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The summer holidays will soon be upon us, and it gives us so much more family time for fun and games. It’s the best time of year to be outside in the fresh air for walks, swimming and on bike rides. Why not break the norm this summer? Try some different activities that may take you back to your childhood and summon a few laughs as well.

Retro games and activities can involve everyone, it’s easy to let the children wander off and play in their own world without you, whilst you go off and get into general housework lose track of time without getting involved.

Time together is a great opportunity to build positive relationships with the whole family. Joining in with fun and play is a way that you can help with your children’s development and keep healthy and open communication flowing.

Get skating
I’m sure that most of us can remember having a pair of funky coloured quad skates at some point? Yes... roller skates, leg warmers, fluorescent head bands- I am sure you remember how much fun you had! Well, the roller disco thing is back again and it’s big! The great thing about it is that the kids are getting fit by whizzing about, everyone is having great fun, and the activity is reasonably priced.

Roller skates are from around £30 these days so why not get a pair for each family member, dress up in retro style and have a great laugh… you may remember some of the 70s disco tunes and enjoy it more than the kids!

Have a look at the roller-skating directory, on british-roller-skating.org.uk for info for the nearest discos, you will be surprised at just how many there are these days. The kids won’t want to take them off they are so much fun! Other places you can use the skates- try taking the dog for a skate, wheeling around the park and the garden, or try any other smooth surface close to home.

Let’s twist again
On fair days when you are just wanting to stay local to home, it’s a good idea to have a few fun surprises up your sleeve for the children. Some of the retro games we still have around, your children may have never played before. Twister is a fantastic example- it can be played inside on rainy days and in the garden when fair.

You just need floor space for the plastic mat, and a good sense of humour. There is no limit to how many can play, but more than four can get a bit crowded. You can even think of it as a retro yoga class, and parents be warned, Twister is still as fun as it was the last time you played! As children tend to be more flexible than most adults, don’t be alarmed if they beat you, and be sure to bear in mind your own flexibility and any injuries whilst playing.

Bring back the hula hoop
Some retro games you were once familiar with have now been taken and used in modern exercise classes, the tram-pet (mini trampoline) for rebounding classes and the hula hoop for example. Hoops are cheap to buy, you could invest in a few hoops for the family, and have your own core conditioning class in the garden!

Hula hoops are a fantastic abdominal workout. Kids always want their parents to give it a try, so put the Sunday paper down for 10 minutes and go work those abs! If you don’t already have a full-size trampoline in the garden bouncing on a tram-pet can be a great leg work out, or you could combine the two and you’ll have a fun workout for the day!

Another retro-to-modern piece of kit is the Swiss ball and the 70s space hopper! Swiss ball exercises focus mainly on the core and stability-type exercises. The space hopper is great for bouncing around the garden, and it is still a hard workout and creates loads of laughs with the kids. If you get into the rhythm, you may also want to try the modern day pogo stick too. It’s now called a fly-bar and a lot harder than you might remember, so learn from the kids whilst re-learning to use this.

Help the children develop hand-eye coordination
A game of rounders in the park can help develop this more as it involves batting, bowling, and running. You can get larger groups of friends and family involved and make a day of it by bringing a picnic too! Another fun way to teach and improve these skills is a simple swing ball, they don’t take up too much space and can be played alone or in pairs. They are a great idea for smaller children. The ball is attached to a rope, so children’s attention is held for much longer periods and help to improve skills faster.

Giant size games for the garden are played a lot more now. Giant snakes and ladders, giant skittles and giant chess are popular choices and get the children outdoors again. Each cost about £20 and just seem to be a lot more fun than the smaller versions. Croquet is also great in the garden and can be easily taken on holiday as it packs small.

If you are having a beach holiday this year, classics like mini bowls and the simple frisbee can be great for stimulating play. It is sure to get mum and dad up joining in with the fun, all the better for family fitness.

So, get retro this summer and let your hair down- with all of these suggestions for playing about, you are sure to stay fit and healthy, even if you miss out on some of your gym workouts.

Let’s face it, family fun is fun for everyone!


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