Alleviating school-holiday boredom can be tricky and expensive, especially if it doesn’t involve a TV or a computer. Fortunately, ParkLives has lots of fun outdoor activities happening in parks all across the UK, and best of all, they’re completely free!
Here are 10 fun ways ParkLives from Coca-Cola GB is helping families to keep busy this summer.
1. Family Fun Days
ParkLives runs mini-festival days across the country – these are great opportunities to get the kids off the sofa and out in the fresh air to play some games and have fun.
“We try to offer a wide range of activities so the whole family can join in together or do things separately if they want to”
- Claire Gregory, ParkLives Session Leader
“We try to offer a wide range of activities so the whole family can join in together or do things separately if they want to” - Claire Gregory, ParkLives Session Leader
Roof East near Stratford in London, an urban rooftop park, was the venue for one of this year’s ParkLives mini-festivals – and a perfect example of what’s on offer.
Families here enjoyed outwitting each other on the giant chess board, brushed up on their skateboard and biking skills, as well as getting competitive with super dominoes and rooftop tennis.
“We try to offer a wide range of activities so the whole family can join in together or do things separately if they want to,” says Claire Gregory who runs one such festival in Manchester. “So far this week we have had around 500 participants. The feedback from families has been excellent.”
2. KTroo Bounce
If you’re near the London Borough of Newham, jump in on the action and try the amazing KTroo Bounce which is suitable for all ages and levels of fitness.
Wearing springy ‘kangaroo’ boots you jump, hop and dance along to musical routines. Once you’ve managed to get your balance, it’s a bouncy, fun way to let loose and have a giggle.
3. Open water swimming
The hot weather (when we get it) can be sweltering and you might want nothing more than a cool dip… if you’re in or around Nottingham you’re in luck! Practice your breaststroke in one of the refreshing open water sessions in Colwick Country Park – they’ll even provide the wetsuits, so you don’t have any excuses.
Even if you’re not a strong swimmer, the session leaders are on hand to make sure the whole family is safe, sound and having fun.
Alex Brown, who runs the ParkLives programme in Nottingham, says: “We’ve done well in attracting swimmers of all abilities to have a go, even with the slightly tricky aspect of putting on a wetsuit for the first time!”
4. Family tennis
Enjoyed watching Wimbledon and fancy picking up a racquet but don’t know where or how to start? There could be a ParkLives family tennis session near you. You’ll learn new skills as you play together and complete beginners are welcome.
Our friendly session leaders will show you the fundamentals of a proper serve, the importance of good footwork and the components of a perfect volley. You’ll be an ace before you know it!
5. Space hopper jousting
There’s a petition to bring back international jousting, so why not get some practice in and hop along to one of the space hopper jousting sessions?
Run as part of ParkLives with StreetGames initiative, this is a hilarious take on the classic tournaments of medieval knights, as families mount their hoppers in an attempt to defeat their opponent with a foam lance…
Even if you manage to hang tight and avoid a jousting, we bet you still fall off your hoppers laughing.
6. Teddy bears’ picnic
Pack a lunch, take a blanket, and make sure the little ones don’t forget their favourite cuddly toys, as the Teddy Bears’ picnics in Manchester are the place to be on sunny days.
There are lots of giant garden games, like Connect 4 or Jenga, and the rangers take younger family members and their teddies on other park adventures too, including crafts, walks and storytelling.
7. Buggy walking group
New mums are getting involved in the fun with buggy-friendly ParkLives sessions.
If you enjoy a leisurely stroll and a natter, then the Active Push buggy walking session might be for you: “Active Push is a perfect way to meet other mums,” says one attendee in Newcastle. “The sessions are fun and you are really encouraged to get a good workout. Working out in the park also means you get plenty of fresh air which is great for both mums and babies.”
Looking to step it up a gear? Maybe you’ve got what it takes to try Buggy Boot Camp – a fun way to push you (and the little one) that bit further. Emma Walker runs sessions at Platt Fields Park in Manchester. She says: “We’ve been seeing the progress in fitness of my mummy clients at Buggy Boot Camp and we've been watching the baby goslings on our pond grow up each week too!”
8. Family roller skating
Do you and the family enjoy life in the fast lane? Why not get your skates on at one of the ParkLives roller-skating sessions in Newham?
If you’re feeling less than brave, hold hands as you take to skates as a team. It’s great for balance and confidence and one for all ages to have a go at.
9. Circus skills
Be bold and channel your inner acrobat as you learn the skill of wire walking or aerial performance. If you’re not feeling quite that daring, you can still enjoy learning to juggle, hula hoop or even spin plates.
Birmingham’s circus skills sessions are split into mini-workshops where you try a range of circus tricks and pick up performance tips - then decide which ones are your favourites.
Who knows, you might find you’ve got a natural performer in the family…
10. Karate and self defence
Just because school’s out, doesn’t mean learning has to stop. You can pick up some new and useful skills with an introduction to martial arts – and have a lot of fun while doing it.
“Our aim is to introduce martial arts to as many people as possible and for them to see how much fun it is, as well as great fitness for the mind and body”
- Chris Blenman, Senior Instructor at Elitez Karate Academy
“Our aim is to introduce martial arts to as many people as possible and for them to see how much fun it is, as well as great fitness for the mind and body” - Chris Blenman, Senior Instructor at Elitez Karate Academy
Chris Blenman, Senior Instructor at Elitez Karate Academy, takes sessions in East London. He says: “Our aim with ParkLives is to introduce martial arts to as many people and age groups as possible. And for them to see how much fun it is, as well as great fitness for the mind and body.”
- ParkLives: how we’re providing fun, free activities in local parks
- 6 ways ParkLives can help improve your wellbeing this summer
- More parks, more laughs: ParkLives expands nationwide
- Sue’s story: a Grandmother’s compelling reason to keep on running with Coca-Cola’s ParkLives scheme
- Richard’s Story: How Coca-Cola’s ParkLives Scheme Brought Him Closer To His Family