Encouraging screen free downtime

As we get back into the usual school routine it can be easy for the family to veg on the sofa or fall into screen time at the evenings and weekends. Here are some budget friendly suggestions for family downtime together.

Den and tent building

Children are naturally inclined to be active, so try to tempt them away from the screen with some challenging building projects. Test your coordination skills by gathering sticks, and branches and work together to build a stable and waterproof den. Set up a tent and camp in your back garden and enjoy a staycation throwback, listening to the owls hooting, spot foxes and badgers as well as gaze at the stars from the comfort of your back garden.

Wash the car

A great way to make the most of any dry days is to have a sponge fight and wash the car at the same time. For a bit of excitement add water bombs and water pistols. You’ll be getting a job done as well as having fun with the kids and burning calories when you all work your arms for the wash and polish, do squats to clean the bottom of the car and stretch to wash the roof.

Playing games

Playing games such as volleyball (you could use a balloon), ping pong, hopscotch and tag will get you off your seat, but if you try and add challenges to the mix, this makes things more fun. Challenge yourself to learn a new skill or improve existing ones like skipping, roller skating, juggling, skateboarding, hoola hooping or ball skills. How about target practice using a ball or nerf gun?

To give your body a good stretch, play twister. You can make your own game by marking circles on the ground using coloured chalk.

Dancing

Why not have a disco? It’s not important if you can tap, Zumba, salsa, ballroom or belly dance. You don’t need to be a good dancer. The only thing that matters is that you’re moving. Start with a five-minute dance session then gradually increase it by five minutes every few days. You could even play musical statues. Just 20 minutes of dancing will raise the heart rate and give your family a good cardio workout. It’s also a fantastic stress buster.

Walking

A walk in the park is a great way of spending quality time together and getting active. To avoid getting bored, stop and climb trees, why not swing on a branch. Try and vary your route to ensure that you have a mix of up and downhill walks.  Always keep a bottle of water handy and try to breathe deeply to use the full capacity of your lungs.

If you’re interested in an imaginative way to explore towns, cities and villages in the UK, then try a Treasure Trails self-guided themed tour which has walking routes that start from a two-hour trail, although you can do it at your own pace.

Life-skills

Teach your children some useful life skills from cooking to gardening. Housework isn’t the most enjoyable of activities, but it needs to get done and is much more manageable if you do it as a family and to some music. Finally having an autumn clear out will not only leave you with more room in the house but will also feel therapeutic.

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