As the school year winds down, you may be wondering how to entertain your children throughout the summer. Encouraging them to engage in regular physical activity is always a great idea! Not only is it fun and a chance to get outside and play in the favorable weather, it’s also healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that children and adolescents get at least an hour of physical activity each day.
Need some new ideas to get your kids up and moving this summer? Suggest these 10 inexpensive, fun activities your kids are sure to enjoy!
- Walking.It’s always healthy, and nearly everyone can do it! Encourage your kids to take the dog for a walk, walk to the local library, walk around the block…the possibilities are endless! Plus, consider joining your child for a walk—it’s a healthy activity for you, too!
- Hiking.This is an activity the whole family can enjoy. Make a day of it—bring a picnic lunch to a local park, and take a family hike during the afternoon.
- Hide and seek. This is a great game to play because it allows for periods of physical activity (the seeker) and rest (the hiders). Children should take turns hiding and seeking so that they each get active and rest periods.
- Scavenger hunt.Have your kids write a list of interesting things to hunt for (oak tree, mailbox with its flag up, dandelion, birdhouse…), and then have them walk the neighborhood looking for the items on the list. (It’s a great way to fit some more walking into their day!)
- Gardening. Yes, this counts as physical activity! Ask for your child’s help pulling weeds, planting flowers, tidying up the garden, mulching, and more.
- Jumping rope.You can buy a jump rope for a buck at your local dollar store, but the health benefits it provides can be priceless! This is a fun way to have your children squeeze in some aerobic activity (so fun, in fact, that they may not even realize it’s exercise).
- Playing in the sprinkler. When it’s hot outside, tell the kids to get into their bathing suits, and then go set up the sprinkler for them in the yard. Not only will the kids have fun playing in the water, but your lawn will get watered, too!
- Riding bikes. Encourage your kids to ride around the neighborhood or on trails at the local park. Remind them to follow the rules of the road and always wear their helmets.
- Washing the car.This spring is pollen-heavy, and guess where some of that pollen lands? On the family car! Ask your kids to go outside and give the car a thorough washing—from soaping, scrubbing, and rinsing the outside, to cleaning the inside, vacuuming the car floors, and throwing out or putting away any random stuff that’s accumulated (but doesn’t really belong) in the vehicle. Offer a reward (like going to the movies or out for frozen yogurt) for a job well done.
- Playing team sports.Encourage your kids to see who’s around in the neighborhood and have them choose a game together based on the size of the group playing. A smaller group of kids may want to play tag, Frisbee, or tennis, while a larger group may be interested in wiffle ball, kickball, or touch football.
A few safety tips: Remember to provide your kids with plenty of water, which they will need to drink regularly to replenish fluids lost through physical activity and the summer heat. Also make sure your children apply sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) before going outside to play.
Need more fun ways your kids (or you) can stay physically active during the summer? If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the Wellness Coaching program, call your coach for more great ideas!