'Watch me go!"
Hockey, cricket, soccer... the world is a field laid out. Explore more.
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For children aged 7 & 8
What children can do

By now your child should be able to catch smaller balls, have good balance, be quite agile, start showing individual strengths and weaknesses and enjoy rule-based games such as rugby, cricket, hockey, netball, soccer and baseball.

At this age kids start taking part in school sports, learning about structure and team play. Let them do what comes naturally; coaching that teaches ‘‘technique’’ can stifle natural talent, says Dr Ross Tucker of the University of Cape Town and the Sports Science Institute of South Africa.

Note: Children can become extremely competitive at this age so it’s important to curb over-enthusiasm and aggressive play. Also watch your reaction to a team’s performance on television – children often get their competitive spirit from their parents.

Over to you
Explain the importance of playing together as a team.
Avoid stereotyping girls into particular activities and boys into others.

Here's how
  • Play hand tennis in the driveway using a small ball.
  • Use a hockey stick to dribble a small ball through a zigzag set of cones then shoot it into goal; later get the children to dodge you en route.
  • Dangle a tennis ball from a string in the garage and let the children hit at it with a cricket or baseball bat.
  • Play a fun game such as basketball touch where the child bounces a big ball in a demarcated area: you move around and the child tries to touch you while he’s bouncing the ball. Once touched you take the ball and roles are swopped.
Read more in this series:
"Play with me!" for two year olds
"I can do this ball thing" for 3 and 4 year olds
"Look! I caught it!" for 5 and 6 year olds
"Look what I can do now!" for 9 and 10 year olds
"Sign me up!" for 11 and 12 year olds
For more on family fitness visit Health24.

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