I’m sure I’m not alone in having my fitness routine (or any kind of routine for that matter!) go out the window come school holidays. I love Easter – spring should be ‘springing’ which means we can finally get outdoors a bit more and chocolate is everywhere (even more reason to stay active!).
So, what can you do to keep the family happy and active this Easter without spending too much money? I’ve listed some of our family favourites below. Depending on the ages of your children you might be more restricted as to what activities you can do, however most of the ones selected can be enjoyed by most ages.
1) Family Walks. If you’re struggling to get those 10,000 steps in, get the kids out for a walk with you. I’ve learnt the hard way that kids are not necessarily a fan of ‘just walking’, so we make an adventure of it and this lifts their enthusiasm and miles walked! We’ve done nature walks – take the camera and a clipboard and see what you can hear and spot in the trees for a picture or a drawing.
Bluebell walks – possibly my favourite walk and time of year – who can resist the beauty of this and the opportunity to spot the elusive bluebell fairy? I know families that are really in to geocaching (www.geocaching.com) - we’ve not tried this yet, so maybe that’s something for us to do this Easter (and of course there are bound to be lots of Easter Egg hunts going on). However you encourage them to go outside, walking is a great way to connect as a family and see what the local countryside has to offer. Around me, in Bromley, these are my favourite places.
Jubilee Country Park for a super local nature trail http://www.bromley.gov.uk/info/1008/nature_reserves/392/jubilee_country_park_local_nature_reserve
Emmetts Gardens for their wonderful flowers, meadow and of course the bluebells when they come! https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/emmetts-garden
High Elms Country Park for beautiful woodland walks and a lovely grass area for kite flying and games. http://www.bromley.gov.uk/info/1008/nature_reserves/400/high_elms_country_park_local_nature_reserve
2) Bike Rides. Finding a lovely park with some nice safe pathways to whizz around on your bikes together is great fun. This is still a challenge for us as my youngest is not quite there with the bike riding. Nevertheless, even the act of assisting her to learn to ride gets my heart rate up as I run alongside her holding the seat for stability.
3) Old School Games. These are my wet weather staples and - let’s face it – there’s a bank holiday coming up so it is bound to rain! When in the house we play ‘tails’. Someone has a tea towel tucked in their trousers at the back (hence tails!) and we have to chase them while they run around and dodge us as we try to snatch the tail! My girls love it (it also went down well with the adults in my circuits class too!) and all that moving and dodging really gets the heart pumping and challenges your agility. We take this game to the park when the weather is good and add to it with some good old ‘stuck in the mud’ and tag for some easy family fun and exercise.
4) Park Obstacle Courses. My kids love our local playground, but it can get a bit samey for them so we mix it up with a few exercises and obstacles. Get them to help you decide what they want to do and they really get inventive and involved. Our favourites are – timed laps of the park, jumping on and off the tires, skipping rope jumps, popping bubbles and anything that involves timing how long they can balance for.
5) Fly a Kite. I’d forgotten what a simple pleasure this is! My girls were given a small box kite which is super simple to use and off we went running around the park with kite in tow! You also get to exercise your vocal cords as it’s impossible to fly a kite without a few verses of “Let’s go fly a kite”!
6. Gardening. Anyone who’s been to my house knows that I have a very ‘bijou’ garden, but even so I still like to get them out there and involved in it – especially if Grandad is around! Ok, we don’t get out of breath, but we do crouch, lift, pull as we plant and weed. The kids can see the result of their efforts and learn about where food comes from and how to look after nature.
Whatever you try, make it part of a family routine. I read a statistic recently that sadly won’t come as much of a surprise to most of us given the current levels of obesity in the UK - over 1 in 5 children in Reception and over 1 in 3 in Year 6 were measured as obese or overweight*. As parents, don’t underestimate how important it is that your kids see YOU being active and healthy – you are their greatest role model!
I’d love to see pictures and thoughts about how you keep your family active this Easter!
*National Statistics Report. Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet England 2017.