<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parents today constantly need to nag and drag their kids away from gadgets. But what options do children have once outside? Perhaps that’s why the cities are seeing an increase in offbeat activities. Dr Allan Pereria, consultant paediatrician at The Children’s Hospital in Mumbai, says, “Though I believe unstructured play allows kids to be more imaginative and creative, structured play is gaining momentum due to lack of spaces in the city for kids.” He adds that such activities are beneficial for fitness, especially to minimise the on-screen time for kids, which shouldn’t exceed two hours a day. Here’s a look at the activities you can enrol your child in and how they help.Hula HoopTwisting and twirling can be fun, but hula-hooping also has scores of health benefits — hand-eye coordination, balancing, improving flexibility, and strengthening the core. It’s a good conditioning workout physically and mentally, says Leona Rodrigues, hula hoop artiste.MallakhambThe ancient traditional Indian sport is all about the performer’s agility, quick reflexes, balance, suppleness, and a sense of timing, exactly what this form of gymnastics hones in kids. Rumana Fatehi, Director of Learning Enhancement, Institute for Exceptional Children, says, “It’s a wonderful, engaging exercise.”KalaripayattuThe mother of all martial art forms, it involves yoga, massage, and Ayurveda. Speed, attention, precision, strength, stamina, and flexibility are some of its benefits. “Kids who practice Kalaripayattu boast of physical fitness, mental strength, concentration, and good posture,” says Lakshmi Subramanian of Studio Mojo. Dr Pereira corroborates that the physical and mental control that martial art requires, benefits young children greatly.SkateboardingSkateboarding offers a full body workout and coordination between feet, legs, and arms. It enhances flexibility, as the ankles and the body need to remain lithe. “It’s also about falling down and getting up,” Fatehi says.Rock climbingIt’s heart-healthy, helps overcome fear, and tests problem-solving skills. From adventure parks to climbing walls, there’s no dearth of places to go to. “You climb with your own weight, so rock climbing builds your strength,” says Swapnil Jadhav, Rock Climbing instructor at Arun Samant Climbing Wall. “It also enhances mental strength, makes you self-aware, and teaches teamwork and responsibility to keep others safe.”Nature walksNature walks cost practically nothing and promote physical, mental, and emotional health, and are a great way to bond. Fatehi says, “Walking on the beach or parks, collecting things, talking, and a hearty brunch after as a reward involve all five senses.”

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Structured games for millenial kids