Summer is here, which means your kids are counting on you to entertain them while they’re out of school. To make the most of your child’s time off, experts recommend fun physical activity as a routine part of every family’s day.
It is recommended that children and adolescents from 6 to 17 should be physically active for 60 minutes per day, whereas children between 2 and 5 should be active several times each day. Routine activity not only improves physical health but has other positive indirect effects such as limiting screen time.
The Let’s Move initiative issued a family challenge where families commit to being physically active five days a week, for six weeks. What better time than summer to take on this challenge? Below is a variety of ideas to help you get started:
▪ Include the whole family in outdoor activities such as jogging, bike riding, Rollerblading, walking the dog, or simply strolling together through the neighborhood.
▪ Rainy day? No problem! Put on your children’s favorite music and have a dance party inside, do yoga stretches or go bowling.
▪ If you’re planning on buying new toys for your children, get items that encourage physical activity such as balls, jump ropes, hula-hoops, skateboards, Rollerblades, Frisbees, or even video games that promote sports or dancing. Remember to adjust daily screen time accordingly.
▪ Make chores fun for the whole family. Get everyone involved in cleaning and even yard work by putting on some good music and getting to work.
▪ If you have a pool at home or a community pool nearby, get kids active through water games such as swimming races, water tag or volleyball with a beach ball. The American Heart Association suggests planting a garden to give children something to care for and to have a reason to go outside every day. The fall is the time in South Florida to plant a vegetable or herb garden.
▪ Choose a charity walk or fun run that will take place in the fall and train together as a family throughout the summer. Pick a charity the family is passionate about.
▪ Whatever you choose to do this summer to keep your kids active, remember to pick activities that are fun for everyone and don’t forget sunblock when going outside.
Ellen Kolomeyer, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral associate in clinical pediatrics at the University of Miami Mailman Center. Ruby Natale, Ph.D., PsyD is an associate professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. For more information, visit umiamihealth.org/pediatrics.