Is Go-karting Active Play?
We all want to see our kids happy and healthy. Enough of the iPads, lockdown and online platforms; let’s get them out of the house and into a new environment! At the same time, we want to make sure they’re safe, having fun and actually being active. The perfect combination of these three elements is active play through go-karting.
What is Active Play?
Active play refers to physical activities that are energetic, occurring frequently, raising our children's heart rate and make them 'huff and puff'. Active play can occur: Indoors or outdoors, alone or with friends and family. Active play is important important because the brain, muscles and bones become stronger, and the links between them are improved during activity. (https://www.cbc.ca/parents/learning/view/why-active-play-is-so-important#:~:text=Young%20children%20need%20regular%2C%20vigorous,and%20physical%20and%20emotional%20wellbeing).
7 Types of Play
Dr. Stuart Brown, the founder of the National Institute for Play, has classified several different types of play and determined that each type of play accomplishes different benefits.
Attunement play is the early building blocks for all forms of play. Through activities like peek-a-boo and baby talk, parents begin to establish an emotional connection with their infant. It not only helps develop object permanence, it helps build awareness and fosters happiness. When you smile and coo happily at your baby, he or she learns to mimic your expressions and eventually smiles back and begins to vocalize as well.
Body Play & Movement
Body play and movement is largely a way for children to develop a spatial understanding of themselves and world around them. Leaping in the air teaches us the effects of gravity. Dance teaches us the various ways that our bodies can move.
Playing with toys and objects develops problem-solving skills. Animal researchers developed a test to determine intelligence among ravens. They put food on a string and suspended it from a branch. The ravens began to gather the string using their claws and beaks until the food was in their grasps. Object play is similar in that it allows children to explore the functions of objects and develop tools.
One of the most complex forms of play, social play helps children establish social norms. As our children engage in group play, they develop the interpersonal skills that will help them have successful friendships and relationships as adults.
Imaginative & Pretend Play
Whether it’s done in a group or on one’s own, imaginative and pretend play is the birthplace of creativity. Whether a child is playing house or hosting a tea party, he or she is developing their own inner story and an understanding of his or her place in the world.
Children love it when you read them a story, in the same way that adults enjoy binge watching on Netflix. And while both of these activities have an element of fantasy, it also helps both children and adults gain an understanding of both ourselves and of others.
Creating music, brainstorming…these playful situations tap into our creative juices that are developed during pretend play and extract finished ideas that add function and progress to our lives.
To learn more about the different types of play, check out this TED talk video featuring Dr. Brown: “Play is more than just fun.” (https://www.rpsoftexas.com/7-types-of-play/)
So what kind of Active Play is Go-Karting?
Go-karting is a combination of body and movement play, and object play, being that your child is developing an awareness of his/her space from a young age while moving, and doing this using an object, and in this case, a marvelous Berg go-kart!
From What Age Can You Ride a Go-kart?
The go-karts on our site are suitable for children from the age of 10 months upwards. Under adult supervision and using the appropriate kart, go-karting is a safe sport for any child.
Health Benefits of Go-karting
- Increases Strength and Stamina. Go-karting increases core strength (https://www.vroomkart.com/news/29424/why-karting-is-a-good-physical-training).
It tones the biceps and triceps and strengthens them as the child turns the kart
Not only does active play strengthen their muscles; it also enhances the strength and density of their bones (https://www.douglasforestandgarden.ie/benefits-outdoor-play/).
Because go-karting is an activity that can continue for an extended time, stamina is also increased (https://www.capitalkarts.com/top-10-health-benefits-go-karting/).
- Enhances Fine and Gross Motor Skills
Active play cultivates fine and gross motor skills, helping children to be more flexible and healthier (https://www.douglasforestandgarden.ie/benefits-outdoor-play/).
- Improves Hand-Eye Coordination
Good hand-eye coordination is important for daily activities. Go-karting provides an opportunity to hone this skill (https://www.thehealthsite.com/fitness/incredible-health-benefits-of-go-karting-628862/).
Children develop fast reflexes to manage the go-kart and navigate along terrain, whether it be indoors, in an open field or on a track.
Go-karting causes an adrenaline rush, which heightens the senses. This increased alertness can improve memory and concentration.
Concentration skills are essential for every child’s development, and what better way to cultivate them than through a fun activity! Because go-karting demands focus, it will also distract children from any stress they may be experiencing (https://www.capitalkarts.com/top-10-health-benefits-go-karting/).
Enhances Oxygen Flow
The release of adrenaline widens blood vessels, resulting in more oxygen flowing to the various parts of the body. Circulation is more efficient, which energizes children
An increased metabolic rate will ensure they burn all that energy in a fun, exciting way
- Boosts Confidence
Acquiring new skills and honing them can increase a child’s confidence. As the child becomes a better driver, s/he will feel good about having achieved something. This can spill over into other areas of life, helping children to try other new things or more difficult things because they have a ‘can do’ attitude (https://www.capitalkarts.com/top-10-health-benefits-go-karting/).
- Exercises the Brain
The brain creates new neural pathways when we learn something new. It is stimulating to engage in physical exercise in a different environment (https://www.douglasforestandgarden.ie/benefits-outdoor-play/)
- Burns Calories
Per half hour, go-karting burns more calories than jogging!
Calories Burnt (per half hour)
How old Does my child have to be to start riding go-karts?
Professionally? 8 years of age. But – we have a solution for every age for active play, from the age of 10 months! See below.
There are so many great options! How do I choose?
With so many options on the market, there are a number of things to keep an eye out for when hunting for the perfect pedal go-kart. While the cheapest models may appear just as accomplished as the priciest variants, there is usually a reason that they cost less, and it’s worth investigating each kart’s characteristics instead of simply opting for the biggest bargain.
This is the most important element, so you’ll want to ensure that the pedal go-kart is designed to keep your child secure. Some karts will come with a simple handbrake to ensure that coming to a complete stop is as uncomplicated as possible, while other karts may have mechanisms built into the drivetrain so that slowing down can be achieved by backpedaling.
Thicker tyres will provide increased grip and a greater level of comfort, and you may also want to check how easy it is to order spare parts from the manufacturer in the event of certain components wearing out or breaking.
A pedal go-kart’s frame is more likely to be sturdy if it’s built with chunky, well-made parts, and particular attention should be paid to the quality of the joints. These will determine how well a kart holds up in the unfortunate event of an accident, and the stronger they are, the safer a kart will be.
The User’s Weight
Consider the child (or adult!) who’ll be using the pedal go-kart. Most manufacturers specify a maximum weight which should always be adhered to, and others will provide a recommended age range to guide customers. Straying beyond the maximum load capacity could cause the pedal go-kart to lose performance, or malfunction.
You should also make sure you’re buying a kart that’s appropriate for the environment it will be used in. Some pedal go-karts are designed to roll around the living room floor and not much else, while others will be built for thrill-seekers covering tricky terrain on fast, downhill trails. So give some thought as to where it will be ridden, and on what sort of surface.
Pedal go-karts are infinitely safer and more fun when they fit the person riding them, and most designs incorporate adjustable seats that can be adapted to suit all shapes and sizes. An adjustable pedal go-kart will also insure you against sudden growth spurts, extending the product’s lifespan before you’re forced to upgrade to a larger model.
Go-karting is a fun activity for the whole family, from toddlers to adults. Your body is strengthened, your brain is stimulated, and your confidence will grow. With age-appropriate karts, it is physically and mentally invigorating, safe and exciting. Whether outside, inside or on a track, go-karting is a great form of active play. You’re never too young (or too old) to start!