Getting into a regular pattern of physical activity in adult years can be a struggle when taking care of the larger responsibilities of families, work, homes and holidays. At younger ages children are more willing and less self-conscious about learning. Physical activity is less of a chore, and more of a social and fun way to learn new skills.


Being active is all about having fun according to Paul and Lisa Evans from Cockett and their two children, Rhian, 5 and four-year-old Bethan.

The Evans family will be heading to their local leisure centre this summer – Penlan Community Leisure Centre – and taking advantage of the Welsh Assembly Government’s Free Swimming Initiative available to all 16's and under during the school holidays.

Dad Paul said: "Playing games in the water gives our daughters the fun element that they crave, whilst also providing us as a family the opportunity to spend quality time together.

"Using simple games that people often play in the home, but perhaps don’t necessarily think to use in the water, can turn a trip to the swimming pool into a real fun activity that will see the whole family wanting to return for more!"

Mum Lisa said: "Having fun in the pool as a family is really important to us as it gives us that time, without the distraction of the phone or everyday household chores to give the children our undivided attention, while also giving us plenty to laugh about."

"Entertaining the kids can be an expensive business but it doesn’t have to be. Swimming is just one of the things you can do for relatively little money as a family but also one of the most enjoyable," said Lisa.

The Free Swimming initiative coincides with the summer school holiday break starting on Saturday 21 July and finish on Tuesday 4 September.

Rhodri Glyn Thomas, the Welsh Assembly Government Minister responsible for sport said:

"Swimming is a great way to have fun, socialise and be active. And because it's free for children during the summer, it’s good for parents, and means that children and young people can swim regularly throughout the summer. Since its inception the Welsh Assembly Government’s Free Swimming Initiative has been extremely popular and I look forward in the future to removing more barriers to creating a fitter and healthier Wales".


Swimming is just one of many physical activity opportunities where parents can a take part with their children.

The Sports Council for Wales has highlighted just how much parent power can influence a child’s future health.

Being a role model and creating opportunities

Parents are the most influential role models most children are likely to have. Children follow by example, so it is important that parents are seen to be physically active. The best way to encourage your child to be active is to lead an active lifestyle yourself.

Parents have a responsibility to create opportunities for children to be active by playing with them. Make physical activity part of your family’s daily routine by designating time for family walks or playing active games together. Give them toys and equipment, and take them to places that they can be active.

  • TOP TIP: Studies have found that parents and children who walk to school are more active after school and throughout the evening. Encourage your children to walk or cycle to school as much as possible.