Health and Fitness: Ways to get the kids moving during school holidays

FUN AND PHYSICAL: Bubble Soccer is one way to get the kids moving these school holidays. But there are plenty of other options that don't include a cost. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
FUN AND PHYSICAL: Bubble Soccer is one way to get the kids moving these school holidays. But there are plenty of other options that don't include a cost. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

“I’m bored.” “I’m hungry.” “Can I watch TV?”

If I had a dollar for every time I have heard this in the past few weeks then I would have a good little savings account going.

Keeping the kids amused and out of each other’s hair during the school holidays requires planning and mental stamina.

It is easy to clock up the screen hours and I have to admit my kids have been watching more TV than normal, but I don’t feel too bad about it if they have been out and burned off some energy for a few hours in the morning then again in the afternoon.

My mantra during this time has been: ‘Get them out to wear them out.’

We have been hitting the pool, beach or park most days and last week we took on a trampoline park which gave us all a good workout.

One thing I have found though is it can get pretty costly going to places like the pool and trampoline park.

If you are looking for ways to get the kids moving these holidays here are a few suggestions that carry a cost:

■Trampoline parks. One hour here and the kids, and you, will be ready for an afternoon nap. 

■Ice skating. It provides a cool option on a hot day and requires the use of many muscles.

■Ninja Parc or Climb. The Parc in Cooks Hill offers holiday sessions to get the kids moving through ninja obstacles courses or challenging themselves on the new climbing zone.

■Hit a pool. Call your local pool to see if they have any activities scheduled such as inflatable zones. Another option is booking the kids in for some intensive swimming lessons.

■Sporting clinic. There are a range of sporting clinics available through the holidays, such as InZane Football which offers full day or full week camps. Surfing lessons are another option.

Free activities include hitting the beach, going for a walk, ride or scoot along the Fernleigh Track, Bathers Way, Nobbys Breakwall or around Lake Macquarie, bushwalking through Glenrock, Mount Sugarloaf or Blackbutt, taking on a parkrun at one of the 12 locations in the Hunter region or just heading to your local park.

According to a NSW Government article (www.nsw.gov.au/improving-nsw/premiers-priorities/tackling-childhood-obesity/) I read recently, only 26 per cent of children are active enough.

So getting them moving any way you can is good I think.

The article also said 62 per cent of children eat enough fruit but only five per cent eat enough vegetables. 

I have three kids who all want to eat different things so I have tried to get a bit more creative with snacks in the holidays.

I have been making breakfast smoothies and afternoon fruit frappes. Slipping a good handful of baby spinach in with frozen banana and frozen mango or berries has been one way I have been getting more vegetables into them. I also add a cup of oats to morning smoothies to give us all some sustained energy.

SNACK OPTIONS: Adding baby spinach or kale to frozen fruit smoothies is a good way to get more vegetables into yours and your kids' diet.

SNACK OPTIONS: Adding baby spinach or kale to frozen fruit smoothies is a good way to get more vegetables into yours and your kids' diet.

Sizzling Summer Sessions

If you are looking to improve your fitness it is always helpful to do some standard tests that you can revisit down the track.

You may not notice differences during your program so this is a good way to see results and stay motivated. 

Some ideas include a 20-minute walk/run. Use the same course and measure how far you make. Do it again after four weeks, eight and 12 to gauge improvements.

Do one minute of short shuttles at a good pace and record how many you can do. 

You could also do a set time in the pool, on the rower or on a bike. 

Upcoming fitness events

Across the Harbour swim, Newcastle harbour, January 26: Choose from a 1400-metre return swim from Queens Wharf to Stockton and back, or the one-way option of 700m starting on Stockton side. This iconic Newcastle event has proven popular in the past and returns to the calendar after an absence. 

Nobbys to Newcastle Ocean Swim, Nobbys beach, January 27: A 2km ocean swim from Nobbys to Newcastle beach. 

NewRun, Newcastle Foreshore, April 15: One for the whole family with races ranging from 2km for kids to 21.1km. The good news is you still have three months to prepare. 

Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three. r.valentine@fairfaxmedia.com.au.