Activities Kids Physical

8 Low Cost Summer Sports for Single Parent Families

The year-long quarantine and COVID restrictions have impacted our health. The lack of access to facilities, gyms and school sports activities means less opportunity for movement and staying fit. Many were glued to their computer screens, TVs and video games as they stayed safe indoors.

Based on a recent Participation survey conducted in April 2020, 62% of kids and teens were being less physically active outdoors and 79% were spending more leisure time on screens.

Now that summer is here and many outdoor facilities have reopened, it’s time to get back into shape and get active with your kids. Having fun this summer, doesn’t have to cost your single parent family a lot of money.

You can play with borrowed sporting goods equipment from friends or relatives or you can create your own outdoor games using materials around the house. There are lots of ideas that require no equipment at all. Here are some fun pastime activities to consider doing with your kids.

1.    Play Tag

Before there were sports, there was tag. A simple game of chasing each other, tapping your friend and saying “you’re it!”. To keep the game safe, create boundaries around an area that has little terrain and away from busy streets with traffic. All you need is a pair of runners or shoes, which assuming your kids have.

Create rules that everyone can agree to and you can even divide into teams if there are a number of players.

Based on a recent Participation survey conducted in April 2020, 62% of kids and teens were being less physically active outdoors and 79% were spending more leisure time on screens.

2.    Go Swimming

Take a dip in the local beach or go swimming at the local pool. Most community swimming pools are free or might have very low cost admission. Plan to spend a good part of the day to really enjoy this activity. If your kids are not strong swimmers, stay within their sightline and go to a pool when there is a lifeguard on duty. Ensure they are in the area of the pool that matches their skill level (so perhaps the wading or shallow section for non-swimmers).

Remember to bring a towel, change of clothes, shampoo and soap (if showering) and most importantly, a flip flop to prevent catching any warts or athlete’s foot.

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3.    Bean Bag Toss

Another really fun activity to play outdoors and challenges your accuracy and aim is the bean bag toss. It’s best played with two people so each person can have more shots. With a bean bag (each side has a different colours), each side tosses it to a board with a hole that you try to aim at. The objective is to get the bean bag through the hole. There are variations of the bean bag toss boards. You can also just choose to aim at a target you establish on the ground.

4.    Backyard DIY Bocce

All it takes is 8 similar sized balls and one small ball (you can use a golf or tennis ball) to play your own version of Bocce. Like bowling, you roll the ball on the ground underhanded. Create boundaries for your game like a bowling alley. This activity works best in a flat grassy surface.

The object of the game is to hit the small ball (pallina). Each player rolls the larger balls to attempt to hit the pallina. Whoever rolls closes to the pallina continues to roll all their balls. Create your own rules and have fun.

5.    Lawn Darts

If you have access to lawn darts, this is also a fun game that tests your accuracy and motor skills. This is best played with older kids as the darts are sharp. Find a well-kept grassy area where you can set a bullseye target to hit.

You can create your own rules. If you have hoops of different sizes, you can use these as your target area and designate points for each area you hit. Add up the points for each dart you throw and the person with the most points wins.

6.    Catch

Whether its playing catch with your hands using a football or soft ball from a dollar store, or with a catcher’s mitt using a baseball, playing catch is cheap fun. It can be played anywhere – a beach, in your backyard, at a park, in a playground.

Find a ball of an appropriate size that your child can actually catch in their hands. A large football for a 4 year old might be a bit too heavy and would hurt if it hit his head.

7.    Tennis

If you can get access to a racket and some tennis balls, head to a local community tennis court to play. Best played in 2’s or 4’s, tennis definitely gets your heart rate up. If hitting the ball over the net is too hard for your little one, try hitting the ball against a wall instead.

Tennis promotes heart health with the amount of running you will have to do to keep the ball out of your court. Many courts are free and accessible but a few may need to be booked. The typical protocol is to play for a maximum of 30 minutes per team.

8.    Miniature Golf

If you have a little bit of money, try taking the family to a local mini golf location. Many miniature golf or putt-putt locations are not allowing visitors indoors just yet, but playing outside is open for business. Most mini golf locations at adventure parks or golf courses will cost less than $10 per person and will take about 2 hours to complete. That’s about $5 per hour of outdoor fun and games.

Keep in mind that you will be fully exposed to the sun so bring a hat or an umbrella to stay cool and some water to stay hydrated.

Things to Consider

Being outdoors is a healthy way to get Vitamin D and to stay active. But, keep in mind that the sun is a powerful force of nature and can cause damage to your skin, especially to the little ones.

Bring a high SPF level sunscreen, take breaks by cooling off in the shade and wear a hat and / or sunglasses to protect your eyes and skin. Stay hydrated by always having water on hand and if you are playing water sports, don’t forget to bring a towel and flip flops.

Chanelle Dupre

Chanelle Dupre has been a single parent for 25 years and raised 2 sons now in their late 20s. Though it was a financial struggle with many personal challenges, she managed to successfully maintain her sanity.

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