2020 in review: The best reads of the year from Active for Life

It’s safe to say that 2020 is a year we will happily leave behind. While living through a global pandemic is top of mind when thinking back on the year that was, many of you chose to focus on the bright spots and joyful times that kept us going through difficult times.

The world has changed in ways that would have been unthinkable before the world pressed “pause” in March—yet these changes aren’t all bad.

Our social circles may be smaller, but this has clarified which of our friends and family members matter most in our lives. Restrictions on certain activities have pushed us towards other pursuits, reviving interest in long-lost hobbies or nudging us to try something new. Many of us turned inward, trying meditation or yoga, or finding other ways to relieve stress through self-care.

You can see these trends illuminated in the themes of the stories that our writers and team members picked when asked to share their favourite Active for Life articles of the year.

What stood out were the simple nudges to adopt habits of self-care, and reminders that becoming a more active family doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. We all have the power to start right now, at home, no matter how sporty or un-sporty we feel we are.

Here are 11 memorable articles that inspired the Active for Life team in 2020. If you have a favourite article or an inspirational read about getting active as a family that you’d like to share, please post the link in the comments. We’d love to read your picks!

It’s never too late to become active for life by Tanya Koob

I liked that Tanya encouraged parents to be active role models and to find ways to be active with whatever their limitations might be. I thought it was a great message to parents to not feel that they’re too old or “worn-out” (i.e. having a bad back, knee, etc.) to find ways to start, or continue, to pursue an active lifestyle with their kids. – Susan Scandiffio

I really liked this article. I found her take on being active for herself and her kids is an important aspect of parenting. I would have never thought of getting my child to teach me an activity they take lessons for. What a great way to bond and stay active together! – Cheryl Wozny

I remember the day I stopped trying to convince my son I was invincible—it was while climbing Mont-Tremblant when he was 14, and I said I had to turn back after getting about 3/4 of the way to the top. We didn’t stop being active together though, which is the whole point of the article. Tanya’s advice will go a long way toward helping other older parents work within their limitations and still meet their children’s need to connect through physical activity. – Gerald Matthews

5 ways to get your kids off screens and active by Dorathay Gass

This article offers a great perspective on a serious issue for parents. Dorathay’s article combines a logical, non-judgmental sharing of facts with sensible and realistic solutions. – Active for Life Editor-in-Chief Richard Monette

A printable outline to help kids plan their own day by Briana Tomkinson

I found this to be a great planning tool for kids when a rigid schedule is not in play. Planning with the categories of “What will I do for my body, my brain, my family, my home, and for fun?” is helpful to bring some well-thought-out structure to a day. – Susan Scandiffio

This is such a great resource for helping kids practice their executive functioning skills and take accountability for their day’s schedule. It’s also a great way for kids who are participating in in-person instruction to organize their responsibilities in a visual way. – Marta Orellana, French content coordinator

6 active games kids can play with a pair of socks by Jim Grove

This was a fun and practical article. It reinforces that moving can (and must be) simple. I also loved it because my brother and I played with rolled-up socks for hours when we were young. – Richard Monette

20+ nature activities to do with kids by Christine Latreille

This article offers some really original and interesting ideas for outdoor play, which is something that is so important right now. We’re looking for ways to keep our kids active and learning and the outdoors is the top choice for parents and educators. – Marta Orellana

9 simple ways to help your child build resilience by Alexandra Eidens

One of my favourite articles (and I had many contenders).  Resilience is such an important skill but often seems overlooked in our competitive, overscheduled world. The tips are very realistic—since reading the article I’ve employed many of them with my own child. – Emily Gold

My kids’ favourite toy? An old plastic barrel. Seriously by Christine Latreille

It’s encouraging to realize that you don’t have to have expensive backyard equipment or the latest outdoor toy to inspire your kids to be active. Christine is open and honest about how bizarre the kids’ choice seemed to her, but how she was impressed with their endless creativity in finding stunts and games to play with the barrel. – Kristi York

The simplest way to get active as a family? Add a daily walk to your routine by Rebecca Stanisic

The best ideas are often the simplest ones, and Rebecca built a great case for the daily family walk. There were many parallels to my own home life (since I frequently try to inspire my family to walk together) so to read that someone else had been successful with their attempts was gratifying. – Kristi York

9 DIY recess ideas for distance-learning families by Kristi York

I really enjoyed this article because our family has had to think about creative ways to enjoy what little recess time the kids have while learning at home. The article was a good reminder that we aren’t alone during all of this, even when it seems it. The suggestions were fun and helpful. – Rebecca Stanisic

The pandemic made me realize how much I love being a hockey parent by Christine Latreille

This article was honest and authentic, with lots of “soul.” I know that many parents related to this story because they miss the friends they met through their kid’s activities. – Richard Monette

What to do when your child’s just not into sports by Cheryl Wozny

This was a different take that cuts against the “sporty family” stereotype. It’s a great thing every time a parent helps a child find their own unique way to grow their love of being active. – Richard Monette

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