Eight Easy Ways to Keep Your Kids Active This Summer


Kids start anticipating summer break from the first day of school. Now summer break is here! The time has come to enjoy all that summer offers with its change of pace from the routine of school.

Unfortunately, the lack of routine that school brings can turn your kids into couch potatoes. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, only one in three kids is physically active every day.

Get your kids to join the minority. The payoff is worth it.

The physical benefits of keeping kids active are many. The CDC lists decreased risk of the following ailments:

     Heart disease
     Cancer
     Type 2 diabetes
     High blood pressure
     Osteoporosis
     Obesity

The advantages of exercising cover more than just the physical wellbeing of your child. Exercise has also been proven to help their brains. Regular activity can help children become more focused, more confident, and less anxious. Exercise also helps kids perform better in school.

I have four kids from a baby to an eight-year-old. I want my kids to be physically active, but I have absolutely no desire to spend an enormous amount of time building and setting up activities.

I’ll give you ideas of things that I’ve done and things that I would do with my kids. I promise you, these tips will be easy to incorporate into your life.

#1 Swimming Lessons
Summer and swimming go together like peanut butter and jelly. There is a pool somewhere near you, and they offer swimming lessons. Check right now. Don’t wait because the classes may get filled up.

Do a google search for swimming lessons near you. Sign your kids up. Practice what they learn by regular family outings to pools or lakes in your area.

#2 Hiking
Hiking is an activity that your whole family can enjoy together. If your kids are little, plan for the hike to take longer, but don’t underestimate their ability to cover the miles.

Every kid is different, but here’s what I expect out of my fairly average children. I carried them in a carrier through age three. At age four, they could easily hike two miles in the mountains. By age five, they could hike a strenuous five miles up and down a mountain gaining and losing 2,000 feet of elevation. And from there, they could do anything.

The hikes take a lot longer, but kids can keep plugging away all day. When my husband and I do a moderate to strenuous mountain hike, I plan for two miles an hour. When the kids are with us, I plan for one mile an hour. On flat paved paths, I estimate about double that distance per hour.

Don’t forget to bring snacks and plenty of water. It’s amazing how a break to eat and drink can give everyone the stamina to continue.

Hiking is my favorite activity with my kids because of the opportunity to grow closer through conquering the obstacles and spending time together.

#3 Junior Ranger or Naturalist Program
This activity lends itself perfectly to family vacations. If you’re planning on visiting a National Park, ask about their Junior Ranger program. The program encourages kids to explore outside. Upon completion, your child will earn a Junior Ranger patch or badge.

Many state and city parks offer junior naturalist or similar programs that encourage kids to discover the outdoors. You may even have a program to get involved in near where you live.

My siblings and I spent a couple of summers finishing as many of these programs as my mom could squeeze in for us. We enjoyed the process and were very proud when we earned our patches.

#4 Sports Camps
Where we live, most of the team sports are offered during the school year and not during the summer, but what you can usually find happening are sports camps.

If your kid is interested in a sport, you can probably find a day camp focusing on it.

#5 Play in the Yard
This idea is pretty obvious, but the possibilities are endless.

     Get a sprinkler. The kids will have fun running around and through it on hot days.
     Play catch.
     Play frisbee.
     Play pickle - “on a slip and slide,” my husband pipes in from the other room. Apparently, that was his favorite thing to play in the yard growing up. Seriously. If you’re going to give that a try, I recommend making sure your health insurance is good because a trip to the ER is only a matter of time.
     Play tag.
     Go on a scavenger hunt.
     Pull weeds.
     Make an obstacle course. My kids LOVE obstacle courses. As I said I’m not into big prep work, but for us, an obstacle course only involves spreading out their slides and outside toys and having them jump and run from one object to the next while music is playing. It’s ridiculously simple and they think it’s awesome. Bonus points if you time them.
     Jump on the trampoline. If you think it’s a good idea to zip your toddler into the trampoline net so you can have a moment to focus on the garden – not that I’ve done this – let me warn you that toddlers are escape artists. So, just be aware of that.
#6 Play Inside
It’s possible that you live where the weather is spectacular during the “winter” and downright scorching during the summer. Outside activities may be a welcomed outlet early and late in the day, but during the hot summer sun, your kids may be needing some indoor excitement to get them moving.

You can even use these activities if it’s a rainy day and need some indoor action.

     Screen time – I’m trying to help you avoid this, but try a yoga or other fitness video for kids. We have Pretzel Yoga cards and my kids like to go through them and try out the poses.
     Calisthenics – You don’t need much room to do pushups, sit ups, and jumping jacks. Make your own fitness routine for the kids and set a time to do it each day.
     Family dance parties are fun no matter what age you are. Crank up the tunes and let loose.
     Clean rooms – This will likely become the kids’ favorite. Maybe not. But, a good scrubbing of the floors and a quick vacuuming will get their blood pumping.
     Get a membership to a museum and explore weekly.
     Work with the heat – Go outside and do a water activity.
     The floor is lava – Yell that phrase to get your kids jumping up on nearest raised surface.
#7 Tour the Neighborhood
Whether you walk, run, bike, scooter, just go tour your neighborhood on a summer evening.

Instead of driving to the park, walk there.

Is your grocery store a mile away? Walk there!

As you walk, spy on the neighbors. No, not like a creep, just notice what activities other families have in their yards to get ideas.

Paint rocks, then leave them along your way for others to find. And keep your eyes open for others’ painted rocks. Yes, it’s a thing, and yes, it’s a ton of fun! If people in your neighborhood do this, your walks will turn into scavenger hunts.

#8 Lead by Example
Get off your rear end and get moving! You can’t expect your kids to keep active if you’re glued to your seat. It’s just as important that you stay active as it is that your kids do.

When I go out for a run, my kids ride their bikes along with me. When they see me playing softball, they want to learn how to play.

When they see me vegging and binge-watching Netflix, guess what? That’s what they want to do.

Enjoy the awesomeness that is summer! Take advantage of the weather and the freedom and get active with your kids.


 
Melanie Musson is a writer for Carinsurancecomparison.com and Autoinsurance.org. Her family takes advantage of the great outdoors in the mountains of Montana. She understands busy moms as she’s in the trenches working from home and homeschooling her children.




1 comment

  1. Thanks for your valuable information about kids health in summer. This blog very helpful for understand about kids disease. It really gives me an insight on this topic.

    ReplyDelete

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