Keeping active when you have kids can be really hard. Carving out time for yourself to get out and do some exercise is a daily challenge. I often use the hashtag #activefamily because I’ve discovered that one of the best ways to get my daily dose of activity is to make it a family affair. This is particularly the case during school holidays and there are a lot of those! With a bit of imagination you can turn any trip into a work out for every member of the family, without them even realising what you’re doing!
There’s a serious side to this too though. Look at this infographic from Public Health England:
What I find particularly frightening is the fact that children are more sedentary at weekends than they are during the week. As parents we have a responsibility to ensure our kids are fit and healthy to give them the best start in life. We can’t blame school for weekend inactivity. I’m no angel, my kids all spend a reasonable (probably too much) time looking at screens. When I disturb the building of a new Minecraft hospital (yes, they built a hospital with NHS written on the side!) I’m not usually met with excited faces and enthusiasm when I declare we’re going out for a walk. No, it’s usually more of a groaning, “Do we have to?” The easy option would be to let them stay put and forget about it but as a regular runner I’ve learnt that even when I don’t feel like going out, (which is quite often actually) I’m always glad when I do. With the kids, once they’re out they don’t want to come home and Clash of Clans is soon forgotten.
Just put yourself in your child’s shoes and try to see the world through their eyes. We can learn a lot from our children, they notice so much more than we do and their imaginations are incredible. All you have to do is provide the time, the environment and the encouragement and they’ll do the rest.
Here are some of the things we’ve recently been up to as a family to give you some ideas:
Sand art – drawing and sculpting (that’s a sofa by the way!)
Outdoor gym – there’s always something you can climb on or hang from! The bench push-ups were totally my daughter’s idea I’m not in the habit of running a kid’s bootcamp!
Working the core – this first one will only work in sand, the second can be done anywhere!
Treasure hunting – making art out of your treasures is great or try geocaching which is a brilliant family activity that turns any walk into a treasure hunt; we love it.
Exploring – you never know where you’ll end up. It’s a great opportunity to teach children how to use a map. If you don’t know how, then learn with them.
Den building – one of our favourite and best on a wet day when you can huddle inside and drink hot chocolate.
Good old games – beach ball, rounders, cricket, take your pick but prepare to get sweaty!
There’s a bit of a woodland/beach theme to our recent activities as you can see but even a plain open space will do. Just throw in a ball, some chalk to mark the ground and let the kids take the lead. The most important thing is … you have to join in. This is all about being a role model and enjoying things as a family. Everyone will benefit from being more active. Don’t take no for an answer, use your imagination, get outside and have fun.
We’re not perfect but we’re doing our best. What are your favourite outdoor activities you share with your children? #activefamily