Healthy Beginnings

How to Get Kids Up and Out This Summer

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School is out, the weather’s warm – and millions of kids are wasting their time indoors, playing video games, perusing social media, and perfecting the art of watching TV. Technology is wonderful, but sometimes it prevents kids from achieving an active and stimulating lifestyle that will keep them healthy for years to come. Surveys report that about 1 in 5 school-age children is obese, and sedentary habits, established at a young age, might be to blame.

This summer, you can help your kids find a healthy balance by taking them on outdoor adventures. The following activities don’t require much investment of time, money, or energy, but they are exceedingly rewarding in bringing families closer through the excitement of exercise.

First: Safety

It’s important to get kids active, but you need to be certain your little ones are safe while they explore the world. The outdoors is filled with dangers, from fast-moving cars to slow-moving bugs, so it’s imperative you prepare for the worst. Here are a few of the most common hazards and how to cope with them.

  • Cars. If your kids are playing anywhere near the street, you should consider placing signs that warn drivers to watch out. You might also equip your little ones with flashing lights, helmets, padding, and other protective gear.
  • Sun. A recent study found that people who experienced five or more bad sunburns during their youth have an 80 percent risk for melanoma later in life. You should slather your kids in SPF 30 – and continue slathering – or else cover them up with long sleeves and pants.
  • Bugs. In humid regions, summertime is mosquito season. Mosquitos and other pests carry all sorts of diseases, so you should have your outdoor areas treated with mosquito control to keep everyone safer.
  • Water. Playing outside is great for little bodies, but only if they are properly hydrated. You should take plenty of water breaks, especially during warm summer months.

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Form a Sports Team

Nothing motivates a kid to get moving like other kids. You should consider getting together with your children’s friends’ parents and forming a casual little league for the summer. You can play whatever games your kids want – softball, volleyball, etc. – as long as everyone has a position.

Devise a Scavenger Hunt

Perhaps your kid is more encouraged by prizes than peers. If so, you can send your little one on an elaborate hunt that ends in a worthwhile reward. You can set up puzzles and games that stimulate minds as well as bodies – as long as they know the gift is good, they’ll do it.

Have an Adventure

You can get your kids their own means of transportation – bikes, scooters, or roller blades – and journey around the neighborhood to see the sights. You can let them choose your route, or you can plan and endpoint they’ll love, like the park or a friend’s house. You might even pretend like you are in a fantasy setting, so the whole trip feels like an adventure.