In a society that revolves around TV, computers, tablets and mobile phones, luring kids away from the comfort of the sofa is becoming increasingly difficult, especially now the summer holidays are well under way and their day isn’t being taken up by being at school.
Statistics published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre show that worryingly, only 21% and 16% of boys and girls respectively are getting their recommended 60 minutes of exercise a day. But fear not – we have compiled a list on how to keep kids active this summer, so you and they can concentrate on having fun and making the most of the summer holidays!
1. Go on an adventure
Walking in the park or hiking through the local countryside are great ways to enjoy the outdoors – whilst combining exercise with learning about nature.
Why not make an ‘adventure’ of it to keep the youngsters motivated and having fun? If you have time, a scavenger hunt is great fun – you could encourage them to find things that are bumpy, leafy, small, big, green, brown, wet…the list goes on! The trick is to keep it easy – remember that for kids, the hike is all about the experience. A trail with interesting features such as a lake, waterfall or forest will keep them occupied and provide lots of talking points and learning opportunities.
2. Get pedalling!
Cycling is a fantastic way to have fun whilst keeping the whole family active this summer. It is a low impact form of exercise that increases the heart rate for a light cardio workout, and keeps the leg and calf muscles active. Children will benefit from fresh air and exercise without even realising it! Cycling round a lake or reservoir or along a canal path are great ways to introduce some nice scenery into your cycling trip. Remember to keep safe with helmets, and don’t forget a bicycle tyre pump and a repair kit to rescue punctures which could end up cutting your journey short!
3. Go swimming
Swimming is a mood-boosting all-round exercise with many health benefits including weight loss and reduced risk of illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes, so why not head down to your local leisure centre during the holidays? Or, if you want a day out, an aqua park or outdoor lido are exciting ways to keep the little ones active whilst also having lots of fun on the water slides!
4. Get gardening
Why not get some ‘little helpers’ for your garden? They could help to pot plants, seeds and vegetables, put out seeds on the bird table, or even build a mini rockery! And, according to the NHS, a good dose of fresh air and sunlight is a great way to boost vitamin D and improve moods – but make sure they wear sunscreen with a minimum of SPF15 if it’s a hot and sunny day.
5. Game on in the park
There is nothing like a bit of family competition to get active this summer. Head down to the park for a game of family rounders, tennis, frisby, football or bowls – and a picnic to finish off as a treat! Why not take a look at our blog for tips on how to create a great summer picnic.
There are many other ways that you can also get kids active this summer. You could get them involved with Change 4 Life’s 10 minute shake up, a campaign that has been set up to inspire children to complete their recommended 60 minutes of exercise a day.
The summer holidays may seem endless, but with these ideas, hopefully there’s enough inspiration to keep you and the kids busy and active this summer!