Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness. You can find him on the blog (mostly) on Sundays. Enjoy!
5 Ways To Get Kids More Active On A Budget
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So, we’re finally out of lockdown in time to enjoy the summer and what passes for good weather in the UK. On one hand, it’s great to have the kids home, on the other things can, from time to time, get a bit fraught. I do love having the kids around but when they are bored, with energy to burn, it can all get a bit hectic a bit quickly. There are, of course, tons of things to do during the holidays but a lot of them come with a cost attached and that can mean that they’re not always viable options for everyone, particularly given the last year and the impact it’s had on many family’s budgets. What I thought I would do in this post is to look at some of the things you can do with the kids to burn off some energy without breaking the bank.
1. Go to the Park
One of the best things about living in the UK is that most places have parks. Even the tiny village I grew up in Staffordshire had a couple of little parks we could go to with some slides and swings for us to muck about on. Remember that for kids it does not have to be a fantastic treetop adventure with ropes and stuff, with a minimum amount of equipment most kids will find a way to have fun. If you have a single child perhaps arrange to meet with a friend or two so that the imagination can take over.
2. Family Workout
During lockdown, it seemed like every personal trainer was putting up content on Youtube and although we can go out now, all the content is still there. I wouldn’t necessarily take my kids on every workout I do but mine actually love being included when I do a workout on a weekend. You might have to move stuff around to clear space for everyone to do jumping jacks but it can be a ton of fun. If you need to get a full-on workout on that day just get up early and go solo so that you can have fun and enjoy the kiddie callisthenics.
3. Skipping Rope
Going old school for this one. Get them a skipping rope. It can be used solo or in twos or threes, it’s great cardio, it can be great fun and it’s low cost. I’m going to be honest and say I never join in with my kids when they do this and that’s because I’m totally accident-prone and it would end in A&E. Another great thing about a skipping rope is it can be taken about the place with minimal space taken in the boot, so it’s a great option if you manage to get away this year.
4. Swim Session at Your Local Pool
We’re lucky in that there is an amazing fun pool really near us but with us and our kids it runs to over £40. I’m not saying it’s not worth it as it’s loads of fun, but it’s not something we can do every week. We could go to our local normal pool for less than half of that (a lot less if you’re a member of the local fitness scheme). Obviously, waves and water slides are tons of fun but don’t forget how good it is to just be in the water enjoying swimming around and having fun as a family. It’s also a great way to make sure everyone (including adults) sleeps well that night.
5. Climbing Trees
I thought I would pick a personal favourite to conclude on. Trees are abundant in the UK and, for the most part, we still have loads of nice strong deciduous trees around us. Why does it matter that they are not conifers? Because the deciduous tree is the tree climbers mount of choice of course. As long as the area is safe (not next to a busy road) and the tree isn’t damaged there’s no better feeling than climbing a tree. It’s also a great full-body workout (probably second only to swimming in that respect). So even if there’s no park, no pool, or place to skip near you, you can always take the nippers for a quick tree climbing session.