Christmas is a great time to encourage the whole family to be more active. Most of us have more family time during Christmas, so why not get active with your kids?
Getting some exercise will keep your family healthy. It will also help to reduce stress levels! Here are some simple activities to try this Christmas:
Go For a Family Walk
Start a new Christmas tradition – wrap up warm, put your boots on, and go for a family walk. The exercise will benefit both you and the kids, and will leave you with higher energy levels. Exercise has been scientifically proven to improve mood – when Christmas cabin fever sets in and the family are arguing with each other, wrap ‘em up and get ‘em out for a walk!
Whether you’re kicking a soccer ball, catching a rugby ball, or just throwing a tennis ball around, playing ball can be a great way to get some exercise and bond with your kids. The art of the backyard kick-about is in danger of dying out, so get out there and get some game time. You don’t need to be a top athlete – your kids will appreciate you getting involved in a simple game of catch.
For younger children, this is a great way to encourage physical activity. Kids love bubbles, and when kids play “catch the bubble” they get a serious work-out without even realising it – a great way for kids to burn off excess energy. Set your kids off to see how many bubbles they can catch. Not only will they have bags of fun, this will help younger children to practice counting. You can improvise bubble blowers from cardboard tubes and paper cups with the ends cut off – just make sure kids don’t suck up the bubble mix!
If your budget will stretch far enough, get hold of a table football set (or an air-hockey game) and organise family tournaments. Your kids will have a blast, and these activities are much healthier than computer games. Buy a cheap dart gun (or Nerf gun) and set up an indoor shooting range – you could use Christmas cards as targets. See who can shoot the targets in the quickest time. Get hold of a dartboard – playing darts can help kids to learn mental arithmetic as well as improving hand-eye coordination.
On a cool winter day the beach can be a great venue for a family outing. Bring a bucket and go rock pooling with your young amateur naturalists. Play frisbee or ball games. Combine a beachcombing trip with a winter picnic – bring a thermos of hot chocolate for the kids, and coffee for Mum & Dad.
Be a Tourist
Many tourist attractions have special offers in the off season, and some are even free – so why not take the kids to a local castle or folk park. If the weather is really bad, why not take the kids to your local museum or art gallery? It’ll give you and the kids a healthy walk, and they may even learn something!
Turn Off the TV
The average adult watches more than 3 hours of telly per day. This works out to 45 days per year spent in front of the box. Our children spend too long watching TV as well, so Christmas might be the ideal time to set a good example. Set time limits for TV watching & decide what programmes you’re going to watch in advance.
Being Active Isn’t Just For Christmas…It’s For Life!
Giving your kids the habit of regular exercise will help keep them healthy as they grow – according to the World Health Organisation, regular exercise can even help prevent heart disease and certain cancers. A great reason to keep going with active habits in the New Year!