Active healthy holiday ideas for kids
By Jodie Wrigley

The school holidays are great for kids but it can be challenging looking for new ideas to keep them active and entertained.

We all know that physical activity is important for everyday health - especially with kids who easily get caught up with computer games, TV and other sedentary distractions. Regular physical activity gives kids energy, confidence, self esteem, and helps set up healthy life long habits.

So, to help keep the kids active and help you survive the dreaded cries of "Muuuum, I'm bored", the Heart Foundation has put together some great ideas for the summer holidays which will keep them moving, keep you sane and won't break the bank.

Getting kids to be active doesn't necessarily require lots of space or expensive equipment. Below are some ideas for games that can be played inside or out.

So you think you can dance? Encourage them to make up a routine or dance to music. Why not hold a performance for the whole family? Involve friends and family and make it into a neighbourhood talent quest.

Wriggly snake: With a long skipping rope, two ‘turners' wriggle the skipping rope on the ground and children take it in turns to jump the rope. If they touch it they become one of the rope ‘turners'. Add another rope to the ‘snake' to increase the level of difficulty.

Fun with frisbees: Get children to throw a frisbee outside and challenge them to count how many times they can pass the frisbee without it touching the ground or to see how far they can throw it. If you thought frisbee was only an outdoors activity think again: if the weather is bad, why not get the children to play frisbee indoors with a paper plate? You can also get the kids to decorate paper plate frisbees before they use them - just avoid glitter unless you want your house to sparkle for days!

Scavenger hunt: Give children a list of items to ‘scavenge' from outside: e.g. the longest blade of grass, a pebble or stone; a flower; a feather; a large leaf.

Indoor Olympics: Make javelins out of drinking straws with a little blu-tac on the end holding a circle of cardboard (the size of a 10 cent piece). See who can throw the furthest.

Shoot hoops indoors:  Set up a basket, bucket or empty bin inside and make balls from firmly scrunched up newspaper. See who can shoot the most hoops.

Now you've got them moving it won't be long before they're hungry - here's a few healthy snacking tips to get you started:

Have healthy snacks readily available and easy for kids to grab and eat on the run:

  • Have fruit washed, sliced and ready to eat.
  • Freeze grapes for a refreshing, cool summer treat.
  • Pre-cut fruit is great for younger kids - have it prepared on the table or make up small kebabs. Small tubs of fruit canned in natural juice are also a great option.
  • Offer vegetable sticks with reduced fat dips;
  • Keep some reduced fat natural or fruit yoghurt in the fridge.
  • Top dry biscuits with tomato, avocado or reduced fat cheese.

Encourage kids to drink water as often as possible and limit their intake of sweetened drinks such as fruit juices, juice drinks, cordials, and soft drinks to occasional treats.

Another great way to keep the kids busy and teach them about healthy eating is to get them to help with preparing snacks and meals. It's a fun way to spend time together while helping develop important life skills. It's amazing what they will eat when they prepare it themselves!

 

For more tips on how to keep your kids active and healthy visit www.heartfoundation.com.au

 
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