What better way to get your kids active and away from their screen than a fun football session? With a few bank holiday weekends coming up, the extra day for us can mean extra boredom for the kids.
For parents, it’s always a challenge to find purse-friendly activities to stop youngsters mooching around the house or vegetating on the sofa in front of a games console.
McDonald’s has supported grassroots football for 17 years in partnership with The Football Associations of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland and they have set themselves a pretty exciting challenge.
McDonald’s recently launched their Fun Football Centres, part of their Fun Football programme that aims to provide 5 million hours of fun football for children aged 5-11 across the UK by 2022.
This means that McDonald’s will give over 500,000 children the chance to try football for the first time through their ‘turn up and play’ coaching sessions.
This is a brilliant way to encourage an active lifestyle and, hopefully, a lifelong love of the nation’s favourite game.
Emulating their sporting heroes like Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey or Harry Kane is, to my mind, a better way of spending their time than learning to floss.
Ieuan and I recently attended one of McDonald’s fun football sessions at our local centre, Gol in Cardiff. The sessions are, it goes without saying, open to girls and boys.
Ieuan plays for his local team the Penarth Town Under 11s so was keen to make the most of some extra coaching to take on his rivals with more aplomb and more goals! The sessions are designed for the kids playing to have fun, no matter their previous football experience. It’s a great way to introduce them to football for the first time as they go through a lot of basic skills and drills but even with Ieuan’s previous experience, he still loved it.
We simply visited mcdonalds.co.uk/funfootball, searched for our local centre and then contacted the provider direct to book our session.
There were plenty of venues close to us, but you do have to check which day of the week the sessions are held and which age range they are for.
It was quick and easy and, best of all, cheap (sessions are either free or a few pounds).
In fact, this spring there are more than 600 football sessions available, so you are guaranteed to find one near you to get your kids out from under your feet, and with football boots on theirs!
Gol is a well set out football centre with several separate enclosed pitches and plenty of facilities for football mums and dads in need of a caffeine fix and a quiet Kindle session now they have 5 minutes peace and quiet.
Mike, who coached Ieuan’s session, put the boys through their paces making sure they could kick straight and run quickly with the ball, as well as how to tackle.
Ieuan was a little shy before going in, but a fun football session is an excellent way for children from different communities to get to know one another and participate – an aspect of the McDonald’s programme that is particularly important.
After an hour kicking a football around, the boys were tired but happy and had spent an hour in the fresh air.
I would heartily recommend a fun football session for girls and boys so, as a reminder, here’s what to do to make sure you don’t miss out.
Visit mcdonalds.co.uk/funfootball to register online
Click on a country logo to be taken to the FAW website for your area.
Find your McDonald’s Fun Football session provider from the map displayed.
Choose your preferred centre and contact them directly to book your free session.
Turn up and enjoy! Ieuan had a blast.
Who knows, you could have a top striker or goalie on your hands.