Fun Family Activities
It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing too much too soon and risk losing interest. Here are some tips on how to gradually get your family moving more.
Start at home
Put some time aside and get your family outside away from screens. Spend some time being active as a family in the backyard! Play some games, have a family cricket match or do some gardening. Have fun!
Get active in the neighbourhood
Learn about local facilities, parks, playgrounds, foot and bike paths your family can use. Check out the local government programs and activities, facilities and events for your area. Take your family on an after school activity.
Choose a simple activity
Walking is a great example. Plan a walk to the park, a lap around the block or if you have a dog think about taking everyone walking together.
Talk about it
Gather interest and understanding. Choose a day or time to do the activity that suits everyone. Busy families are often short of time, try watching one less TV show or aim to use travel time to get moving (to shops, to school).
Plan the route
Remember hills, uneven surfaces and road crossings can present a hazard and may result in a stressful journey for you and your children. Plan ahead to reduce stress and maximise enjoyment.
Test the route
Test the planned path first to ensure it’s suitable. If the path is too hard, choose an easier one and build up.
Remember to go at a pace that suits everybody. If you have younger children take them in prams or similar equipment.
Start with short trips and gradually increase the distance over time or increase the number of days you walk together. Choose a day or time to walk regularly once a week.
When your family is comfortable to start traveling longer distances, talk about active transport. Travel time is a great way to get those extra minutes of exercise in every day.
Create a goal
Choose a goal to aim for, such as walking to school. Once you’re family is active and able to travel distances, use LiveLighter’s guide on starting walking safely to school to get started.
To learn more about how to get the whole family active, check out this parent's guide from Bicycle Network and Ride2School which has loads of information on cycling including equipment, teaching kids how to ride, and where and how to ride safely. You’ll be making tracks as a family in no time!
Active Transport - Cost and time savings
It is easy to underestimate the time it takes to drive with the family. The journey to your destination may be relatively quick, however finding parking, paying for parking, and sometimes only having limited time to park in one place can really affect the overall journey time (as well as cost!).
With a little planning, alternative transport such as cycling, walking and public transport can be safe, fun and are often as quick. Initial investment in family time to plan, encourage and support alternative transport will not only support their health and physical development, but overall benefits such as developing healthy habits for life, including a strong sense of road safety rules, and increased independence for children. Best of all it can be low cost to free!