Keep Kids Active this Summer
With the school year complete, kids are excited to relax after a year of hard work, learning and extracurricular activities. However, this may lead to the temptation of sitting on the couch watching TV or playing on a computer or mobile device.
In fact, a recent survey conducted by the Let’s Play initiative found that only 33 percent of children participate in daily active play, and for 30 minutes less than the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. It’s important for kids to get daily active play because it contributes to their physical, emotional and social development, and helps them maintain a healthy lifestyle.
To ensure kids get the active play they need this summer, try boosting their playtime with these tips:
Make playtime family time. According to the Let’s Play survey, in general, year-over-year younger children’s active play time is more likely to be impacted by busy family schedules. To make sure your family is getting the physical activity they need, find windows within your busy schedule to fit in some play, even if it’s just a brief break. For example, rather than asking about your children’s days at the dinner table, take a pre-dinner family walk to hear more while getting in some steps.
Create summer structure. Without structured school days, kids may get too comfortable sitting inside playing video games. An American Academy of Pediatrics study shows that rather than playing outside, kids are spending an average of seven hours per day on entertainment media and other electronic devices. It’s important to let your children have downtime during the summer but setting up weekly family playdates will give them something to look forward to while keeping them active. This could be a weekly family bike ride around the neighborhood, a game of catch or capture-the-flag.
Creativity is key. Summer means longer days, more hours of sunlight and more opportunities to be outside. Get creative when motivating your kids to be active. For example, take a daily activity like walking the dog and turn it into a scavenger hunt by drawing up a treasure map of things your children should find on their walk, such as a pine cone, flower, blue car and other items around the neighborhood.
Host backyard playdates. Playing is always more fun with friends. According to the Let’s Play study, longer stretches of active play are more likely to occur with friends or siblings. Round up kids from your neighborhood to get together for a different activity each week, such as an obstacle course or hide and seek. This allows your children to socialize and be active for an extended period of time.
Looking for a list of local activities to keep your kids busy? Check out our recommendations here!