Summer vacation is just around the corner, and many parents are vigorously trying to find ways to keep the kids active this summer season.
It’s a tall order, especially when smartphone screens, video games, and TVs are more appealing than going on a bike ride. But, as a parent, you know that it’s so important for children and teens to get enough aerobic exercise, strengthen their muscles, and maintain flexibility. If you’re stumped, or just need a few more ideas to add to your arsenal, here’s how to encourage your kids to stay active all summer long (short of locking them outside until dinnertime).
No matter how much they look forward to being out of school, summer can feel like one long, hot, boring stretch for kids and teens. Keep things exciting by making a “bucket list” of things they want to do this summer.
Crossing things off the list is an exciting way to motivate kids to stay active, and you could even have small rewards for accomplishing activities on their list.
When the heat hits, there’s nothing like time in or around water. Even if you don’t have access to a pool or lake, water-based fun is still attainable:
Have a water balloon or squirt gun fight. Buy a small kiddie pool for the backyard. Visit a local creek or river. Try a new activity, like stand-up paddleboarding.
The more time you can spend with your kids modeling active behavior, the better! Try going for a family bike ride (here are some helpful tips for biking together as a family), taking a yoga class together, or anything else that sounds fun for everyone.
You don’t have to go full-on American Ninja Warrior for this one — simply use things you already have around the house to create an obstacle course or circuit of activities. You could try:
You can even up the ante by turning it into a competition based on time, and depending on the course you create, it’s easy to keep the course set up all summer long.
Creating a new, active family ritual can take on any number of forms, and that’s the best part. You could do one of the activities suggested in this article on a regular basis, but here are some additional ideas to try:
If you’re lucky, this could even be the start of a memorable family tradition you enjoy throughout summer and into fall.