Healthy Summer Time Activities
For many parents, summer vacation can be both fun and challenging. While more shared family time is wonderful, kids also have a whole lot of unharnessed energy, which is usually well tapped during the traditional school day. So, how can you keep them happily occupied all summer? The trick is cultivating healthy activities the whole family can enjoy, plus some that children can pursue on their own. For example:
You don’t have to join a country club to access great summer programs. Most communities offer a comprehensive range of options for both kids and adults through the Parks & Recreation Department. Best of all, they tend to be far more affordable than private lessons. Check out swim and tennis classes, team sports, cooking, painting, languages, sewing, horseback riding, and more.
Arts & Crafts
If you don’t have a “creation station” set up yet, you’ll find this invaluable. It’s a great way to encourage independent play and creativity, and can always be modified as needed. Essentials include a work table, paper, and markers/crayons. Fun additions include glue, scissors, old magazines, stickers, glitter, finger paints, modeling clay, etc. Kids craft books from the library can provide fresh ideas too.
Summer is a perfect time to build positive associations between physical activity and fun. Kids won’t miss TV if you can take the time to explore a new sport or outdoor activity with them. If you love golf or tennis, reel them in too. Soon enough, you’ll have a well qualified opponent! Feeling ambitious? Explore rock climbing, sailing, kayaking, or take on a challenging nature hike. You can also jog along while children bike, skate or scooter.
Rather than a simple walk around the block, roving─long walks in new places─is more adventurous. Pick a part of town you rarely visit to explore on foot with kids, or go off road to check out some natural settings. The art of roving is also a clever way to allow kids to spend pent up energy, while boosting family health and fitness too. Pack water, fresh fruit, and sunscreen and you’re all set.
If you enjoy bringing friends/family/neighbors together, the potluck theme is a winner. If you have a pool, so much the better, if not, an inexpensive “slip n’ slide” on the grass will keep kids happily occupied. Have everyone bring a side dish or something for the grill and make fresh lemonade and/or sangria. Set up a “sundae bar” for kids with fresh fruit and nut toppings. Toast the joys of summer!
Parks & Gardens
While you may have a go-to neighborhood park, there could be many others in your area you’re still unaware of. Imagine finding a new one with a water feature or other novelty to thrill your kids? Most cities have botanical gardens as well, and many offer free admission on certain days during the summer. You’ll be amazed at the lush, varied plant life they feature. Or visit a local community garden so kids can see how fruits and veggies grow.
These ideas should get you started, and may inspire further creativity. Happy summer fun!