Once summer hits, it’s easy to settle into the casual, relaxed routine that the season provokes.
As vacation mode and freedom from school set in, your family may fully embody the meaning of the word “break.”
Your children might default to sleeping in late, playing video games, and mindlessly munching on an endless stream of snacky foods.
That scenario is pretty normal. No matter what our lofty goals are for the summer.
However, if you want to change that scenario for your kids, you hold the key to an active, healthy summer.
That key comes in the form of a firm intention and plan to help your kids be more active. With a firm intention and a plan, you can transform that languid summer norm into an active, life-filled season of memories.
Let’s start with a list of fun activities for an active summer:
- Trampoline jumping
- Playing catch
- Scavenger hunting
- Bike riding
- Jumping rope
- Hula hooping
- Relay racing
- Sports playing
Now let’s look at some ways your family can put these activities into practice.
Think in traditions
One effective way to make exercise a regular habit is to turn your activity into daily or weekly traditions. For example, you could take an after-dinner family walk, a moonlight hike every full moon, or a mission to walk every trail in town.
Traditions make your activity more meaningful and help them naturally become a regular part of your routine. Plus, if you suggest or get into the habit of a morning bike ride, your kids won’t let you forget it.
Try it today: Come up with an activity you can do as a family at regular intervals. Then, implement your new tradition this week.
Multiply with imagination
Multiply the opportunities to play and stay active by using your imagination to turn regular objects into imaginative playthings.
Think about all the ways you can play with a basketball, for example. You can play normal basketball or Horse. But with a little extra imagination, you can turn a basketball into a dinosaur egg that you have to save from a predator or a bowling ball for a game of yard bowling.
With this strategy, one toy turns into a multitude of activities, thereby multiplying your exercise options.
Try it today: Choose a piece of regular sports equipment and come up with as many different uses for it as you can.
Do it as a family
Any activity you want your children to do is much more fun when the whole family gets involved. Think about it: family bike rides are way more fun and interactive than solo treks up and down the driveway. Hopscotch becomes a huge hit when you get dad jumping on one foot down the driveway.
Adding a little healthy competition also makes family activities more compelling. For example, members of your family can try to beat each other with the number of steps they take or miles they travel on foot in a day.
Try it today: Pick one of the activities listed above and plan a day this week for the whole family to participate in it.
Cut out transportation
Make a conscious effort to eliminate car rides whenever possible this summer. If there’s only a block or two between two destinations, exchange the car ride for walking, rollerblading, or bike riding. If you go camping, forgo the golf cart rental. Then, keep your roller blades or sneakers in the car and your bike at the front of the garage to make them accessible.
Try it today: practice leaving the car parked during the next set of errands you have to run. Otherwise, park in a neighboring lot or the farthest parking spot to build in more active minutes.
Just add water
Every game or activity is more fun in the water. Playing games in the water creates more giggles and memories than playing dry and it also helps you stay cool.
If you want to play basketball, you could set the hoop up next to the pool. If the kids want to jump rope, you could have them jump through the sprinklers. If someone suggests playing tag, you could turn it into a game of water balloon tag.
Try it today: whatever games your kids decide to play outside today, figure out a way to incorporate water. Then, grab your camera and capture those lively, expression-filled moments.
One month of summer break is already gone, so if you’re disheartened by seeing your kids indent the couch, you still have two more months of opportunity to implement some or all of these ideas. Make a choice today to turn the rest of summer into a life-filled flurry of activity. Not only will these activities keep your kids busy, they’ll also help keep them healthy.