“No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks!” That’s right, school’s out for the summer which means no more homework, tests, studying, or school work for the kids. If you’re a parent, you’re probably looking forward to summer as it means a break from the hectic schedule of driving your kids all around for school and activities alike, remembering to make lunches, sign forms, and a laundry list of other responsibilities.
Summer is a time to kick back, relax, and catch up on some much needed sleep and entertainment that you and your children may have missed out on during the school year. However, it’s important not to get too comfortable in the laid-back mood of summer. Have you considered how you will keep your children active and healthy over the next three months?
A summer spent in front of the television with snacks on hand may seem like the dream, and for the first couple of weeks, it just may be. However, after three months go by you’ll be left with heavier children who are not only bored, but more importantly, unhealthy. Summer weight gain is a major issue plaguing our children that may contribute to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and a multitude of other health issues. To stay fit, children should participate in at least 60 minutes of exercise each day. While this may seem difficult to achieve, our PennCare for Kids pediatricians offer some easy ways to reach this goal while making the summer fun for your kids.
Rule #1: Turn off the electronics! It’s important to limit the amount of time your child spends with their devices and encourage them to choose less sedentary activities. You may even consider encouraging your children to remain active by making a competition out of it and offering a reward to the child who goes the longest without using their phone, TV, or other electronic devices.
Fun Summer Activities
Now that you’ve shut down, read on for some fun ideas to help your kids embrace the summer!
- Camp out in the backyard
- Make a smoothie
- Create your own game
- Find your local pool, lake or beach and go for a swim
- Have a dance party in your living room
- Visit an indoor trampoline park
- Create a mini golf course in your backyard
- Play capture the flag
- Sign up for a community summer camp
- Host a water balloon fight
- Catch fireflies at night
- Try out a new sport
- Find a local trail and go on a hike
- Go on a photography excursion to explore nature
- Plant a garden
- Build a treehouse or fort
- Go to the zoo
- Make housekeeping chores a race
- Take your dog (or a neighbors) for a walk
- Volunteer for a local organization
- Make your own action movie
- Run through the sprinkler
- Go on a bike ride
- Explore a museum
- Go on a scavenger hunt
All of these activities will help to keep your kids active this summer and will fight off boredom and summer weight gain. These activities are great for strengthening relationships with your family, as well as with your child’s friends, to help them grow and develop social skills and interpersonal relationships. So don’t wait - start checking some of these activities off of your family’s summer bucket list today!