As the end of the year approaches, everybody is preparing for the holiday season. Christmas and New Year’s shine particularly bright this year. While some of the normal festivities may not go like they have in the past, that doesn’t mean that families can’t embrace the spirit of the season and spend time together in fun, healthy, active ways. Being active is especially important around the holidays, when people tend to eat more, and go outside less. Whether it’s too cold, or you’re south of the equator and the heat is getting intense, many have a hard time getting recreational activity. With many playgrounds, schools, and other places closed, it is more important than ever to make sure that family time includes physical activity.
Here’s 3 ideas to fill your holiday season with more family fun:
- Family walks before or after dinner weather permitting: For those who can go outside on a walk together as a family, take time in the evening before it gets dark to go around the neighborhood or around your block as a family. Studies from universities like Southern California University show the more someone walks, the better nutritional decisions they make over time, have higher self-esteem, and there is a trend towards a better mood. Getting out collectively and making sure every day has this gentle, but effective, exercise boosts the overall well-being of the whole family unit.
- Clean up games: This one is a favorite here at Stretch-n-Grow. We’ve recommended it before for rainy days too. Here, we suggest taking it up a notch. This time, the grown-ups have to participate! Make a sport out of it, with score cards. Who can fold the most shirts? Bonus points if you find a missing sock! Make sure each room has a chore for each member of the family to complete, and see how far everyone gets.
- Dance Party: Get groovy with everyone’s favorite tunes! Whether that’s a mix of oldies with the Wiggles, or some compromise, find a way to shake it out. Have older children and want a challenge? Try to learn a dance as a family. Some classic line dances include the Electric Slide, the Cha Cha Slide, Footloose, and the Cupid Shuffle. If you want a real challenge, try a ballroom dance like the salsa. See what your family can do! The best part about this activity? Many Christmas songs are a ton of fun to dance to (Jingle Bell Rock anyone?), and if the weather is nice, you can take it outside.
So get moving and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
By: Bethany Verrett