The sun is shining, the temps are rising, and summer is here! With the glorious summer months comes kids being home. It can be easy to fall into those lazy hazy days of summer, but studies show that kids who are active during the summer months do better year around. But with television, iPads, and smartphones, how do you keep your kid from just watching the screen all summer? No need to open up Google, we’ve got your answers right here. Keep reading for 9 tips on keeping the kiddos active all summer.
Keep It Age-Appropriate
First things first, make sure your kids actually want to do the activity. Kids of different ages have different needs. If the activity isn’t right for your child’s age, they could get frustrated or bored. Also, remember all kids are different. Some might enjoy physical activity more than others so think about your child’s “fitness personality” and plan activities accordingly.
Organized sports are awesome! They bring people together and give us a sense of community. Youth sports specifically have their own benefits. They are great opportunities for children to learn confidence, leadership skills, and teamwork, among other important life lessons. Check out your local YMCA or community/rec. center to see what summer sports might be available in your area.
A Note On Kids Sports
Sports will definitely keep children active, but remember that their bodies are young and developing, with significant differences in coordination, strength, and stamina. This makes them both more susceptible to injury and incapable of maintaining an adult training and practice regimen. Ensuring that kids practice smart techniques and play safe can enhance and lengthen their athletic journeys, thus creating lifelong enjoyment of exercise and activity. Make sure to keep an eye out for any injuries and let your little ones know it’s better to rest than be permanently injured.
It’s so easy to let the screen take over, but most experts would agree that we’re in danger of overexposing our children to screens. Too much screen time can lead to anxiety, poor posture, back problems, lower grades, and even depression. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends only 1-2 hours of screen time a day. That recommendation might feel extreme to you or not conducive to your lifestyle, and that’s okay. The real takeaway here is reducing screen time, even if it’s only bit by bit. At the end of the day, you as the parent know what’s best for your child.
Create Your Own Park
You don’t need a big swing set, pool, or trampoline to make your backyard enticing to the youngsters. Litter your yard with jump ropes, frisbees, balls, and sidewalk chalk. Surf sites like Pinterest for homemade obstacle course ideas, and solutions for staying cool without a pool. Your backyard can transform into a magical playland with just a bit of imagination.
Turn Up The Radio
Keep the music playing in the house or in the car OR have designated mini “dance parties” throughout the day. Music encourages movement and lifts moods. It’s been known to help in battling depression and improve cognitive function while challenging the brain. So dancing all summer could help your kids retain some of that information they learned in the previous school year.
Not everyone is an athlete and that’s ok! Crafts are great for keeping the mind and body active and keeping the kids busy. Crafting improves self-esteem, encourages self-expression, helps in socialization, and helps enhance decision-making skills. There are an endless number of crafts your kids could do all summer, but if you need ideas you could try:
- Paper Bag Monster Puppets
- Galaxy Slime
- Bottle Fireflies
- Egg Carton Turtles
For instructions on how to make the crafts listed above (and to get more ideas) check out this article in Country Living.
Amp up The Competition!
Take those jump ropes from the backyard and see who can jump the longest, or have a jumping jack contest. Racing across the yard or in the pool (if you have one) are classic ways to get the competition going. A little competition is healthy as long as it’s done in the right spirit!
Make A Weekend of It
Hit the road! Take a family camping trip over the weekend. Camping almost always guarantees an active few days whether it’s setting up the tents, canoeing down the river, or just being outdoors. Camping alleviates stress, improves moods, and challenges us.
Like Parent Like Child
Our kids mimic our behavior, so if you’re sedentary it’s likely they will be too. If you want your kiddo to get off the couch and turn off the TV, you’ll have to do the same. Take the whole family for a bike ride or a picnic on the weekends. Let them see you play!
Let’s Get Moving
Activities like these should be woven into everyday life. They should feel fun and not like a chore. If you sense your child isn’t enjoying the activity or is experiencing unusual stress around it, take a moment and consider doing something else instead.
We hope we’ve given you some great ideas to make this summer and every summer fun and memorable for your kids. Remember to practice safety measures when doing any physical activity and keep an eye out for heat exhaustion if you’re spending a lot of time outside.
If you need us, Neighbors Emergency Centers have your back. We are prepared to treat any and all emergencies for both children and adults. Stay safe and enjoy your Summer!