The kids are out of school and this is a great time to establish a family fitness routine and get everyone outside. Whether your kids are younger or older, there are many ways to combine family time with outdoor activities and exercise. With child obesity on the rise, it is more important than ever that we engage our children in physical exercise and the best way to do that is to be a role model and join in on the fun.
Most kids love to be active, but will settle for sitting in front of the T.V. or for playing video games. Sometimes they need a little hand holding or even a big push to get outside. Raising fit kids in this computer age takes more effort than in previous generations. Parents have to think ahead and plan for activities, especially when living in the city. But even country kids can get stuck in a rut, needing some encouragement to get moving and have some summer fun.
A good way to get started is to have a family meeting and write down a list of all the family fitness activities that you can enjoy over the summer months. Then go ahead and mark at least 2-3 activities a week on a wall calendar in a central location that everyone can see. For younger kids, you can help them create and draw-up a Family Fun & Fit To-Do List. Each time you complete an activity, you can check it off the list.
Something to keep in mind is that the fun activities for summer that you choose do not have to be on a grand scale. While water parks, theme parks, sailing, jet-skiing, kayaking, etc. are all fantastic family fitness activities, they can also be expensive and exhausting. Instead we would suggest more local and budget-friendly activities – the goal being staying active as a family while enjoying all the wonderful delights the outdoors have to offer!
Summer Family Activities
Here are some suggestions for summer family activities to get you started:
- Get wet: The summer is all about enjoying the water, be it lakes, rivers, seashores or the pool. Don’t forget to stay sun-safe and protect yourself and your kids by applying sunscreen liberally or covering up with a UV protective rash guard.
- Hit the trail: June 5th is National Trails Day! There is nothing like a hike through the woods – connecting with nature, the rich scented woods, scurrying animals and beautiful surroundings – to make an outing memorable. For information about events around the country visit: www.americanhiking.org
- Cycling adventure: A bike ride is a great activity for families with kids of all ages. Keep safe by making sure everyone wears a properly fitting bike helmet and learns basic bike etiquette.
- Look no further than your backyard! Play tag, shoot hoops, throw the Frisbee or go for a walk around the neighborhood. Have a water fight with water pistols or balloons. Your kids will always remember the day they soaked Mom or Dad.
- Explore your local parks: Don’t forget to take a soccer ball to kick around or a basketball if there are courts available. Watch your children do cartwheels in the grass and cheer them on. Teach them how to do hand stands.
- Go on a scavenger hunt! Geocaching is a great family activity and fun way to explore the outdoors. All you need is a GPS device and a sense of adventure. Geocaching is a modern day scavenger hunt for the whole family where people hide objects outdoors, post GPS coordinates online, and then everyone tries to locate the “hidden treasure”. There are over a million active, listed geocaches in the US so you should have no problem finding caches in parks or trails near you.
- Jump on the trampoline with your kids if you have one. Your kids will probably laugh at you, but that is part of the fun.