Did you know that children can lose up to 80 per cent of their fitness levels over the six-week summer holiday period? Help to keep them fit and active with our top tips.
Without the daily routine or the walk to school it can be difficult to prioritise regular exercise, especially if children want to socialise with friends and enjoy some essential down time.
Premier Education, provider of physical activity to primary schools, have some tried-and-tested advice for keeping children motivated and active throughout the summer break. Following their fitness plan should result in improved mood, positive behaviour and a happier household all round.
While children need a break from school, they don’t need a break from structure or routine. In fact, many children thrive on it. Whether it’s a daily walk, outdoor play or making a commitment to screen-free time before lunchtime, they will thrive on the repetition. Without a routine, it’s easy for moods to slump and energy levels to decline. Making a commitment to an active routine will help to keep children on the move throughout the summer break. If you miss a session, make it up the following day so momentum isn’t lost.
Role-model an active lifestyle
Living a healthy, active lifestyle as a parent will encourage your children to do the same. Why not try a workout together? The Joe Wicks workouts aren’t just for lockdown – they’re a fun and free way to get the family moving together. Commit to a 10-20 minute workout three times a week and you’ll be guaranteed to keep each other motivated!
Without a routine, it’s easy for moods to slump and energy levels to decline.
Keep a video diary
This is especially good for days when children are with grandparents
or at a friend’s house. Ask your child to make a video diary of their
day. They’ll be eager to show you all the things they’ve done, and you
can watch the video together at the end of the day to give praise and
recognition for everything they’ve achieved.
Retreat to the outdoors
No matter if you’re rural or city-based, there will always be local
parks available to you. If you regularly go to the same park on the
doorstep, take a trip to visit a new one. Why not create a chart and
review each park you visit based on facilities and fun-factor? Break the
familiarity – try other settings such as woodlands, public footpaths
and beaches. There’s no better time to get motivated than when the
weather is good and daylight hours are at their peak!
Take advantage of free activity provision if you can
If your child has a free school meals code, you can enrol them on
free activity camps, thanks to the Holiday Activity and Food programme
(HAF). Camps run for four weeks of the summer holidays, for four hours
of four days each week and come with healthy food provided. Each council
offers different provision: you may be entitled to a range of
activities such as performing arts, football, dance or table tennis.
Compromise on computer games
Getting children who love computer time to enjoy spending time
off-screen can be a challenge. A good way to compromise is to encourage
children to replicate the ‘in-game’ activity they’ve participated in. If
they’ve enjoyed a particular match on Fifa, ask them to re-enact the
highlights with a football in the back garden. Or have they explored a
new world on Minecraft? Re-enact that adventure with props around the
house. It encourages in-person communication while breaking up sedentary
Get help with the chores
Sharing household chores helps to reinforce a positive work ethic as
well as values such as teamwork. Whether it’s washing the car, helping
to dust the house or hoovering, children will be doing something active
which promotes a sense of achievement especially if there’s a little
reward at the end of it!
Sharing household chores helps to reinforce a positive work ethic as well as values such as teamwork.
A little friendly competition can go a long way. Challenge siblings,
friends or neighbours to engage in a back-garden Olympics – incorporate
sprints, ‘javelin’ throwing with sticks, how high can you jump and hula
hoop competition. Or you could set up an obstacle course for kids to
negotiate. It’s a fun and social way to keep active with friends, as
well as developing skills such as running, jumping, throwing and
Get them growing
Planting and harvesting crops is a great way to teach kids about
sustainability and encourage them to be active outdoors. Here are some
crops you can plant and harvest in July and August:
Plant lettuce, radish, carrots, runner and French beans and peas.
Harvest lettuce, radish, carrots, broad beans, French and
runner beans, peas, strawberries, onion and garlic, tomatoes and chilli