Schools Out! While kids are jumping for joy, parents
all over the neighbourhood are wondering what the heck are we going to do to keep the kids busy all summer! While summer camps
are great, not all families choose all day camps and even if they do, there are still another 4-5 evening hours that kids
are looking for something to do.
Active & Free Play
The benefits of kids being active range from stronger bones, muscles, improved balance
and coordination to increased attention span and being all round happier kids. A recent article by Canadian Press looked at the overall benefits to kids that are afforded
outdoor free play in addition to being a part of a team organized sports. Something as simple as getting dirty and chasing
frogs can open a childs' mind, inspire creativity and create a connection to nature while still benefiting from being active.
However, there is a fine line between giving kids hours of free
time to be active and hearing the dreaded words "I'm bored" after the first week of summer break. What can parents
do to help engage their children in free play and encourage kids to be active all summer long?
5 Tips to Keep Kids Active All Summer
Time to Play
If you have your kids running
to arts camp, music lessons, grocery stores and grandma house they may not have enough down time to just be active in the
yard, on the street or at the park. Give kids time each day or at least a few times a week where they have a couple hours
to just play outside. If you give them suggested activities (digging for worms, building a outdoor fort, skipping rope tug
of war) to get them started, it won't be long before their imagination takes over.
Tools to Play
Kids are super creative, it won't take much to inspire them to be active no expensive equipment required. A bin full of skipping
ropes, hoola hoops, tennis rackets, butterfly or fishing nets, badminton rackets, a frisbee, soccer ball, basketball, volleyball,
beach ball, and sidewalk chalk are just a few of our favorites. Kids will tie skipping ropes to hoola hoops, draw finish
lines with chalk, catch dandelions with fishing nets and impress you with the games and activities they can invent.
Active Role Model
Be active yourself.
If you are encouraging your kids to get outside from the other end of the couch, they are not likely to take you too seriously.
Go for walks, get back on your bike, take up a new sport like roller blading, collect neighbourhood parents to create a fun
volleyball league or re visit an old favorite like swimming lengths.
Having active friends can make a difference - find friends with
pools, with trampolines, friends who love to bike to the park, who play soccer or have a basketball net in the driveway and
just try and sit still inside!
I'm looking to You! Get outside WITH your kids. Show them who is hoola hoop King (or not!), challenge
kids to a skipping contest, try hop scotch, play frisbee and see if you can still do a cartwheel. Get some running shoes and
go explore neighbourhood parks and forests together and don't be afraid to make a big splash the next time you are at the
pool with the kids.
Make a commitment to be
active this summer and then make the time to explore the neighbourhood on bikes or on foot, walk to get ice cream instead
of drive and invest in inexpensive toys for the yard that will inspire imagination, creativity and most important, active