I recently revisited one of my childhood loves – dance.
I took part in a ballet class for adults, held at the dance school my four-year-old daughter attends. It’s safe to say my strength, agility and coordination is nowhere near what it once was, but I had a great time and found myself smiling from ear to ear as I clumsily tried to remember the routine.
What really stuck in my mind was the look of delight and awe on my daughter’s face when she saw me drag a duffle bag out of storage and pull on a pair of old ballet shoes before the class. And when I whipped out some dusty tap shoes and clunked around, WELL – I’d never been ‘cooler’ in her eyes. We’ve been dancing together at home ever since, and it’s definitely been a fun way to bond.
It got me thinking about how us parents can draw on nostalgic childhood activities to further interact with our kids. There’s a whole bunch of activities parents can do with their children that everyone will enjoy.
Whipping around on a bike, with no real plans but to RIDE, has to be one of the purest forms of childhood fun. You can find bikes for almost every age and size (training wheels for the win!) and Far North Queensland offers heaps of stunning cycling tracks, suitable for every ability. Make sure everyone has a helmet and think about practising at home or at the playground before you’re ready to hit the street.
Taekwondo, judo, karate – there’s a range of martial arts options available and most places offer classes for all ages. Many places also host classes that allow parents and children to train together at the same time. These sports are particularly focused on coordination, discipline and self-control, and often teach skills that can transfer across many areas of life and learning.
Most parks and playgrounds are equipped with a basketball hoop these days – all you need is a ball and you’ve got yourself hours of fun (and a little healthy competition!). Do you remember spending hours trying to shoot a ball through a hoop as a kid? It’s a great way to teach kids persistence while having a great time.
There are a few iterations of the ‘grown up’ version of rollerblading or roller skating – roller in-line hockey and roller derby, which have attracted thousands of amateur leagues worldwide. You don’t necessarily have to join a team to get the most out of this nimble pastime. Track down a couple of pairs of skates (Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace can be a great spot for affordable secondhand options), some protective gear (especially a helmet!) and get rolling.
If there’s one thing synonymous with recreation and family fun in Queensland, it’s water sports. Fishing, swimming, paddle boarding, skiing – the list goes on. Check the weather forecast, pack a picnic and some insect repellant and find a nice spot to while away an afternoon. Basic fishing gear is fairly easy to come by, or just dip your ankles in to cool off. We have a huge range of beautiful (and safe) creeks, lakes, dams and water holes in Far North Queensland, but make sure you check with the relevant authorities before getting in anywhere you’re not sure about.
It seems near impossible to have a bad time on a trampoline. There are so many fun games you can play with your children on a trampoline – tag or Ring Around the Rosie, or just see who can jump the highest! Another, more relaxing idea is for everyone in the family to lie on the trampoline and look into the clouds or stars and point out all the different shapes in the sky. It is a great way to get out of your own head and unwind, while also enjoying some down time with your children. Hopefully these ideas will bring back some of your own fun, childhood memories and inspire you to take a break for some extra fun and fresh air with your family.
Caitlin Francis is a Digital Media Officer at Cairns Catholic Education