Every time my son complains to me about having to go to Computer Camp I remind him about his first day of summer holidays when I got a phone call at work from him asking “When does ‘evening’ start?” because his dad had told him no video games ‘until the evening.’ The countdown until 5:59 (the time we determined was the onset of evening) was on.
Much as they love the time off school, kids still need to keep occupied. Luckily the sunny weather means we can get outside and get moving. The AMA recommends that children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day and that’s a lot easier to accomplish when you’re not juggling school and homework and inclement weather. So take advantage of this time to keep active. Here are some ideas that you can do with your children to keep them busy and let you all have some summer fun!
Go for a bike ride
Whether you go for a ride around the block or explore a bike trail in your area, this is an activity the whole family can enjoy. Before you go, reinforce the rules of the road and make sure you have the proper equipment and that it’s all in good condition. Check to see that helmets fit snugly, tires are pumped, and chains are oiled.
Go for a hike
Explore nearby trails and conservation areas. Make sure you have plenty of sunscreen and bottled water and that everyone is wearing comfortable shoes, and still to well-marked paths to ensure you don’t get lost.
Go for a swim
If you’re lucky enough to have a lake or an ocean nearby, slap on some sunscreen and hit the beach! Most communities have public pools or splash pads where you can take the kids to cool down. Swimming lessons are one of the best investments you can make for your kids, and when you do go swimming make sure your children fully understand the hazards involved, that the environment is appropriate for their skill level and never leave them unsupervised.
Play a game
There are many fun games that can be enjoyed in your own backyard. Play a game of horseshoes or croquet. Badminton and volleyball don’t necessarily require a net – a line of sticks laid in the grass will work in a pinch. And of course you can never go wrong with a classic game of catch.
Go canoeing or kayaking
If there is a river or lake nearby, rent a canoe or two and take your family out for a cruise. Life jackets are a must for adults as well as children and stick to the shoreline – even the best sailors can get lost in open water.
Have a picnic
Eating in the great outdoors is so much fun! Enlist your kids’ help to make a selection of sandwiches then pack some juice boxes, fresh fruit and chopped veggies, and a comfy blanket and find a shady spot to enjoy a leisurely lunch. The best part? A family picnic can be combined with any of the above activities to make for a relaxing day out!