The pre-teen years are very significant in the life of an individual. This is a phase of rapid growth and development of both the body and the mind. For optimum development of the body, one needs both an enriched diet as well as physical exercise. And what better way is there to indulge in physical exercise than pursue some game or sport?

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Under the present educational system, the pupils undergo tremendous stress and strain. For them the best way to unwind is to participate in some physical activity or sports. It does not necessarily mean that a large amount of money needs to be spent for this purpose. Any one could play simple games in which there are no investments involved. For instance some traditional folk games like Kabaddi, Kho-kho and Hopscotch (locally called stapoo) cost nothing at all.

Next, the pre-teen children could try out skipping, swinging, cycling, and swimming, which require limited investments. In fact swimming is a very good option for exercise or sport, (call it whatever you want). It increases your metabolic rates, enhances your appetite and helps you to stay in shape. In fact people tend to grow fat once they leave swimming. Swimming also makes kids grow taller, as is generally observed (though there is not enough scientific evidence for it).

As a means of recreation, sports and games are also a good substitute for T.V watching which take its toll on the eyes of the viewers.

The Pre-teen years are ideal for taking up gymnastics
and martial arts like Karate, Judo, Kung-Fu etc. That is because at that point of time the human body is rather flexible and can be easily bent, twisted or moulded, which makes it easier for the individual to learn and adopt various poses and postures. Once learnt, they can be retained for a lifetime. Martial arts may indeed prove to be assets particularly for young girls who often need to defend themselves from hooligans, eve-teasers and other unruly elements.

Pre-teens years are the right time to commence games like football, cricket, hockey, basketball and so forth. Once they develop the skills the pre-teens can keep practicing such games and by the time they reach the mid-teens they can participate in tournaments held for juniors. But it is important to remember that to develop the skills a lot of practice is needed which might run into years. So one must not give up half way through.

Sports, games contribute a good deal towards the development of human mind. For one they teach you to be calm and level headed in all kinds of situations. You become a keen observer of things around you. You are made to confront several situations where you need to develop certain strategies. Besides, you learn accuracy, precision and how to make the right judgment. Games instill in you a sense of confidence, the confidence to go ahead and never to look back. The individuals and /or children also imbibe the team spirit, a sense of doing everything jointly with others without thinking about one's self all the time. Above all, sports and games foster in you the sportsman's spirit. To play a fair game without worrying about winning or losing.

Now let us look at some other aspects of games and sports and their importance for pre-teen children. Children must remember not to strain or exert themselves too much or else they are likely to suffer from fatigue or fall sick. Be careful of every step you take otherwise you might end up with a sprain or injured tendons and ligaments. Also make sure you do not drink water immediately after sports or games. Drink water only after your body temperature starts corresponding with that of your surroundings.

It is important to bear in mind that the pre-teen years are crucial for the children's studies and future careers. Hence a balance needs to be struck between studies and physical activities. "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," goes the adage. But the converse i.e. all play and no work/studies could be disastrous. Remember studies and sports are equally important in the lives of human beings. A healthy balance needs to be struck between the two.

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