Keeping Fit With Charlie!

Global Epidemic of Childhood Inactivity Reported

If you have had an eye on the news recently you may have spotted this story on the BBC website. It reports that four in five 11- to 17-year-olds around the world are not taking enough physical exercise. The article goes on to explain that The World Health Organisation says children’s health is being damaged, as well as their brain development and social skills. Here at Happydesigner HQ we’re big fans of keeping fit, as well as moving around and playing games! But sometimes it’s seems easier to sit on the sofa and watch some TV, or head to the PS4 after a long day of school and homework. It’s very understandable, but it’s so important that kids get the chance to move around and stay healthy and active.

What Can I Do?

It can feel quite overwhelming sometimes, keeping up with teenagers and getting kids out of the house. Trying to dig a 17 year-old out of their bedroom to come and have a walk is more difficult than turning off Netflix when the next episode of The Crown is counting down and it’s 10.30pm (that little button saying “five seconds until next episode” is CRUEL!) but getting a toddler to join in on a dog walk isn’t quite such an ordeal. Thankfully, here at Happydesigner HQ we have a book for every occasion, and today’s book is all about a little guy called Charlie! Read on to see how he can help you to get more active with your family.

Keeping Fit: Just Like Charlie

children's book illustrator

Keeping Active, Just Like Charlie

Charlie is excited: it’s Sports Day at school! “Just Like Charlie” is a great book about keeping fit and active. Join Charlie as he learns how to walk like a bear, stand on one leg like a flamingo and waddle like a penguin! “Just Like Charlie” is a children’s book designed to get kids moving by giving them helpful tips about how to move, as well as encouraging them to try the exercises that Charlie is doing. Whilst the movements themselves aren’t too taxing, they will get kids up and exercising, and you can use them as a basis for fun games and ways to play. Can you walk like a bear, Just Like Charlie? Or stand on one leg, Just Like Charlie? Give it a go, get the kids involved and see if you can make your own Sports Day, Just Like Charlie!

children's illustration

How Active Do I Need to Be?

The NHS advises that children need to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. There are some ideas on the NHS website, such as cycling, swimming and dancing. Even just making sure you all go out for a dog walk or a walk into town can help eat up those 60 minutes. Perhaps this Christmas holiday you can take up a skill you’ve always wanted to try. Is there a local martial arts group you can get involved in, or perhaps a dance class nearby that will teach the type of dancing you or your kids are into? Perhaps you’re lucky enough to live near a beach, and you can use the free facilities that nature has provided. If you want to make it more fun for your kids you can find snorkelling gear (just the goggles can be enough!) cheaply enough from most supermarkets. If not, then most local sports centres have swimming pools that often give discounts (or even free sessions) to children. It’s always worth asking!

children's illustrator

There are some fab resources online that will help you to find ways of becoming more active. The BBC have a great team of Super Movers, and they will give you some great ideas about getting active. They can even help you to learn your times tables whilst moving about and having fun! There’s also a great quiz, which can help you to find activities for everyone.

Make Your Own Sports Day

You can follow Charlie’s example and make your own sports day! How about planning it the day before; get a lot of colourful paper, ribbons, glitter, paint, glue – anything that will require a lot of mess in the garden is great! Perhaps think about the kind of resources you’re using as well; is the paper recycled? Is the glitter edible? Are the buttons and sequins plastic, and would it be better to use natural alternatives like really dry leaves and flowers? Creative moments are a fab way of getting kids to think carefully about the choices they make.

Then get planning! Think old school, do you have any eggs around you can boil for an egg-‘n’-spoon race? If you boil them it won’t matter if they drop, and you can put them in a salad for lunch after! Remember to plan healthy snacks into your day, and plenty of cold, fresh water. Try to avoid sugary juices or cordials and definitely stay away from fizzy pop. Perhaps part of the planning fun can be making fruit smoothie lollies?

“Creative moments are a fab way of getting kids to think carefully about the choices they make.”

You definitely need some chalk, as that can be a great way to mark the start and finish of races. If your garden isn’t big enough for laps or running, take your race to the local park. It doesn’t mean you have to take everything with you, maybe plan certain races or games for the park, and some for the garden. If you don’t have a garden (or one you can share with a friend) how about using an old duvet cover to draw hopscotch markings on? You could tie it to the sofa and make a great limbo bar out of it too! Why not try a dance-off? Whoever is up for their turn needs to stand on the duvet and make up the best dance they can (you can use your phone or the radio for music) and the “judge” chooses the best moves or most interesting use of the music!

children's illustration

Make sure that part of the planning involves prizes too. Try to avoid sweets as rewards; after all, today is all about staying active and being healthy. Make some medals with pieces of ribbon, or let someone off one of their chores for that night. Perhaps you can look into making your own healthy treats; find your inspiration here.

