With summer vacation fast approaching, many parents are looking for ways to keep their kids active and healthy. Activity occupies the mind, avoids the summer slide, prevents boredom, and keeps kids from becoming couch potatoes.
Experts say too many kids choose sedentary activities over the summer, like video games and television, instead of exercise. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health reported that the body mass indexes (BMI) of more than 5,000 kindergartners and first graders increased by almost twice as much during summer break as compared with the school year. A follow-up study in 2016, published in the Journal of Obesity found that the risk of obesity is higher when children are out of school than when they are in school.
With a little planning, you can ensure your kids have their best, healthiest summer ever with these 12 tips:
- Create structure and plan daily activities
- Limit electronics
- Keep cool with outdoor water activities – pools, water balloons, squirt guns, slip and slide, hose, boating, etc.
- Make exercise a family affair by walking to a park or playground, biking, playing football or Frisbee in the yard
- Encourage socialization with friends
- Checkout summer camp and vacation bible school options
- Sign up for summer reading programs at your local library
- Learn something new through activities sponsored by area parks, museums, science centers, libraries, theatres, and beyond
- Join a summer sports league
- Try seasonal foods through cooking activities or plant a family garden
- Give back through volunteering – check out volunteer opportunities
- Keep a stash of craft activities, board games, books, and art supplies for rainy days
- Ensure safety and adult supervision
- Wear sunscreen
- Consider the impact of air quality
- Stay hydrated
Summer Obesity Studies: