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Be Inspired By The London Marathon

At Wicken Toys we love nothing more than encouraging children to get out and get active.

This weekend the sun will be shining on enthusiastic amateurs and professional athletes alike as they take to the 26 mile course around London.

Whilst dragging your children through an endurance race won't make for a fun family weekend, there's lots you can take from the Marathon and use as inspiration for your own activities.

Here are some ideas to kick-start your Marathon fun and learning session.

1. Beat Your Personal Best For many athletes, continuously improving on their personal best time helps keep them motivated and focused. Do you have a route or journey that you complete regularly. A walk to the shops, cycling to school, anything where the route stays the same each time can be used to measure your child's (or family's) personal best time. Create a chart to record timings on and track progress. After you have collected a dozen of more entries you can write up the results and present them in a line graph to show progress.

2. Fundraising Talk about why many people take part in the Marathon and how they are raising money for charity. This is a good opportunity to talk about any charities that are important to your family and what those charities do. You could even plan an event to raise funds. It doesn't need to be a running event, you could bake cakes, do a sponsored silence, or even complete small odd jobs to raise money.

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3. Endurance Endurance is a concept many children will not have come across yet, but now is as good a time as any to teach them. Talk about how athletes, with practice and repetition, can build up how far they can run. Ask your children what they would like to be able to do for longer. Maybe they would like to be able to complete more rungs of the monkey bars, or hang on one bar for longer. Perhaps they would like to have the stamina to walk further, or swim more lengths of the pool. As with the personal best activity, you can write a goal, and keep a record of progress on a chart. This is teaches a valuable lesson that improvements might not come straight away, but with perseverance you can see progress emerge over time.

4. Team Work This is more appropraite for older children. Notice how the elite athletes run with a pacer. Or how many of the amateur runners run in teams. Talk about the reasons why this might be, then ask you child to apply it to their own life. Is there anything where a little team work or support from another party would help them to do better?

5. Go For A Jog Map out a route around your neighbourhood, then take a jog around and time yourself. If you want to keep your child close to you rather than letting them run off at their own pace, take turns being the runner and the coach. One person jogs the route, while the other cycles alongside providing moral support and keeping track of the time. Then swap over roles and complete the course again to see who has the fastest time.

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