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'The way we spend our time defines who we are'
If Jonathon Estrin was right, we are defined by our excessive sitting and screen time. But, here's the good news - it doesn’t actually take much to get your family on the move, here's some inspiration!
Get creative with your family time
Many of us easily rely on screens for entertainment, education and sometimes a break from parenting. But there are much more fun ways to spend your time and connect as a family.
We know the weather can sometimes determine our plans. When it rains, we can all feel less inclined to get out and about compared to when it's sunny. When the warmer months are here, being active outside, on our feet and wanting to move more feels so good right?
We need movement all year round, so getting creative with your family time will help you all stay healthy and happy.
What's stopping you?
If there is one thing to bear in mind at any time of year, especially during the colder months, it's dressing according to the weather. No one likes a dull and soggy walk, or the idea of getting cold feet, ears or hands. The first step, as any good boy scout would tell you, is BE PREPARED! If the right outdoor clothing is within reach (think warmth, woolies, waterproofs and wellies!), it's easier to get ready in a hurry.
Once you have the basics sorted, and you experience a well prepared outing you are bound to feel better about doing it more often.
Gathering things in nature for crafting
Why not use your outdoor activities to inspire some creativity indoors! A woodland walk can reap great rewards for getting crafty at home. Try collecting leaves of different colours, twigs, pine cones and moss are all great for collaging. It will help to keep young children motivated as they get moving!
If you go down to the woods today, why not try building a fort or a den. Done safely this activity can be a great bonding experience that everyone can take part in. It gets everyone moving, encourages team work, communication and problem solving.
Big kids this one is for you. You'll be amazed how quickly you remember the playground favourites of your childhood once you make this a family activity. A round of Stuck-in-the-mud is an instant hit with all ages. If you've forgotten how to play them, or your children haven't learned them yet, here's our top three:
This easy to play fun game has grown in popularity with children of all ages. From playgrounds to parties, Scout groups to Brownie meetings - who doesn't love it? Here's how: Sit in a circle and pick a 'challenger' to walk around behind the seated players, as you pass each player tap their head saying 'duck'. Without any prior warning, the 'challenger' will choose someone to tap and say 'goose' to. This player has to get up and race around the circle against the 'challenger'. If the challenger beats the 'goose' back to their vacant spot in the circle, they win and will take their space in the circle, and the 'goose' becomes the new 'challenger'. But, if the 'goose' wins, the 'challenger' must again start their walk around the cirlce and resume tapping!
This fast paced game is a combination of teamwork and running. One or more of the players is required to be ‘it’. The chosen player/s must chase others to tag them, and once caught the players must stand with their arms and legs spread in a star shape. Once 'stuck' you cannot move and must remain on the spot until another player frees you by crawling through your legs or ducking under an outstretched arm. The game can only be won by the chaser if all players are 'stuck' or if it appears impossible for everyone to be caught and a count is taken to form a total to be beaten by the next chaser.
This classic game is a nostalgic favourite of many a Mum, Dad, Grandmother or Grandfather! Choose one player to be Mr Wolf. All other players stand in a line at the end of the space you are playing in, at the opposite end to Mr Wolf; this is known as ‘home’. Mr Wolf stands with their back to the line of players who then shout ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf’ and Mr Wolf chooses a time to respond with. Whatever time is chosen determines the steps the players must move fowards: so 3 'o' clock = 3 steps. Once the wolf thinks the players might be close enough to catch, they shout ‘IT’S DINNER TIME’ in a gruff bellowing voice and run to chase the players until one is caught. If you reach home, you are safe! If you are caught you are Mr Wolf for the next game.
This childhood favourite is actually more fun than you'd think as an adult. If you don't get found hiding in the understairs cupboard, just think of the peaceful 15 minutes you'll get to yourself! With everyone joining in, this game requires lots of moving around to find the best spot to hide and if you take it in turns to seek, you'll find yourself climbing up and downstairs racking up steps without even thinking!
Lots of video games now encourage movement. If you are lucky enough to own one of these consoles take advantage of the sports or dance games with options that always have you up on your feet and moving! Alternatively reintroduce some well loved party games to the living room: Musical Statues is a quickfire winner.
It doesn't have to be a party to dance and that's the whole point of a kitchen disco. They are impromptu, have no dress code and don't require an invitation! As long as you have a way to blast out some of your family favourites, and get everyone boogying as they dry the dishes. For inspiration, check out Sophie Ellis-Bextors You Tube channel.
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