Whilst children are at school, they have P.E lessons that ensure they take part in a certain amount of physical activity per week. However, when they aren’t in school during periods such as the Christmas and summer holidays, there tends to be less routine, and therefore, a greater chance of them not undertaking enough physical activity. In addition to this, the cold and wet weather is a real deterrent when it comes getting active when you’re back in the classroom after the Christmas break!
Dean Evans co-founder and head coach of The Football Centre agrees that “Staying active outside of school in the winter months for young children is vital. Take them away from their computer games, iPad and keep them active by enrolling them in a sport that they can still get their daily intake of exercise in. ”
To get pupils motivated to keep moving, this post will look at how children of all ages can be encouraged to take part in sport and physical activity outside of school in the winter months.
Join out of school sports clubs
Children who enjoy sports in school should be encouraged to join clubs outside of school. Not only will this encourage them to keep them active, but it’s also beneficial in the fact that exercise can also aid educational performance and social development. Additionally, this will also provide children with something to look forward to throughout the week and during school holidays, as well as giving parents some much-needed time off.
Focus winter activity around winter sports
One way to encourage activity in the winter is to focus on winter sports. During the colder months, sports such as rugby, football and hockey are in peak season, so we say, “make the most of it!” Rugby can get cold, wet and muddy, however, this isn’t always a bad thing. Getting covered head to toe in mud whilst you slide through puddles with your team mates is a memory you will always remember.
In the same breath, it is important to be prepared to take part in winter sports. The above mentioned experience wouldn’t be as fun if participants were not prepared for it! Warm and protective clothing such as thermals, gloves, sport snoods and side line waterproofs will make playing sport in harsher conditions more enjoyable and safer. Additionally, the same can be said for your facilities. Pitches must be looked after correctly, and winter demands should be considered. For example, less daylight hours means that floodlights are hugely beneficial to performance and enjoyment.
With less daylight also comes less Vitamin D, which highlights another important point to cater for nutritional needs of winter. Plenty of fluid are always needed, but a nice post game hot chocolate or hot meal also helps!
In addition to winter sports, joining a gym is a good way to keep active in any weather conditions. For older children, this can be their introduction to the gym as they work on their fitness and strength for other winter sports, while not having to spend extended periods training outside in the bad weather.
Try indoor sports
Sports such as badminton and basketball are easy to organise and cheap to play indoors in your local leisure centre. In addition to these, there is the option to take part in the indoor versions of typically ‘outdoor’ sports such as football, tennis and cricket.
Alternatively, martial arts options are one of the best activities for young sportspeople to take part in. Martial arts will provide a full body workout while teaching self-defence, mindfulness, discipline, and respect.
Explore different sports
Activities such as swimming and rock climbing are fun ways of staying active. These activities are perfect for starting as a group or as a family, with the possibility of taking up the activity more seriously in the future. Furthermore, both sports are usually carried out inside, at climbing centres and swimming pools. However, these are sports that can be taken outside in the summer months offering a change in experience.
Skiing is also much the same. Ski trips can be a pricey sporting option but taking a trip to the local dry ski slope is superb activity for the entire family. This is a good entry activity and is a fantastic way to see if it is worth spending the extra money and getting the family on a trip abroad. Schools can also arrange ski sport tours for a unique take on the typical sports-focussed school trip!
Additionally Raeleen from mudputty states that “there’s great classes to keep kids of all ages and all interests active. From group fitness classes to gymnastics, or yoga for kids. At mudputty we find the kids classes are very popular during the winter months, as it allows parents to continue having kids active in a social and meaningful way. It also reduces screen time.”
Trampolining indoor or outdoor is always super fun and children don’t even see it as exercise, more a hobby. Vuly Play trampolines have been very effective at keeping kids active outside of school hours, with feedback always positive. The benefits of bouncing are endless!
Tours, Tours, Tours!
Chasing the winter can be fun. To fully embrace the weather, take part in a sporting experience that is entirely dependent on snow. With that in mind, no sporting experience quite matches skiing. The amazing views, the adrenaline rush, and the opportunities to learn new skills, see new places and experience entirely new things are all reasons why a ski trip is the perfect get away for children. Skiing locations are all special; whether it’s in Canada, America, Andorra or Italy, skiing provides an experience that is out of the ordinary.
Not fond of the colder weather? Escaping winter is the alternative. Consider taking your class on a sports tour or sporting trip to somewhere sunny just as the weather at home becomes cold and wet. Inspiresport offer trips internationally to the top sporting clubs and locations for football, tennis, cricket, and other fun and engaging sports.
Get active outside of sport
There are an endless number of activities that can be encouraged outside of typical sport. Simply introducing a little more activity into a normal day out is hugely beneficial. It is amazing how many steps it takes to walk about a museum or to go on a tour of a historic city or castle. The best part is that alongside the exercise, these trips are highly educational.
How about introducing a green attitude and look into gardening? For example, the experts at Fantastic Gardeners advise how basic gardening tips can make a change. The time and care for a small lawn or set of plants can contribute for a sporty and healthy attitude in life.
For younger pupils, Leann Middlemass from iiNet, says: “I am a wellness coach and I found the following a fun way to keep kids active.
Nature chase: Spend the day going through your local park and write up things that the kids can see and collect. The list might include collecting a feather or the biggest leaf, seeing which tree is the tallest and listing how many animals they see. You get to sit and watch them as they run around.
If you give them a timeframe, it’s even funnier. The kids are then excited to show you what they have found. To make it easier, they can also work in pairs.”
Theresa Bertuzzi, Co-Founder and Chief Program Development Officer of Tiny Hoppers has lots of great suggestions “If you are looking to keep your children active outside of school and you lack the funds to pay for community sports, then why not go old school with your children and encourage activities that we all enjoyed from our childhood. A great way to do this is to visit your local discount store each week and have them pick out one or two new toys that will encourage active play for them to explore that week. Purchase a skipping rope and teach them some of the skipping games that we used to play as children. Another week get some sidewalk chalk and teach them how to play hopscotch. Purchase a frisbee and watch some online videos that show some different tricks you can practice for catching and throwing”
Keeping children active outside of school is important all year long and not just through the holidays. For more information on our tours for schools, please visit our website.