Keeping kids and parents active during the school holidays

Our next blog comes from Cat Walker. Cat is a mother of three and a health and wellness expert with more than 15 years’ experience. Her background is in advocating for healthy choices in mining, education and health institutions, but she is just as passionate about fighting for healthy environments for children and families.

Its school holidays, yay! I’m sure everyone is excited and looking forward to some family time ahead.

However, from my experience, the reality can be that after a few days, you find yourself at wits end trying to think of activities that the whole family can enjoy. This is especially difficult at the moment, as many of us have already exhausted lots of our ideas during lockdown. Throw into the mix that we now have to come to terms with the fact that the majority of our regular school holiday activities are not going to be open or available. Suddenly, plopping everyone in front of a screen starts to seem like the easiest option… Just one movie, one TV show, one app on the iPad, a couple of computer games, and before you know it you have well and truly reached the maximum recommended amount of screen time.

Instead, why don’t we think of the upcoming school holidays as a time for the family to reconnect, get active and start new adventures that are healthy for everyone; kids, adults and pets alike. Or possibly rediscover the positive routines and rhythms that we had already found during lockdown and distance learning and build upon those.

Below are some fairly simple and free or cheap ideas on how you can keep active during the day, or after work with your kids over the winter school holidays. Just remember to stay warm and stay safe while trying these activities and make sure that you’re following your local distancing regulations.

Ideas to keep your family outside and moving over Winter…Fun for all ages:

  1. Play kick-to-kick – simple activities like kick-to-kick are good for everyone. A way to keep this fun and interesting for all ages is to put your own spin on the game. In our family we like to put a bucket in the middle and aim to get the ball inside the bucket.
  2. Fly a kite – you can either make them or buy them. There are some great sites on making kites out of things that you’d already have lying around the house. Flying a kite is an activity you can do anywhere, and it can provide hours of fun for everyone.
  3. Go to the beach – rug up and get some fresh ocean air. Whether you are building a sandcastle, searching for aquatic wildlife, burying a family member up to their neck in sand (this one is always fun!), there are a lot of fun things for you and your family to discover at the beach.

Fun Summer Activities for Kids

  1. Use the local oval – have running races, crawling races, egg and spoon races, balloon hopping competitions, play chasey, throw the hacky sack, you could even hold a mini family Olympics or just take your pets for a play. The options are endless.
  2. Bug adventures – Find and identify different bugs. You can then take them inside and draw them, label them and write up a description of them.
  3. Skate, bike, scoot and roller blade – get everyone in the family involved, why not learn to skate along with the kids? Get the whole family on the bikes and go for a ride each evening. You could even try to discover new bike trails together.
  4. Build a garden – Get the kids involved in gardening, you can go all out and buy a full-sized vegie garden or keep it simple by using egg cartons (filling them with soil and plant a seed in each cup). Get the kids to water the seeds each day and watch them grow.
  5. Play games – Why not play some old school yard games? You could try hopscotch, jump rope, tiggy or hide and seek amongst others. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll work up a sweat and these games are sure to bring out the inner child of any parent.
  6. Go park/playground hopping – try a new park and explore the different playground equipment. We do this once a week and make an adventure day out of it by bringing along a picnic. You can also do this one after work with the kids.

  1. Go for a hike/walk – There are walking tracks everywhere, look for ones that are appropriate for you children’s age and plan a hike. The more of these you do, the more they become a habit and the kids look forward to them. The first few can be tricky – whinging, whining etc. but I promise, they do get better.
  2. Check out ‘Tips from Teddy’ – If you’re looking for more ways to keep active, why not check out Parents’ Voice’s ‘Tips from Teddy’ Instagram challenge. There you’ll find some fun and healthy activities and apps to help keep your family moving.

My biggest tip – get outside into the fresh air whenever you can and play with your children, physical activity does not have to be a chore – make it fun for the whole family.

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