really important for a child’s development, not just physically but mentally and characteristically as well. That’s why we’ve listed 10 best sports to play with your family.
(That’s right. Get the whole family involved for some solid bonding time. Don’t worry. It will all work out)
(Never underestimate your children. Trust this, coming from a mum who just had a considerably competitive tournament with her five-year-old son using a toy racket. Yes, this is a game you can teach even your younger kids.)
And mums, you will love the fact that it requires very light and minimal equipment.
Values learned: Discipline, composure and fair play
Benefits: Boosts heart rate, improves agility, increases endurance, speeds up brain reaction, improves eye function.
If your kids are too young to play at the basketball court, there are many kid-sized basketball toys or hoops that you can attach to your walls. Shooting hoops can be so addictive, you may end up having to fight over who gets to hold the ball.
(To the competitive parents out there — remember, there’s nothing wrong with letting the kids win once in a while.)
Values learned: Teamwork, cooperation, camaraderie and sportsmanship
Benefits: Improves stamina, encourages quick coordination and is a netful of fun!
3. Baseball/ Softball
Even if you don’t have a big family like mine, playing baseball/softball is still an awesome way to spend quiet afternoons. Grab that baseball/softball glove and play catch outdoors. (Unless you prefer playing ‘catch’ at home by using a plastic bat plastered with cartoons and a balloon as the ball.)
Values learned: Teamwork, versatility and patience
Benefits: Exercises your heart and lungs, encourages eye-hand coordination, strengthens arms and legs
Who could forget the first time they received a bicycle as a present? Now you get to see the same excitement in your children — starting with training bicycles without feet pedals to four-wheelers to when they graduate to two-wheelers.
If you want the entire family going at the same speed, head on to East Coast Park and cycle together. Those with younger tots can rent bikes with two seats or seats for children. Let them lounge in the back, eating animal crackers and watching the world fly by.
Values learned: Hard work, endurance and togetherness
Benefits: Burns 300 calories per hour, builds strength and muscle tone, improves heart health
Our beautiful island has many scenic spots perfect for inline skating. Surround yourself with greenery and peaceful scenes as you skate away around Jurong Central Park, Bishan Park and Punggol Park.
If you prefer the sound of waves, the scent of salt water and the wind in your face, head down to East Coast Park, Pasir Ris Park or Sentosa. This way, if you need to take a breather, everyone can settle down by the beach and have a tranquil family moment looking out into the horizon.
Don’t forget to bring bottles of water and some healthy snacks to replenish the kids’ energy — and your own as well!
Values learned: Togetherness and perseverance (especially if you’re newbies at balancing on skates)
Benefits: Good workout for legs, helps improve balance, burns calories
Of course, swimming doesn’t have to be all about fitness. You can also keep things light by engaging in games and having fun at the special water features available at neighbourhood swimming complexes such as Sengkang Swimming Complex, Chua Chu Kang Swimming Complex, Jurong East Swimming Complex, Pasir Ris Swimming Complex, etc.
Values learned: Endurance, self-discipline and hard work
Benefits: Improves strength, flexibility and muscular stamina, burns 3 calories every 1.6 km per 0.5 kg of body weight
Football’s popularity can be attributed to the accessibility of playing venues and the ease of learning how to play it. "The beautiful game" will not only test your endurance —it’s also a ton of fun, which is why it’s currently played by 240 million men, women and children in 300,000 clubs and 1.4 million teams worldwide.
If you’re not up to playing with the boys in your family though, get involved by being supportive and learning more about the sport by watching football matches with them live or on TV.
Values learned: Teamwork, patience and persistence
Benefits: Increases aerobic capacity, keeps heart healthy, improves agility
8. Table tennis
To play, you can visit community centres that have ping-pong tables or even play it at home if you have space to store a fold out ping-pong table. You can even use half of it as an extra study table and pull it out when your family wants a ping-pong match.
Values learned: Patience, determination
Benefits: Improves hand-eye coordination, reflexes and strategic thinking, good aerobic exercise
If you just want to have a little bit of fun, head down to Lilliputt Mini Golf, which will be an extreme delight for kids and adults alike. Or check out the various golf ranges in Singapore like Punggol Golf and make a day out of it — after a hearty breakfast at KFC nearby you can play a bit of golf in the morning then have a chillax afternoon at Punggol Waterpark afterwards!
Values learned: Honesty, integrity, courtesy, respect, sportsmanship
Benefits: Improves concentration, reduces stress, helps boost brain power