The recent international football matches have got me feeling very excited about the upcoming UEFA EURO 2016 tournament. With Northern Ireland beating Slovenia 1-0, and England emerging victorious with a 3-2 win over Germany, we’ve had a little nod towards the excitement that the summer tournament will bring.
We’ve been enjoying some glorious spring weather over the last few weeks, the kind of weather that pulls you outside like a magnet. Feeling inspired by the recent friendlies, along with the beautiful sunshine, I’ve been keen to get outside and enjoy having some family football fun with the kids. The clocks went forward last week, bringing with it lighter evenings and the promise that summer is on the way. Now is the perfect time to get out with the family, to make the most of that extra hour of sunlight.
Both of my children enjoy playing football. Caitlin, who’s been to the after school football club a few times, has even developed some pretty good dribbling skills, and can get the ball from one side of the field to the other with impressive skill. When the weather is nice, we love taking a ball and heading out to a local green to play. And there are some great reasons why you should too.
Children should be getting 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Football is a great form of physical activity. Not only does it help keep the heart healthy, but it’s great for strengthening muscles too, which is important for children. Obviously, the benefits aren’t just felt by children, having a kick about with the family will be greatly beneficial to you too. It’s a fun way to get your daily exercise, without even feeling like you’re working out. Working off a bit of energy together in the evenings is also a great way to ensure good night of sleep too, which is good for the whole family!
Playing sports together as a family is a great way to give children a positive attitude towards health and exercise, setting up great habits for later in life. It’s one thing to send off your children to a football club, but really getting involved is another thing completely, and children will love spending the time with you.
With the serious bit over, it’s also a lot of fun too. We headed out last week with a football, and I haven’t laughed so much in a long time. We don’t live near a football field, but we do have a big green area close by, so we went to it. Without any fancy equipment (simply using our bags positioned as goal posts) we were able to have a good 30 minutes of entertainment.
My children are definitely not the next Messi, and my skills aren’t great either, but it didn’t matter. We chased each other up the green, trying to get the ball from one another, we laughed, we fell over and we didn’t score many goals. And it was fun. I loved seeing the look in the children’s eyes when they managed to get the ball through our makeshift goalposts. Pure delight is the only way I can describe it. And the funny thing is, even if the goals posts are made from jumpers, or bags, or stones you’ve found in the grass, it’s still exciting, and you still feel pride when they score a goal. Especially when you see how happy it’s made them!
I would definitely recommend you trying it, the next time you have a spare 30 minutes. If you head out to play in the next few days, it’s a great opportunity for you to get a photo of your children enjoying the game, which you can use to enter the McDonald’s UEFA EURO 2016™ competition. Your child has the chance to be a player escort at a Northern Ireland, England or Wales match during UEFA EURO 2016™ tournament in June, and all you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is capture a photo of your child enjoying football!
If you feel pride when you child scores a goal between two jumpers, imagine how proud you will feel when they walk on to the pitch in France, hand in hand with local football heroes!
To win, your child must be between the age of 6-10 and resident in the UK. For full information, and terms and conditions see http://www.mcdonalds.co.uk/ukhome/Sport/Football/LetsPlay/EURO-2016.html – But hurry, you’ve only got until the 10th April to enter, so be sure to get your entries in quickly!
So get on out there and enjoy a bit of footy fun with your family, and who knows, you could be off to France this summer! Good luck!