4 min read
Once upon a time, summers meant riding your bike down the street, inventing fun games to play with your siblings or buddies, and having fun at the local playground. But with the invasion of technology into our lives and homes, it has become a challenge to get children away from screens and outside into the fresh air. This is also worrisome because research indicates that it is important for kids to be outside and have an active lifestyle to build a healthy immune system, lower the risk of developing diseases, and for their overall well-being.
Getting your kids to try new things and stay active through the summer is a challenge but if you get your creative hat on, it can be done. Here are five smart tricks to help get your kids active so your family enjoys a fun and healthy summer.
Keep cool with a fun water ballon fight.
A simple game of water balloons could mean endless hours of fun, for kids and adults alike. This is what you will need – a pack or two of small balloons, and a running water connection or funnel. Get the kids involved and once you have a bucket-full of colorful water balloons, head out to the yard.
Try different versions of water balloon fights – invite your kids’ friends for a fun-filled playdate, or start a water balloon spoon race. Blindfold a player and let them toss balloons to the others or place water balloons all over the yard and ask the little ones to find and stomp on them. If there is a bigger group, make it a team challenge to see who gets the most number of leaky water balloons into a container to play an improvised tag game.
Build a DIY Slip 'n' Slide.
This summer, ditch the expensive store-bought slides and instead teach the kids how to make a DIY Slip ‘n’ Slide. All you need is a heavy plastic sheet cut to size, 10 pool noodles, some Velcro tape, and a sprinkler hose or two. Lay the sheet on the ground, preferably on a gentle slope, and place the noodles all around the sides of the plastic. Wrap the sheet over the noodles and use the Velcro to stick it to the underside of the noodle.
This will help limit the water within the cordoned area, and also act as a speed bump when you reach the end. Use landscape staples to secure the ends, and your slide is ready. Set up the sprinklers on one end and add some dish soap to make the slide slippery and fast.
Start a garden.
Kids love being involved in “grown-up” activities – and if it involves digging your fingers in mud, sign them up already. Let them choose which seasonal plants they would like to grow, and get the gardening tools ready. Plants that are easy to care for are the best choice. For example, basil grows quickly with little hassle, and you can use the leaves to whip up yummy pesto in no time.
Every time a flower or fruit blooms, celebrate with a little treat. Planting a butterfly garden is another wonderful idea, particularly if you have preschoolers or young kids. Capture pictures of the butterflies fluttering about so your kids can show them off to friends and family. They say the earth laughs in the form of flowers – watching new leaves unfurl and change color, and seeing flowers blossom under their ministrations will help create a sense of gratitude and achievement in the young ones. It will also help you meet your goal of encouraging them to be more active outdoors.
Plan a fun scavenger hunt.
This one requires a little more planning but it is well worth the effort. Arm your little ones with a wide-brimmed hat for sun protection, a small pail, notebook and pencils. Then let them loose in the yard or playground with directions to find 10 different types of leaves, or a mixed list of things to find – dog tracks, leaves, dried flowers, etc. You could also turn this into a cleanliness drive by asking them to zero in on pieces of scrap that need to be cleared.
This game can be played during beach visits and camping trips, too. Just replace the objects to find with things like sea shells, drift wood, bird feathers, etc. Ask them to make a list of things they could only enjoy outdoors – the salty smell of the sea at the beach, or birds chirping while camping. Later, they can use their findings to craft something or write about it. If there are multiple players, make sure you offer a reward as incentive at the end.
Think of innovative games using everyday objects.
Getting your kids outside and active does not have to always include expensive toys or outings. Get creative and make use of things around the house to fashion interesting games. For example, a rope tied to a tree is excellent for climbing, and old tires can be tied up and used as swings. Certain patches in the yard can be hot lava that you jump over, and a broom can double up as a hurdle to jump over.
Hula hoops are fun, and they ensure a good fitness session for the little ones, too. You could also use whatever you have to craft an obstacle course in the yard. Serve up some lemonade, carrots and cucumber sticks for a healthy snack post their workout.
Make summer activities a part of family time, and you will have the kids onboard in no time. Ensure that you plan age-appropriate activities. Add a balanced diet full of probiotics, plenty of hydration, regular sleep schedules, and some mental stimulation to the day for a rewarding and healthy summer.