Hooray, it’s summer! If you’re anything like me you’ve had the official start of summer marked on your calendar and started counting down the days since around January. Okay, maybe not that long but there’s just something about the sun shining and the birds chirping that can start just about any day on the right foot- however, just as summer begins, school has come to an end and that means you’ve got kids at home who are in need of entertainment. Luckily, summer also brings endless ways to stay moving and having a blast- there’s no age limit on the fun you can have this summer as a family. Here’s a quick breakdown of the best age-appropriate ways to keep your family active this summer!
Fun for you and your toddler!
During toddlerhood, you and your child are experiencing everything for the very first time; which means anything you choose to do together is a new and fun idea! From running through the sprinklers, playing with water balloons, or even planting things in the garden. At this age, children are finding out how their senses work. They love touching things, learning new words, and getting a little dirty, so explore in the yard with them and you’ll find that chasing them around will benefit you too! Bending down to pick them up- bending at the legs and not with your back (you’ll thank yourself for that later!), lifting them up to touch the tops of trees, and chasing after them can actually be constructive exercise. Looking at this from a workout standpoint, if you’ve done just those three things, you’ve practiced squats by safely bending down to pick them up, an overhead press by lifting them up in the air, and you’ve increased your cardiovascular endurance by running after them. Basically, following your toddler while they venture into the great outdoors turns them into the ultimate strength trainers!
Entertaining your elementary age child!
It’s time to let their creativity run wild! By now, senses are fully understood and your child will now have his or her own favorite senses, hobbies, and activities. This is a great opportunity for you and your child to think outside the box try new things! Go on a nature scavenger hunt and find items that you don’t normally see in everyday life such as specific butterflies, types of rocks, and foliage. Staying active doesn’t always have to involve other objects or strength training. A leisure walk through a trail or even around the block can greatly impact both you and your child’s health. If you’re wanting a little more energy expenditure though, don’t be afraid to kick it old school! Grab a piece of chalk and work on some hopscotch; grab a jump rope and sing those songs you used to sing back in grade school while you jump; If you don’t have access to items such as these, you can never go wrong with an intense game of tag! Basically, the goal here is to just keep moving! At this stage kid’s love running, jumping, and dancing to just about anything and they’re just figuring out what they love to do so let them take the lead every now and then, you’ll learn more about what makes your child so unique. Not to mention, jump rope and hopscotch are basically like low-intensity plyometrics (aka: jump training in which the muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time) and that’s a great way to increase the heart rate and decrease your risk of illness!
Training with your teenager!
Some may think that entertaining a teenager can be a challenge but it’s truly the little things that matter most when planning summer activities. Set a goal this summer to do something new each week with your teenager; Find a new hiking trail to explore, bike down to the nearest local shops and walk around there, take a trip to your local farmer’s market and grab new fruits and vegetables you’ve never tried before, then challenge yourselves to bike back with your new goodies (hint: you’ll even budget better if you have to carry it on your way back!); sign up to join a gym together, head online to find yoga videos to do, or create your own 15 to 30 minute at-home workouts; creating those healthy habits early on in their life will not only greatly impact their wellbeing and lifestyle as they age but it’ll also keep you healthier and happier for longer as a family. When working on your fitness, studies show that it is so much easier to start and stick to a plan when you have someone who can hold you accountable. Your teenager is growing, learning responsibility, and being able to encourage and motivate each other on this journey will increase your physical and mental wellness and simultaneously create stronger bonds and memories that will last a lifetime.
No matter how you stay active this summer, let’s keep things simple! Whether you’re running, jumping, or walking to your next activity as long as your together and moving, you’re bound to have the best summer yet.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, and active summer.