School holidays are here. Don’t let your youngsters spend 6 weeks on the couch glued to their screens, encourage your children to get moving!
Children have such an amazing amount of energy – how can they possible burn through all that energy by playing computer games? They need to get outdoors and be active. Here are my top 20 fit and fun activities you can do with your children these school holidays.
1. Go for a walk
Need milk from the local shops? Instead of grabbing your car keys grab your walking shoes! Kids love going for a walk because they can explore and feel free. Play ‘eye spy’ if you feel like they need extra stimulation.
2. Play chasing games
So easy, so effective. All I have to say to either of my children is ‘I’m going to get you!’ and they start running and squealing. This is a great way to get their heart rate up and yours too!
3. Jump and hop
This is as simple as it sounds. Ask your child to jump from one point to another, feet together. If you want to make it extra challenging you can gently tie their ankles together with an old stocking. Try again (remove the stocking) and this time hop on just one foot, then swap. If you’ve got young children, try incorporating bubbles. Ask them to jump up and pop the bubbles.
4. Practice yoga poses
Children are so flexible! It’s amazing what they can do. A few fun poses you can try include tree pose, downward dog and warrior pose. Just google these poses if you aren’t familiar with them. Don’t take this activity seriously, be silly and have fun with it.
5. Practice imaginative play
Practice squatting and jumping like a frog, or walk on your hands and feet like a dog. Make the animal sounds together and you and the kids will be in fits of laughter!
6. Play running relays
Place a ball at one end of the yard, ask them to run to the ball, pick it up and bring it back to you, you then do the same. You can also practice throwing and catching the ball to develop their focus and concentration.
7. Create an obstacle course
Use old tyres, cones, and sandbags so they can practice jumping, skipping, jogging, and manoeuvring around the objects. The variety will keep them interested and will challenge their agility skills.
8. Play tug of war
Get a long piece of rope, tie knots in it about a metre apart and then a knot at either end. Get the kids to stand on either end of the rope, holding the rope where a knot is and then pull! This activity is great for developing upper body strength and encourages team work.
9. Practice karate chops
Grab a pillow or towel, hold it out in front of you so they can ‘chop’ it with one arm. Get them to make a ‘hiiiiii ya’ sound for extra giggles.
10. Walk the tight rope
Use your tug of war rope. Lay it flat on the ground and ask your child to walk in straight line alongside the rope very carefully. They should hold their arms out, in line with their shoulders, palms facing down, for balance. This activity helps to improve their focus and balance.
11. Try some strengthening and cardio exercises
Star jumps, wall push ups and bicep curls are easy and safe to do. To make things a little more challenging, give them water bottles to use as hand weights for the bicep curls – they’ll feel super strong!
12. Play hide and seek
An old classic. Mix it up by asking your child to take exactly 30 steps and then hide. This encourages them to think quickly and to move around before they hide.
13. Create a scavenger hunt
Grab a bunch of random items from around the house. Create a list and then hide the items in the backyard. Provide the list to kids and give them clues. This activity certainly helps to get their step count up for the day.
14. Go for a bike ride
Grab the bikes and go for a ride. Bike riding is excellent for developing lower body strength.
15. Go swimming
Swimming is an excellent cardio activity and acts as a full body workout. If you don’t have a pool head to your local community pool. Of course, make sure your children are safe and supervised at all times, don’t forget the 50+!
Dancing is a fantastic way to get moving and is so much fun. Turn on your children’s favourite songs and start grooving. Singing and dancing along to The Wiggles is great for young children. If your children are a little older and have their own taste, turn on their favourite tunes. And don’t be afraid to play them your music. My 2 year old boy’s favourite song is ‘Me Too’ by Meghan Trainor’!
17. Strengthen the core
Core strength is the development of the torso muscles which stabilise, align, and move the upper body. Core strength is vital for good posture, which is important for the development of fine and gross motor skills. Traditional planks, star planks, mini crunches and sit ups will all help to strengthen your child’s core.
18. Do house or yard work
Get your children involved in house or yard work. Kids love having a job to do and being responsible. Get them to follow you around the yard with a bag to collect the leaves, or get them to help you wash the car. Every step counts!
When was the last time you skipped? Try skipping around the park or your backyard and you will instantly feel happy – strange but true! If your children are a little older you can also try skipping with a rope. This is a great cardio activity and an excellent way to develop co-ordination and agility.
20. Go to the beach
Going to the beach is a great activity for the whole family. Resist laying around and get moving! Run on the loose sand, splash in the water, build sand castles, explore the rock pools – there are so many different things that can keep the kids entertained.
By Sarah Guptill
About Sarah Guptill, Owner and trainer, Bliss Fitness and Wellbeing, Sarah provides fitness and wellbeing coaching for those who want a positive lifestyle change. She specialises in training for mature ladies and people with additional needs including school aged children.