If your children do a lot of sports and after-school clubs, you may find that they are bursting with energy during the school holidays. Keeping their energy level up is a great idea to promote continued health and fitness, although this is often easier said than done! It can make things very difficult for working parents, who need to find plenty of options to keep the children entertained.
However, there are plenty of options for parents who are willing to think outside of the box.
During the summer holidays there are plenty of camps and summer schools that you can send your children to whilst you are at work. Some of these camps are run by corporations, whilst others may be run by the local council or community groups.
There are lots of different formats for these gatherings. Some camps are day camps only, and the participants go home every night, whereas other camps are residential. Some summer schools are for single sports (e.g. football), whereas others are multi-disciplinary.
Summer camps give your children the opportunity to socialise with other children during the holiday period, as well as allowing them to remain active.
Give your children a patch of garden to tend to. Help them to choose what they want to grow and explain the importance of taking care of the plants properly. Show them how to clear the patch and remove weeds from the garden.
Children are often the most enthusiastic about gardening when they are growing something that can be eaten. It can be fun for them to watch something grow, blossom and then turn into a fruit or vegetable which will then be eaten. Alternatively, children love things that are bigger or better than anything else in the garden, e.g. sunflowers.
It is possible to get loads of gardening tools that are designed especially for children, and they are sure to work up a sweat in the garden.
Hiking and orienteering are really fun pastimes for children, because they help to keep children moving whilst also helping them to build their map-reading skills.
Before you set off on a walk or around an orienteering course, you can help your children to familiarise themselves with all of the symbols on the map. Show them how to identify where they are using the things that they can see around them, such as hills, streams and walls.
Before you go on your hike, agree on the route that you are going to take and then allow the children to be the chief navigators. You will only need to step in if you get lost. Many children love to map read, because it reminds them of a treasure hunt. If you decide to go on a special orienteering course, you will also have the added fun of finding all of the checkpoints that are in the route.
Many orienteering courses offer participants a special electronic “dibber” which must be touched to the checkpoints to record each visit. Children will love to wear the dibber and check into each marker.
The beach is a great place for staying active because there are so many different things to do. Building sandcastles will help your children to keep their energy levels up, whilst also giving them the chance to flex their creative muscles as well.
If your children are more interested in taming the awesome power of nature, then they may want to try to dam a river or stream that flows out onto the beach. Many beaches in the UK have small streams or rivers that flow out onto them, and most children love to use sand and other resources to try to block them off. This is an impossible task, but it is one that will keep children entertained and active for hours on end.
Safety should always be the top priority with children when around water.
Dance Mat Games
If your children have to be engrossed in video games during the summer, make sure that they are physical ones.
Dance mats games are connected up to a console and participants are given set dance moves to follow. They are able to score points by doing the right steps at the right time. These dance routines can be very active, but they may keep your children busy for hours if they want to practice their steps. These mats are a great way to keep your children physically active if the weather outside is not very good. The only drawback is that you might have to listen to the same song on repeat for the whole day!