Coronavirus lockdown: Karate and bingo keep families active

Media caption,
Family boot camps help keep spirits high

Karate classes, window bingo and garden boot camps have been keeping families active during coronavirus restrictions.

Being cooped up at home with young children has led to parents coming up with creative ways to have family fun.

Fitness classes and sports groups have moved online, helping children keep in touch with their friends.

And these efforts are reaping rewards, with parents saying the coronavirus restrictions have given them a chance to spend quality time together.

Full house

Vicki and Andy Wiggins from Llantwit Major, Vale of Glamorgan, have been playing "window bingo" with their neighbours.

"The idea came about last Saturday morning when my husband, who was working from home, suggested we do bingo out of the bedroom window," said Ms Wiggins.

"My eldest daughter Millie, downloaded the bingo cards and made the flyers. Millie and Maisy then put them through all the letterboxes on our street.

"Each time someone won a house, our youngest daughter, who wore gloves, put the prizes in a carrier bag and ran down the street, leaving them at the bottom of peoples' drives.

"It took us about an hour, and there was lots of laughing and singing during it.

"We had calls and messages from people all around the whole estate saying they could hear us and asked if they could join in next time. It really did make people smile, which was the original aim."

Virtual karate

Emma Harris, who runs Karate Kids Cardiff, has been hosting online classes for under-sevens across the city.

"The feedback has been really touching," she said.

"Families have said 'thank you for doing this for the children - it gives us a sense of normality'."

As well as her martial arts sessions, Ms Harris and her husband Martyn have hosted virtual weekly challenges for families.

Image source, PAula O'Sullivan
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Paula O'Sullivan's children, Ella and Ieuan, have been exercising in their garden

"We've had a raffle, games and a Wacky Week, where everyone had to wear their craziest clothes. It was absolutely fantastic, so much fun," said Ms Harris.

Paula O'Sullivan has been taking part in the events with her two children, Ella, 13, and 11-year-old Ieuan.

"It's been a godsend - we're doing the classes in our garden three times a week," she said.

"It's a great way to keep all the kids together and giving them a routine and structure to their day."

Image source, PAula O'Sullivan
Image caption,
The O'Sullivan family have thrown themselves into activities to keep their spirits up

Other families have been enjoying lockdown boot camps as a way to keep fit.

Mark Lloyd, who owns Brawd Men's Health and Ms Fit Women's Health in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, has moved his classes online.

And he has also been putting his own family through their paces.

"Our children are nine and four, and it's hard to keep them both entertained," said his partner Becky Gretton.

"We've been doing our own boot camp sessions in the house and in the garden.

"It's been really therapeutic, forcing us to be active and look after our mental health too."

Birthday celebrations

For children celebrating birthdays at home, lockdown has meant finding different ways to enjoy their special day.

Chris O'Brien's daughter Erin had an online picnic and fancy dress party to mark her third birthday from their home in Cardiff.

Image source, Chris O'Brien
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Three-year-old Erin dressed as Postman Pat for her birthday in lockdown

"She has been busy preparing for her birthday by chalking rainbows on the driveway in Cardiff," said Mr O'Brien.

The family has also been following exercise classes online.

"She enjoys the Joe Wicks ones for sure - she's hooked.

"Although she has recently taken to lying on the sofa half way through and instructing her Mum and Dad instead," he added.