Lifestyle

Happy families!

If kids are happy, so are the parents! Here are our 15 ways to play Happy Families this month.

Published

Just 20 minutes of dancing will raise the heart rate and give your family a good cardio workout. It’s also a fantastic stress buster.

5 budget-friendly ways to keep kids away from the screen

Claire Spurway, European and World Masters Indoor 60 metres champion, has partnered with Feel Good Contacts* to offer some tips on tempting kids to part with their screens.

Den and tent building

Try a challenging building project. Gather sticks and branches, and work together to build a stable and waterproof den. You can enjoy listening to the owls hooting, spot foxes and badgers, as well as gaze at the stars from the comfort of your back garden.

Wash the car

Have a sponge fight and wash the car at the same time. For a bit of excitement, add water bombs and water pistols. You’ll be getting a job done as well as having fun with the kids, and burning calories doing the wash and polish. Try squats to clean the bottom of the car and stretches to wash the roof.

Dancing

Have a disco! It doesn’t matter if you can’t tap, Zumba, salsa, ballroom or belly dance. You don’t need to be a good dancer. The only thing that matters is that you’re moving. Start with a five-minute dance session, then gradually increase it by five minutes every few days. Just 20 minutes of dancing will raise the heart rate and give your family a good cardio workout. It’s also a fantastic stress buster.

Playing games

Games such as volleyball (use a balloon), ping pong, hopscotch and tag will get you off your seat, but add challenges to the mix to make things more fun. Challenge yourself to learn a new skill or improve existing ones like skipping, roller skating, juggling, skateboarding, hoola hooping or ball skills. To give your body a good stretch, play twister. You can make your own game by marking circles on the ground, using coloured chalk.

Walking

A walk in the park is a great way of spending quality time together and getting active. To add variety, stop and climb trees – and why not swing on a branch? Vary your route to ensure you have a mix of up and downhill walks. Always keep a bottle of water handy and try to breathe deeply to use the full capacity of your lungs.

  • Feel Good Contacts is one of the UK’s leading online suppliers of discounted contact lenses and eye care products.

Visit www.feelgoodcontacts.com

If you have a long trip ahead of you, it’s important to schedule some breaks away from the steering wheel and allow your kids time to let off some steam, stretch their legs and burn off a little energy.

5 ways to keep kids entertained on long car journeys

Denise Millard, executive director of www.perrys.co.uk * offers effective ways to keep kids from getting bored and restless.

Arm yourself with snacks

Use snacks to break up the journey and as a reward for good behaviour: ‘Didn’t you do well to walk a whole two miles?’

Play Road Trip Bingo

A spot of Road Trip Bingo can be a life-saver when it comes to keeping kids entertained in the car. Come up with a list of things to spot before you start the journey, or you can pick something to spot and then whoever spots it first (such as a yellow car or an aeroplane in the sky) then picks the next item. Other recommended games include I Spy, 20 Questions and Spot The Car.

In-car entertainment

Films are a firm favourite for keeping boredom at bay and saving parental sanity. Give in to Netflix and transform your vehicle into a portable cinema: your kids won’t even feel as if they are travelling. If you supply them with headphones. you won’t have to listen as well! A carpool karaoke can make a long road trip fly by and help to lighten the cranky car mood. Belting out your family favourites allows you to bond with your kids too.

Favourite toys on hand

Stash as many toys in the car as you can. Whether it’s handheld games, traditional toys or simply books and magazines – try to cover all bases. Different toys can help to segment the journey: use your kids' things as a reward after they have read a book, such as being allowed to play a short stint of football at a pit stop – giving them something to look forward to.

Take plenty of pit stops

If you have a long trip ahead of you, it’s important to schedule some breaks away from the steering wheel and allow your kids time to let off some steam, stretch their legs and burn off a little energy. Make sure you take time as a family to get some fresh air outside of the car. Let your kids have a say too, allowing them to express when they want to stretch their legs, as this will make them feel as though their input during the driving route matters and, more importantly, help to avoid any tantrums.

*Perrys Motor Sales is a franchised car dealer founded in 1908. Its head office is in Northampton and operates over 50 showrooms at 25 sites nationwide.

Visit www.perrys.co.uk

5 ways to get kids active and in the fresh air

Here are some fun ideas from Squire’s Garden Centres to get your children into creative gardening.

Quirky planter creations

Turn unwanted items into perfect plant pots! You’ll be amazed at what can be recycled – old wellies, empty food tins or even plastic bottles all make fantastic planters. Then watch as your flowers bloom.

Create crackin’ cress heads

Carefully remove the top of your eggs, wash the shells and dab them dry. Draw faces on your shells with felt tip pens. Dip some cotton wool in water, squeeze out the excess, then place one cotton wool ball inside each shell. Sprinkle a few cress seeds on top. Sit your cress-filled shells in egg cups or an egg box on a sunny windowsill and watch them grow!

Encourage wildlife into your garden

Add flowering plants such as lavender, foxgloves or roses which provide nectar, plant a shrub or tree for shelter, create a log pile for bugs and insects, or add a pretty ladybird tower to your garden.

Grow your own

Try growing tomatoes, strawberries or even a pumpkin in time for Halloween! Pumpkin seeds can be sown outdoors in summer and are £1.99 per pack at Squire’s.

Make your own miniature terrarium

Use a clean glass or jam jar and add a layer of decorative stones and sand. Top with soil, then add moss on top that will act as grass. Plant miniature plants or cuttings into your jar. Add a small rock, or even mini people, Lego figures, plastic dinosaurs or animals to really bring your terrarium to life!

  • There are 16 Squire’s Garden Centres across the South East.

Visit www.squiresgardencentres.co.uk

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