For the kids, March Break is the stuff dreams are made of. It’s that sweet, glorious freedom away from school that they’ve been counting down the days until. Parents, on the other hand, feel the pressure. Coming up with extravagant getaways, complex day trips, and elaborate playdates can be super-stressful but it doesn’t have to be.
If you’re short on ideas on how to keep your kids entertained, don’t sit them in front of the TV or hand them an iPad. Instead, swap screen time for active time. By increasing children’s levels of physical activity and alertness, it’ll improve their general well-being.
How, you ask? Why not check out the ParticipACTION 150 Play List, which was essentially created by Canadians. People all across the country voted on physical activities that make us uniquely Canadian and the Play List is ParticipACTION’s challenge to us. But because being active is so easily accessible, wherever you are in the country, that’s what makes conquering the list so easy.
So get them up off the couch, and doing something fun — so fun they don’t even realize you’ve completely tricked them into doing something that’s for their own good. Well done, crafty parentals, that’s half the battle right there.
Getting bundled up and dragging toboggans, spiral saucers, krazy karpets and snow racers to your local hilly park might seem like a bit of pain but once you’re there it’s totally worth it. Sure, there’s the uphill climb over and over again that will make anyone sweat but soaring down through that fluffy snow is a reward like no other.
You might not have an all-inclusive holiday planned but for the most part, all kids want is a pool to splash around in. Whether it’s a night away at a hotel or an afternoon at your local rec centre, getting children in the water is a great way for them to exercise all while forgetting that it’s not paradise outside.
You always want them to have more responsibility so this is the twofer every parent (of humans and canines) needs in their life.
Indoor Mini Putt
It might not seem like exercise but you can get some decent cardio during the 18 holes, not to mention improving hand-eye coordination — especially in those indoor glow-in-the-dark courses.
A hike in a beautiful park is an amazing way to escape. Now just imagine what strapping on a pair of snowshoes and embarking on a walk through nature can do. The cardio workout is undeniable, as is building strength, agility, balance and endurance. The biggest benefit is you can burn more calories snowshoeing than you would walking, running, even cross-country skiing at the same pace. THE SAME PACE. How are we all not snowshoeing?
Whether it’s with family or friends, at an indoor arena, frozen pond, or outdoor trail, skating helps improve balance and joint flexibility, builds leg muscles and endurance, and provides a fantastic aerobic workout. The best part? They’re exercising without even knowing it. Rollerblading offers the same benefits of ice-skating, but if you can find a roller rink, you can do it all in a T-shirt and jeans. Score!
While a child’s idea of relaxing is with some sort of device in their hands, why not have them really channel their zen with breathing techniques and posture-conscious poses? Lots of studios and city recreation centres offer the practice for youngsters but because it’s portable, all you really need is a mat and YouTube video or DVD. Working out their mind, body and spirit will do wonders.
Activity in colder weather actually boosts the health benefits of regular physical activity, like burning more calories and working the heart a little more. Curling might seem like nothing more than shuffleboard on ice, but when you factor in the muscle and core strengthening from the squatting and sweeping, and the flexibility required when delivering the stone, and add in how fun and interactive it is — for kids and adults — they might want to take up curling after March Break is over.
Never would we encourage any sort of violence or roughhousing. But by keeping it clean and friendly (only zipperless pillows, please and thank you), there’s nothing more fun that relieves stress and burns calories like a good, old-fashioned — wait for it — PILLOW FIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGHHHT!!! Bring on the sleepovers!
There’s nothing more glorious than getting some exercise without knowing it. And hitting the lanes with family and friends is a perfect example. The workout their bodies are getting — toning and strengthening muscles and improving hand-eye coordination — can’t be beat. While 10-pin is a workout in itself, try five-pin for an extra challenge. Though no one will fault you if you send the ball down granny-style.