Premier Education

9 ways to keep children active over the summer holidays

Research suggests that children and young people can lose up to 80 per cent of their fitness levels over the six-week summer holiday.

Without the daily routine or the walk to school it can be difficult to prioritise regular exercise, especially if children want to socialise with friends and enjoy some much-needed down time.

So how do parents inspire their children to remain active week after week?

Children at a summer Holiday Camp

Premier Education, provider of physical activity to primary schools, believes that a little energy and planning from parents can go a long way in keeping children more motivated and active, which will in turn bring about improved mood, positive behaviour and a happier household.

Here are some top tips for inspiring children to be active:-

  • Retain routine

While children need a break from school, they don’t need a break from structure or routine. In fact, many children thrive on it. Whether it’s a daily walk, outdoor play or making a commitment to screen-free time before lunchtime, young people will relish the repetition. If not, it’s easy for moods to slump and energy levels to decline. Making a commitment to an active routine will ensure children keep moving throughout the entirety of the summer holidays. And if you miss a session? Make it up the following day so momentum isn’t lost.

  • Role-model an active lifestyle

Home life can be tiring for parents and children alike, but living a healthy, active lifestyle as a parent will encourage your children to do the same. Or even better, why not workout together? The Joe Wicks workouts aren’t just for lockdown – they’re a fun and free way to get the family moving together. Plus there are plenty of other free online resources such as Cosmic Kids Yoga or Stay Active activity cards. Commit to a 10-20 minute workout three times a week and you’ll be guaranteed to keep each other motivated!

  • Keep a video diary

This is especially good for days when children are with grandparents or at a friend’s house. Ask your child to make a video diary of their day. They’ll be eager to show you all the things they’ve done, and you can watch the video together at the end of the day to give praise and recognition for everything they’ve achieved.

  • Retreat to the outdoors

The outside is free. With the cost of living crisis, finding free activities to entertain the children is more important than ever. No matter if you’re rural or city-based, there will always be local parks available. If you regularly go to the same park on the doorstep, take a trip to visit a new one. Why not create a chart and review each park you visit based on facilities and fun-factor? A new environment will stimulate a new adventure. Break the familiarity – try other settings such as woodlands, public footpaths and beaches to take the fun further afield. There’s no better time to get motivated than when the weather is good and daylight hours are at their peak!

Retreating to the outdoors
  • If eligible, take advantage of free activity provision

Thanks to the Holiday Activity and Food programme (HAF) there are opportunities to enrol your child onto free activity camps, which run for four weeks of the summer holidays, for four hours of four days each week. The provision is open to any child with a free school meals code and comes with healthy food provided. Each council offers different provision, but you may find you’re entitled to a range of activities such as performing arts, football, dance or table tennis – great for inspiring activity in young people!

  • Compromise on computer games

For children who love playing computer games, getting them to enjoy spending time off-screen can be a challenge. A good way to compromise is to encourage children to replicate the ‘in-game’ activity they’ve participated in. If they’ve enjoyed a particular match on Fifa, ask them to re-enact the highlights with a football in the back garden. Or have they explored a new world on Minecraft? Re-enact that adventure with props around the house! It encourages in-person communication while breaking up sedentary screen time.

  • Check out local community sport links

There will be a host of summer camps and summer schools happening in your local area, some of which will be free to join. Think outside the box and contact local venues such as bowls clubs, ice-hockey rinks, gymnastics clubs or sport leagues. There will be activity sessions, open days and camps which will give your child a chance to experience a new sport and make friends in the process. Or your child’s school will have links to reputable holiday clubs to join.

  • Help with the chores

Sharing household chores with every member of the household helps to reinforce a positive work ethic as well as values such as teamwork, hard work and respect. Whether it’s washing the car, helping to dust the house or hoovering, children will be doing something active which promotes a sense of achievement …especially if there’s a little reward at the end of it!

  • Friendly competition

A little friendly competition can go a long way. Challenge siblings, friends or neighbours to engage in a back-garden Olympics – incorporate sprints, ‘javelin’ throwing with sticks, how high can you jump and hula hoop competition. Or time yourselves to complete an obstacle course. It’s a fun and social way to keep active with friends, whilst incorporating fundamental movement skills such as running, jumping, throwing and catching.

Find out more about our Summer Holiday Camps today.