Keeping children active and cool during the summer can be a task.
We have researched and found some good information for those who are having a hard time coming up with ideas, especially now that some COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted.
During these hot summer months, do you ever wonder what you can do to keep children physically active while also trying to help them stay cool? While the temperatures might tempt all of us to sit inside all day, according to health experts it’s important to keep moving.
Let’s take a look at why regular exercise is so good for your children. Then we can create ideas that are safe but fun during the hot weather.
First, we should take a look at why it is important to keep children active for at least an hour each day. It doesn’t matter if it is structured or free play, children benefit in many ways. Here are just a few reasons why:
• It helps to develop coordination and basic motor skills
• It helps build muscle and bone strength, cardio endurance and flexibility
• It will reduce the risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease
• It will also improve quality of sleep, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Some fun ways to keep children active in the summertime are water activities. Swimming, splash pads, or a water sprinkler are a few good choices to help kids stay cool. A water hose presents many options. After you test the water temperature, you can grab your lawn sprinkler and hook it up so that the kids can run through it or you can make a slip-and-slide by using an old shower curtain or plastic table cloth. Playing with water balloons is always a fun choice but be careful of little children putting the balloons in their mouth.
In addition to water activities, also consider walking or jogging through the neighborhood, hiking in the park, or even rollerblading or biking. Just remember if you are doing outdoor activities be mindful of the heat and have plenty of water to drink.
Encourage kids to help with lawn work or gardening. You can also think of some childhood games such as Red Light Green Light, Hide and Seek, Hula Hooping or jump roping. Just a good family dance party is also an option. Most children enjoy competition, so make it a game and have adults square off against the youth.
For more ideas of how to keep children active during the summer visit www.childrens.com/health-wellness. Visit Pasquotank Cooperative Extension on the web at https://pasquotank.ces.ncsu.edu, Like us on Facebook at NC Cooperative Extension-Pasquotank County Center or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PasquotankCES.
Lynnell Godfrey is the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program coordinator with 4-H Youth Development at the Pasquotank Center of N.C. Cooperative Extension.