Published on: 13 June 2023.
Summer holidays are on the horizon, and as the inevitable rush arrives to fill the next 6 weeks, Vitality Magazine offers some inspiration on how to get your little ones excited about getting active.
Parents might only just be reeling from the half term holiday; but the countdown is officially on for the even longer summer break.
Bringing with it the unenviable task of finding a myriad of activities that will entertain and educate your young ones for 6… whole… weeks.
But if the thought of amusing your (or other’s) children for the prolonged period makes your stomach fall three inches, know that you are in safe hands here.
So, let the colour come back to your cheeks as Vitality takes you through a selection of inspiring activities for you to enjoy with the kids.
More articles on Vitality Magazine:
- 4 tips to get you into cycling
- How to boost your step count
- 5 simple dos and don’ts for a healthy summer
1. Foraging for the whole family
Foraging has gone mainstream across UK cities and countryside alike. No matter your postcode, be it London or the depths of the Yorkshire Dales, scouring the land for wild and fresh produce is a popular pass time.
It’s also a great activity for the kids. Time in nature is always a good time spent, as it helps with mental wellbeing, but foraging also helps children understand the natural world in a tactile way, allows for family time and encourages them to get active.
“Regular activity is crucial for children’s physical health and development,” says Jamie Monk, Vitality’s Head of Health & Wellbeing. “Movement and exercise help strengthen bones and muscles whilst improving cardiovascular fitness – all of which reduce the likelihood of developing sedentary behaviour related health problems.”
There are plenty of courses that you can take the children along to for a fun day out, or if you fancy going alone be sure to have read up about plants in the area so you know what you are looking for.
Making a treasure hunt for the kids on a day out is just one idea to get them excited about going foraging.
The Vitality Programme is designed to incentivise people to be more physically active over time.
An average of 87% of our members reach the recommended 150 minutes of exercise each week, all of which improves your overall health*.
VitalityLife plan holders who are engaged with the Vitality Programme are 39% more likely to live a longer life, while also saving on their premiums.
2. Join a junior parkrun
Warmer weather means more time can be spent outside – for the most part! And so, summer holidays are great time to make the most of the UK’s green and pleasant land.
Likely parents will want something that’s close to home, allows them to spend time with their kids and doesn’t cost a fortune – enter junior parkrun.
With more than 400 locations across the UK, there’s likely to be one nearby and it’s a great way to spend time with the whole family, as James Thomas, parkrun’s Outreach & Engagement Officer, tells Vitality Magazine.
“It’s a great opportunity for the whole family to spend some time together, outside and be physically active,” he explains. “junior parkrun is a great introduction to physical activity in a place that is safe and non-competitive.
“You can run, walk, hop or skip and there is no time limit to complete the 2k course and because we have a tail walker, no one finishes last.”
It’s also been found to have benefits to parents, too. “70% of parents said they have made friends through junior parkrun, meaning it’s not just the children who get the opportunity to see their friends in the park,” adds James.
And most importantly of all, it’s totally free.
parkrun is a great way to try out running for the first time or getting involved with a new activity; it’s free and there are hundreds of locations to choose from.
And, if running isn’t for you, you can get involved by volunteering to help out at the events, or even ‘parkwalk’ it.
Log into Member Zone for the details.
3. Make a splash
Swimming isn’t just a great way to cool off from the incoming warmer weather, it also helps children build their confidence and, for kids who are learning or have learnt to swim, it can teach them dedication and discipline.
“In additional to the physical benefits, getting active, like swimming, supports the development of motor skills, including balance, coordination, and agility,” says Jamie.
“The various movements enhance both gross motor skills, as well as fine motor skills, which are usually developed through learning specific techniques and more subtle patterns.”
If you’re not sure where to find a pool, Vitality partner Virgin Active offers 20 or 25 metre heated swimming pools in most of its gyms.
Here, they can learn to swim or improve their swimming skills through a dedicated programme. Meanwhile, parent and baby lessons are available for the youngest of water babies.
Local public pools are also a great option to take children to. However, be sure to check that kids are allowed to swim at these times by contacting the facility ahead of time or check its website for a timetable.
As a Vitality member, you could get up to 50% off a membership at Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing Centres, selected Virgin Active gyms or PureGym when you take out a qualifying health or life insurance plan.
Children are not eligible for the gym partner discount. A joining fee will apply.
Find more details by logging into Member Zone.
4. Gear up for a game
We Brits know not to bank on the British weather holding out for the entirety of the summer holiday. So, a contingency plan for the inclement unpredictable weather is probably a good one to consider.
Indoor activities don’t have to be sedentary and can make for as much fun as a day trip out. The government’s NHS’s Healthier Families website is a great place to look if you’re in need of some inspiration.
From dance games to indoor sports and games for children with disabilities, there are a number of options for children of all ages and skills.
Kids can also play games inspired by their favourite Disney, Pixar and Marvel characters as part of the government’s ‘10 minute Shake Up games’ that encourages children to get more active. From adventures with Olaf and Elsa to Hero Training with Captain America.
This may include an extra ticket for each child at Odeon or Vue** cinemas each month, 40% off a Garmin Kids’ Activity Tracker, a discounted pair of children’s trainers from Runners Need and up to 25% off a child’s bike from Specialized per plan year.