Get Your Copy of Just Like Charlie

If you want any more helpful tips on staying active and getting kids up and moving, grab yourself a copy of Just Like Charlie. Written by Carl Ford and illustrated by Sarah (Happydesigner) this book is sure to be a hit with kids, and may even get them outside before you do! The book can be found for sale here.



children's illustrator

A few of my previous clients

happydesigner clients

  • “Books arrived safely today- I am absolutely delighted with how they look – I can’t thank you enough – you’ve made my dream come true :)” – Jane Collins

  • "WOW! Love it! I'm so happy with what you've produced- and with so little input from me. FANTASTIC!!! THANK YOU” - Darren Pascoe: 'Red Rabbit Book'

  • "Sarah loves her work, her friendly ‘can do’ approach is reassuring whether you’re on your first or tenth book."  – Darron Jon Love
  • “Sarah’s advice has been invaluable, she could have just illustrated my first attempt but knew there was more to be had from the story and pointed me towards the right help." – Darron Jon Love

  • Sarah is professional, friendly and very knowledgeable, she delivered 100% with a new logo that was spot on! We can't recommend her enough!” - Lucy @ Get Active

  • "Sarah is amazing - very fast at understanding the requirements, great pictures and never too much trouble. I recommend her wholeheartedly" - Fernando Caldeira-Saraiva
  • "I am absolutely thrilled with the colours and love the look and overall feel of the book, its so different and unique, thank you so much"
  • "She has a keen eye for the quirky detail, she is punctual and a joy to work with. I simply cannot praise her enough.” - Clickety Books

  • Sarah really understood the brief right from the beginning and has been able to translate my ideas and mental images, that at times were quite specific, into magical illustrations that are better than I’d ever hoped. She has absolutely nailed it!” – Gareth Edwards

  • “When we first contacted Sarah, Dainty Dizzy was a concept;  an idea to be shaped into a brand.  Sarah took this idea and illustrated it perfectly….and our brand look and feel was born.” – Dainty Dizzy

  • “I am so happy that I found Sarah to bring my book to life. Sarah took the time to listen and really made the effort to make sure that I was happy and her brilliant designs translated the words of my book into a beautiful visual story." - Jodie Jackson

  • “I was so nervous ringing you as i've never done anything like this before, but you were so friendly and put me completely at ease.” - Donna Purvis

  • “Sarah was lovely to work with and keen to make sure that the illustrations were a perfect match for the story. It’s obvious that she really cares about her work and wants you, the author, to be happy with the final results.” – Marion Adams

  • Sarah has a great insight into how to best produce a children’s book and is really helpful in getting you there! I really cannot recommend Sarah enough – brilliant designer, friendly and professional. The experience has been a great one!“ – Jodie Jackson
  • "These posters and flyers are perfect”
    - Julia G, Manager at the Truro branch of Pets at Home

  • “Sarah’s re-branding of my business has given it a much needed fresh and quirky feel. She provided us with an extremely friendly courteous and efficient service and injected an energy into the project, that only Sarah could.” – Discovery Leisure

  • "Outstanding illustrator with exceptional talent. You couldn’t wish for a better artist, as it would be impossible to find. Such a spectacular gifted designer who is always happy!" - Rachel Lake

  • "The logos are absolutely fantastic, they are spot on brief and are even better than we imagined!Paolo Pini, Step Up To Languages

  • "I hope my recommendation will persuade you to use Sarah! I cannot fault her, for her professionalism, enthusiasm and talent." - Michelle Hawkins, Director: The Flying DoDo

  • Sarah is an extremely talented designer and illustrator. She has that rare gift of being able to find something in your business or character that you never knew existed" Craig Green

  • "I can’t speak highly enough of Sarah! She has brought Roopert Snoopert to life in a way I could never have imagined.
    The illustrations are fantastic! Sarah keeps you update with progress from the draft stage right through to sign off." - Paul Micklewright
  • "Sarah understood what I was looking for and produced a fantastic logo for me.  She is very approachable and friendly – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her” Katie Jarvis, Fancy Prints

  • "Thank you both so much for your hard work and dedication. Sarah is a fantastic illustrator! It is nice to know I have worked with someone who is so professional at her job, and will certainly remember her for the future if I need another book illustrating."
  • “Thank you, Sarah, for the amazing work you did on the illustrations for my book. Working with you has been so easy thanks to your enthusiasm, flexibility, support, professionalism and, of course, the amazing quality of your work." – Stuart Neath

  • "It's been great working with Sarah as our illustrator! She's been so great in taking all feedback on board and delivers work of the highest standard. Would 100% recommend :-)" - Michelle Gibbs, Doodle Dozen Series
  • "Sarah quickly understood what I wanted to achieve and the look I was after. Sarah kept me informed and brought me into the whole process” – Darron Jon Love