Getting active in the summer holidays

The school holidays are upon us and England is enjoying one of its best summers in living memory

03 August 2018 News Active Nation

Children and an adult in a park playing with hula hoops

To help children get active this summer, we’ve put together a collection of hints and tips that will hopefully get your creative juices flowing and the lungs blowing. 

Our research shows that by being active themselves, parents, particularly mums, have a real influence on their children’s activity levels. It’s great to show children that you don’t have to be the best, or super-fit, for physical activity to be enjoyable.

Children who do an average of at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity activity a day are active – and there are lots of fun and creative ways activity can be built into their day.

With that in mind, we've got some tips on how parents or guardians can encourage children to get active this summer: 

60 minutes of activity a day for an 'active' child

  • Physical activity doesn't have to be organised, or structured, or done in a public place 
  • The main thing is that the activity is fun and that the children enjoy themselves and leave with a positive attitude 
  • It doesn't have to be sport. Anything that raises the heart rate and gets you a little out of breath is good exercise, for example building a den or climbing a tree 
  • Getting creative can often inspire children, with something as simple as 'how many trees can you touch in five minutes' working to get them active 
  • Let them have an input into what they do and ensure they feel challenged 
  • It is also worth remembering that the 60 minutes of physical activity does not need to happen all in one go. 

Short bursts of activity can be more manageable than an hour of exercise and can be built into journeys. 

As a result, the NHS' Change4Life team have come up with six different 10-minute Star Wars-themed activities to keep children entertained for each of the six weeks of summer holidays. 

And if they want a longer project to get their teeth into then Jade Jones can help them 'Train Like a Jedi' with a video showing 12 special moves that will help children stay strong and healthy throughout their summer holidays. 

Other summer activity suggestions: 

  • Keep an eye out for what your local sports or community centres on offer – many will be running free or subsidised activities 
  • Local newspapers and council websites are another good source of ideas 
  • And while the kids may not have been out on their bikes since last summer, dig them out of the shed. The National Trust, with help from our funding, has developed 10 new cycle trails so families can visit a property then have a bike ride in the surrounding woods and parklands. No bike? Try getting one off Freecycle or find a cheap one on eBay 
  • Junior parkrun is a series of 2km runs for children aged between four and 14, open to all and free – see the parkrun website