SUFFICE to say, there’s been quite a lot of sitting around over the past two years (understandably!).
Nearly two-thirds (59%) of UK parents feel their primary school-age children have become less physically active since the start of the pandemic, according to a new survey by EE, marking the launch of their partnership with children’s smartwatch manufacturer, Xplora.
There’s loads to be gained from keeping active as a family – not only can it boost everyone’s health and self-esteem, it provides plenty of opportunities for fun, bonding and making memories too.
And with the days getting lighter and longer and restrictions really easing, there couldn’t be a better time to get active again. Here are some ideas…
1. Get cycling
The benefits of biking with the kids are countless. Not only is it great for getting both children and grown-ups active, getting out for family rides could create fun, happy memories too – plus it’s good for the environment, which kids will love.
2. Make outdoor chores and gardening fun
Washing the car, cleaning ground-floor windows, sweeping the patio, potting plants – with all of this comes bending, kneeling and lots of moving!
Wait for squeals of delight when those seeds sneak out of the potting tray further down the line, and who doesn’t love putting on their wellies and squeezing out a sponge while the car gets a wash.
Entice them outside with warm mugs of hot chocolate – and perhaps some nibbles for them and for the birds.
3. Weekend adventures
Walking doesn’t have to be boring. You may have to tear them away from their smartphone or video game, but once they’re out and about, they’ll love it – so how about making it part of your family weekend routine?
Try reintroducing a sit-down Sunday roast, for example – and then walk your way to an adventure playground or nearest open green space to connect with nature (now’s an especially exciting time with green shoots and buds starting to come through). Save their favourite sweet treats for when you get there.
If you want to stay closer to home, build a treasure trail in the garden – anything that feels like a game with prizes to be had is sure to get them racing around in no time!
4. Meet, move and play
How about getting friends or neighbours together to arrange a little park match or sports morning of your own? It doesn’t need to be anything elaborate that needs loads of props or planning either. A simple frisbee, some makeshift goalposts – so long as everyone’s moving and having fun.
5. Dance, dance, dance!
With loads of energy to spare, it’s never too soon to get your toddler or kids of all ages to move to the music. With endless live streams on TikTok and various free dance tutorials on YouTube, chances are you’ll want to get in the groove too. Although you can always just whack on some tunes and freestyle, of course! Dancing is a real endorphin boost and a great way to get kids to express themselves and develop self-confidence too. To kick it up a notch, encourage them to create their own playlist. Did someone say kitchen disco?
6. Learn new skills
Whether it’s ball games, breaking up the week with a swimming trip, picking up their crayons and pitching their colouring books outside as the weather warms up, or enrolling them in a sports extracurricular – developing skills and being active often go hand-in-hand.
This could even be a chance for you all to learn a new skill together – but even if you’re just shouting from the side-lines or being a glorified taxi service ferrying them to and from a class, you’ll all get something out of it. Learning new skills can be really motivating, and it’ll help their social skills too. Plus, being able to share the experience with you and tell you all about it will be a boost all round.