The school holidays were always an exciting time in the Brownlee household. This was the opportunity for my brother, Alistair, and me to escape from the classroom and enjoy the great outdoors. Our childhood was jam-packed with fun family games and activities. We didn't need any fancy equipment, just a healthy amount of competition and a bit of imagination, to turn sofa cushions into the high jump or a frisbee into a discus event.
When we weren't out playing sport, we were watching it. I remember watching the 2000 Sydney Olympics, with my nose right up to the screen, knowing there and then that I wanted a sporting career. And as soon as I saw Alistair walk into our living room with his GB kit on – it sealed the deal – I would follow him into a career in sport.
Now we're looking forward to this summer's Commonwealth Games – and it's high profile events like this that inspire kids and their parents to get active, so it's really important to capitalise on the excitement generated. With this in mind, Alistair and I have teamed up with Warburtons to create the Half & Half-Term Games – a week's worth of fun and easy family games, inspired by the Commonwealth Games.
The activities include a number of affordable and easy things to do at home from backward sprinting and human hurdles to fun relays and short jumping, we've even added in a little triathlon, as this is a firm Brownlee favourite. Let the games begin!
1. The backward sprint
Mark out a start and finish line and race backwards. No turning round!
2. Human hurdles
Make a line of people and then leapfrog over all of them. The fastest hurdler wins. Jump to it!
3. Disco-tastic gymnastics
Someone plays a funky tune. Then everyone else dances like crazy. Suddenly, the DJ hits stop. When they do, everyone should freeze in a gymnastic-style post. If someone's still moving, they are eliminated. Carry on until you have a winner.
4. Topple tug of war
Find two sofa cushions. A competitor stands on each, holding a rope between them (try using a rolled-up towel). Then it's ready, steady … pull! The person to stay on their podium wins
5. The short jump
The Long Jump's little brother. Get set. Run as fast as you can to a start line. Then jump forwards … the shortest distance possible
6. Little triathlon
It's the big one and the Brownlee's favourite event! Run one lap backwards doing the backstroke, then bike five laps of the garden and then run four laps of the garden. It's one continuous event, so keep going. Good luck!
7. The hose jump
This is for warm days and brave kids! Get your garden hose out and turn it on to full blast. Next, put your thumb over the top of the hose to create a jet stream and each time the group runs and jumps over the water you higher it. Those who miss are obvious to spot … they have wet legs!
8. Mini commonwealth steeple chase
Get the whole family involved in creating a mini steeplechase in your garden or local park. Encourage the kids to build their own assault course using anything they can get their hands on! Hurdles made from cardboard boxes, walk a tightrope using the garden hose or skipping rope, toss a water balloon at a target, zigzag through a slalom course of sofa cushions, the laundry basket and make things competitive with the addition of a stopwatch!
9. Cycle-tastic fun
Why not make exercise fun for the whole family and friends, by having your own cycling race! Simply, line up at a chosen start line and race against one another to the finish line!
10. Mini kids' relay
Now is the time to get the kids working as a team! Organise yourselves into teams (minimum of two per team), pick a starting line and a target point. Using a stopwatch, the kids begin the race at the starting line, run to the target and then run back to their teammate waiting at the starting line to take their turn. Add fun to this event with homemade medals to wear at the finish line! With this event, everyone is a winner!
• For more game inspiration, visit www.facebook.com/warburtons