Thursday, July 28, 2011

guest post: keeping your kids active!

i am excited today to be featuring a guest post by kathleen thomas from primose schools.  today's post is about keeping the kids (of all ages) active- something that can be difficult when you just want to stay inside away from the heat!  kathleen provides some insightful tips on ways to keep kids (and yourself) active.  thank you kathleen!
Keeping the Kids Active
By: Kathleen Thomas

Summertime is upon us and the sultry days stretch into balmy nights. Released from school the children either complain of boredom or spend hours hunched in front of television or computer screens. The long days of summer don’t have to be lazy. Try some of these ideas to keep your kids active in the summer.

Get Moving
The easiest way to promote a healthy lifestyle for your children is to lead by example. Break out the bikes and set off on a family ride. Trek down to the park and kick a ball around. Team up with other families for a friendly softball tournament. Shoot hoops. Spin a jump rope and take your turn ducking in. Organize an informal neighborhood field day with relay races, an obstacle course and a water balloon toss. Award the winners with small prizes or ribbons. Or try planting a summer garden. Children love watching things grow. Keep busy digging and weeding, and then eat the healthy results.

Consider Camping
If it is within your budget, sending the kids off to camp for a week or two or three (or more) is a long-standing summer tradition. Overnight camping is an experience children treasure a lifetime. Most stay-away camps are Internet-free and limit the use of video games. Many cities also offer day camping at municipal parks, complete with tons of fun daily activities and weekly field trips. If you have a budding Beckham on your hands, a sports-intensive camp may be just the ticket.

Get Wet
Kids and water go together like peanut butter and jelly. Take an excursion to the seaside or lake. For older children, a free or low-cost public pool is an inexpensive way to spend an active afternoon – or several afternoons a week. For younger children, it might be time to take that first swimming class. And for preschool children, nothing beats a wading pool or a sprinkler shimmering in the summer heat. Or break out some old pots and pans and make mud pies. Don’t be afraid to get dirty – the muddier, the merrier.

Take Advantage of Cooler Mornings and Evenings
While preteens or teenagers probably won’t thrill to the morning whistle, young children will find it an adventure – if you make it one. Invest in a few inexpensive supplies such as floppy hats, cheap binoculars or magnifying glasses and metal canteens or water bottles with straps. Don’t forget the sunscreen. Set off on an early morning hike around the neighborhood, or even just around the block. Small things often delight small explorers. Keep a scrapbook and collect a flower, a feather or a leaf on your travels. Older children can often be lured out-of-doors after night has fallen. Take a twilight after-dinner walk with your ‘tween and discover how different your neighborhood looks by night. Talk and bond while getting some exercise.

Kids are more likely to exercise when it’s disguised as fun. With a little creativity, it’s easy to keep kids active in the summer.

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