Written by Alex Jones, features writer for Start Fitness
“Mum, Dad…I’m bored” - an exclamation that’s no doubt all too familiar to parents across the globe. The summer holidays provide children the opportunity to unwind from the pressures of school and simply enjoy being kids. However, year by year, the six-week break sees more and more children locked upstairs in the bedroom, glued to the latest video games.
With a shocking 79% of children failing to meet recommended fitness levels, we’ve come up with 10 ideas to get kids out of the house and active, all while strengthening family bonds and creating those timeless summer memories.
A family swim is a guaranteed hit with the kids. A trip to the local community pool is a fun-filled day out that can involve all the family, with each member able to participate at their own individual fitness level.
A real full-body workout, swimming is a great way to get the family moving. If you’re feeling especially brave, try one of the UK’s many outdoor swimming pools – we dare you!
Staying in the water, water sports are a fantastic way to get the family active this summer. These low-impact activities are great for aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility - creating a memorable day out that the kids won’t stop talking about in the process.
3. Indoor sport
If the water isn’t your thing, your local sports centre will no doubt have an array of options that won’t break the bank this summer. Badminton, for example, is a great way of getting the heart pumping whilst keeping the kids thoroughly entertained. Just don’t get too competitive!
Take your compass and map and venture outside with the family for some orienteering. This classic activity is a perfect way to help strengthen family bonds through its reliance on teamwork and communication. Tailor your courses depending on age and ability and let your little explorers take charge.
If you’re struggling to find your inner Bear Grylls, ditch the compass and map for a more traditional hike. Hiking is a fantastic cardio activity that presents the opportunity for some real ‘family time’. Pack a healthy picnic and get exploring the great outdoors.
An instant hit with the kids, ten-pin bowling is a great way to spend a couple of hours. Getting your muscles flexing and body moving, bowling is an activity you can be sure the whole family will enjoy.
Pop the side barriers up for the little ones, and let mum and dad battle it out with the sides down for some light-hearted competition.
7. Day trips
If your child isn’t too enthusiastic about sport-based activities, think outside the box about what could get the kids moving. A trip to the zoo, for example, features plenty of walking to get those legs moving - and the kids will be having too much fun to notice!
We understand that the summer holidays can be an expensive time for parents - but gardening offers a low-cost alternative activity that gets the kids interested. The planting and maintenance of some new flowers is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon and strengthen your parent-child bond in the fresh air of the British summer.
This go-to classic playground game offers guaranteed fun for the kids. The beauty of tig is that you can play anywhere, anytime. From the park to your back garden, the kids will always be up for a game. To really get them moving, consider adding a water balloon to the mix!
10. Family bike ride
Family cycling is one of the best days out there is. With increasing numbers of safe cycling and traffic-free routes popping up around the UK, family-friendly cycling has never been better. An incredibly effective calorie burner, the family bike ride is an inclusive activity for all. For the really little ones, get a child seat or attachment to link their bike to yours, ensuring you all enjoy this activity as one happy family.
Alex Jones is a features writer for Start Fitness - providers of running, cycling, gym, football and outdoor products.