Get your kids bowling ... for their brains!

Girl about to bowl

Not only is bowling a fun-filled (and often hilarious) school holiday activity, but it's also shown to be physically beneficial. If you think about, you or your children are constantly picking up a ball around three kilograms to seven, walking towards the lane, squatting down and rolling it. Over the course of a single game you would do this up to 21 times, which can burn up to 285 calories (which, you'll be happy to know, is more calories than a police officer burns when making an arrest, according to NutriStrategy).

However, it can actually be so much more than that for your youngest of young ones. A recent study published in the health journal, Pediatrics, found a variety of different types of improvement in youngsters who performed moderate physical activity for up to 60 minutes every day.

The findings

If you want your children to get better at school, you need to get them moving afterwards. Compared with a test group of children who did not perform the physical activity (the 'waiting list'), those that did (the 'intervention group') showed an increase in both attentional inhibition - the ability to focus on a particular task and avoid distraction - as well as cognitive flexibility - the ability to swap between tasks without losing accuracy. "Kids in the intervention group improved two-fold compared to the wait-list kids in terms of their accuracy on cognitive tasks," according to Professor Charles Hillman of the University of Illinois. 

Get bowling

Hosting children's birthday parties at AMF is a great way to get the kids moving, or you could start their own little bowling league to encourage improved skill, healthy competition and, of course, increased mental and physical ability. Bowling is a fun physical activity that doesn't feel like you're doing lots of exercise, so it should be easy to get the kids motivated (especially if you promise them some snacks and a game of laser tag as well).