By Deb Lowther @deb_lowther
Sponsored by raisinghealthykids.co
Schools Out and kids can’t wait to get out of school and have nothing to do! But wait, before you know it, these same kids will be complaining that they are “SO BORED!”
Keeping kids busy shouldn’t be a chore, but somewhere in our efforts to keep our kids safe and occupied, we may have squashed their creativity and ability to see the opportunity of free play activities around them.
Being Active & Free Play
It may seem too easy to turn to electronics and give kids TV time, but the fact is, turning all screens off and providing kids with a few idea’s to motivate them outdoors can quickly rev their imaginations and turn boring time into active time.
The benefits of kids being active range from stronger muscles, improved balance and coordination to increased attention span and being all round happier kids. A recent article by Canadian Press looked at the overall benefits to kids that are afforded outdoor free play in addition to being a part of a team organized sports. Something as simple as getting dirty and chasing frogs can open a childs’ mind, inspire creativity and create a connection to nature while still benefiting from being active.
What can parents and care givers do to keep kids motivated and inspired to get outside and be active all summer long?
5 Ways to Keep Kids Active All Summer
Sit down with the kids at the beginning of the summer and write down as many ideas as you of all the things they love to. Write each on its own piece of paper and put into a labeled Activity Jar. Ideas can range from draw a chalk village on the sidewalk to skipping the alphabet, frog catching, or a water balloon toss with the neighbours. Maybe even set up a Day Trip Jar where you write down all the local forests, hikes, parks, splash pads and attractions you might want to explore when there is a free family day. The next time the kids are even thinking of using the word ‘bored’ have them pick an activity from the jar and direct them to the nearest Activity Bin.
Create an Activity Bin and use it to store all different kids of toys that will inspire active play. Inexpensive items like skipping ropes, hula hoops, beach balls, tennis balls, plastic horseshoes, and lawn darts can fill the bin and provide an incentive to get outside. Use the items in the Activity Bin to fill out activities for your Activity Jar.
There is more to explore in your own community then you probably even realize. Make family time to explore the local trails, waterfalls, creeks, smaller zoo’s and art galleries. Find a City park that has free tennis courts and take the kids. Grab a soccer ball and head to the closest park with a picnic lunch or look into Geo Caching and open up a whole new adventure in your own neighbourhood.
Time to Play
Many kids days are filled with summer camp but some still need outdoor time in the evenings, especially if their camp was mostly indoors. Ensure the kids have unscheduled time to play and then offer them the ideas from the Activity Jar or join them and grab the neighbourhood kids to start a pick up game of basketball. Make time to play a priority.
Get Out There Too
I’m looking to You! Get outside WITH your kids. Show them who is hula hoop King (or not!), challenge kids to a skipping contest, try hop scotch, play frisbee, fly a kite or see if you can still do a cartwheel. Get some running shoes on and go explore neighbourhood parks and forests together and don’t be afraid to make a big splash the next time you are at the pool with the kids.
This summer, make being active a family event and stock up on different size balls and catching mitts, huloa hoops and sidewalk chalk and see how creative everyone can be while having fun outside.
About Deb Lowther
Deb Lowther is a mother of 3 young daughters who, when not running after the kids, is running in the trails. She contributes Family Health articles to many websites and magazines and ensures her own family has fun while eating healthy & staying active.
Follow her on Twitter @Deb_Lowther, and Pinterest and find more inspiring health tips on her website www.RaisingHealthyKids.co.
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