Hello everyone, Kaila here! As your Western Racquet childcare director, I thought I'd share some fun summer tips for keeping your children active this summer. At Western Racquet we are committed to a better you and that means your little ones as well! We will be focusing on three main points going into this summer season with your kiddos. Keep in mind these tips can be utilized with any children, not just your own. Caregivers have an extra special place in the lives of children too! To keep our kids active and healthy this summer, let’s talk about three main things: getting involved, decreasing screen time, and getting outside! Let’s dive in!
Getting involved with your child's summer activities will simply get them moving more! We are often sidetracked with other responsibilities as adults, forgetting how vital it is to participate with our children. In my line of work, I often see firsthand how critical it truly is to get involved with little ones. Kids get amped up to have an adult play WITH them instead of just standing on the sidelines watching. We have just 18 summers with our children from birth before they are adults, so soak up those memories! It doesn’t have to be anything major or over the top! It can be as simple as climbing up the playground with them, jumping off that diving board, or including them in a bodyweight exercise circuit you love doing. Try joining in on the fun and observing the difference it makes in the overall playtime. They will have less frequent bouts of boredom, engage in active play longer, and have an overall sense of fulfilled daytime activities.
Limiting screen time
One of the hardest obstacles we may face as parents and caregivers is avoiding large amounts of screen time during summer vacation. Studies have shown that a surplus of screen time can be linked with a variety of negative consequences including, but not limited to, childhood obesity, sleep problems, behavioral issues, and an increased amount of violent behavior. With these things in mind, it’s important to really look at the amount of screen time our youth are getting per day, especially during times of educational breaks. Not only does sedentary activity affect their physical state, it affects their mental state as well. Setting their minds on activities that get them moving really help shape their overall health. We can all relate to the saying “they need to burn off some energy” and trying some new activities will help encourage them to lay down the tablets and get moving! I also recommend having an allotted duration for screen time during the day. It is vital for children to have quiet time and many children prefer television, tablets, gaming devices etc. This is perfectly healthy in moderation, as with anything. Carve out sections of “quiet time” for your children to have designated screen time if they choose and let them know ahead of time that this boundary has been set. The more structure children have around screen time the less likely they will ask for it and will be more prone to choose a different activity.
Kids love being outdoors! This alone will encourage them to get moving more regardless of the activity, but I am going to share some tried and true ideas that always work. Here in Wisconsin, we get 3 short months of sweet summertime. Take advantage of those beautiful days by getting outdoors! Some favorite activities include bike rides, swimming, and trips to the playground! However, what if we put a spin on some of our favorite activities?! With kids it’s all about variety! The following activities can be orchestrated with a single child or large groups, grown-ups are welcome too! If weather is an issue many of these activities can be brought inside!
Try setting up a backyard obstacle course fit with different age-appropriate obstacles! Think “over/under” tasks, balancing, jumping, crawling, etc. Invite the neighbors or a few friends over for a super special day! You can choose to pair the kids up together or let them run the course individually. Extra points for providing the “course day” treat! Rainy weather? Try setting up the course in a large room, basement, or even garage!
Super Soaker/Balloon Tag
Instead of a full pool day try rounding up some water balloons or a few super soakers to have a refreshing take on a classic game of tag. Kids love to compete, whether it’s with adults or kids their age. Team up and try to keep score, although in this game everyone is sure to end soaked! Extra hot day? Add a lawn sprinkler for the kids to run through as they soak their competitors! The object of this game is less winning and more playing! Rainy weather? Swap out super soaker or balloons with nerf guns! Kids can’t pass up a nerf war, and most adults can’t either!
Playground Relay Race
Take the playground to new heights by setting up a relay course! Take an object to the playground to be your “baton” and have the kids race through the playground as quickly as they can to return the baton to their “teammates” at the start line. This game can be played with multiple children or a single child with a parent or caregiver. Make sure the path through the playground is challenging yet safe for their age group.
I hope you will see the benefit of encouraging your children to stay active this summer! Let’s all enjoy the beautiful season ahead and make the most of our time off with our little ones.