By Michelle LaRowe
The snow is finally melting and schools across the country are entering their final months before the long days of summer. Rather than packing the kids off to camp or settling in for a long summer in front of the television, incorporate fun and fitness into your family’s summer plans. This summer, commit to increasing your children’s and your own endurance, stamina, and physical fitness with these five fun activities.
Go for a Hike
Whether your family treks up a mountain or takes a scenic walk to a waterfall, admiring the wonders of nature by a walk in the woods is a no-cost, fun activity that increases fitness for children of all ages. The National Trail System boasts more than 50,000 miles of public trails with hikes available for all fitness levels and abilities. Young children may benefit from a small one mile loop while older children can hike up multi-mile inclines. Don’t spend your days off in front of the television; take the family, kids, pets, and all, for a hike!
Join a Team
Just because schools don’t offer sports year round doesn’t mean your kids can’t enjoy the benefits of team activities in the summer. Local clubs offer everything from soccer to swimming during the dog days of summer. Kids not only get the opportunity to meet new playmates and learn new skills but also increase their coordination and physical performance in team sports. Parents can get involved by coaching a team; helping everyone in the family to learn more about sportsmanship and to increase their physical activity level.
Family Dance Party
Improving your family’s fitness doesn’t have to be boring. On rainy days or long, lazy nights, throw a family dance party to get everyone moving. Assign a dance style to each song, like ballet, ballroom, or rock concert, and see what moves each family member can come up with. Create a fun and funky playlist, get out the glow sticks and disco lights, and go to town showing off your best moves.
Increasing your physical activity doesn’t require much money or even leaving your backyard. All those games you enjoyed playing as a child can be just as fun for your own children to play- especially if you play too. Gather up the family for some backyard games that require little more than a ball and some running. Freeze Tag, Kick Ball, and Spud are highly physical but incredibly simple games for families of all ages and sizes. Even a simple game of catch improves hand-eye coordination and gets muscles warmed up.
Strap on Some Wheels
Don’t limit fun to what you can accomplish on your own two feet! Bikes, scooters, and skateboards all provide a fun way to burn some extra calories and get kids moving. Head to a local roller skating rink to spend an afternoon racing around the track to golden oldies and improving balance. Incorporating wheels not only provides speed and fun but allows kids to improve their endurance.
Now that the weather is warmer, it’s the perfect time for families to recommit themselves to staying active and healthy. Not only do these activities provide needed physical activity, but they can also strengthen family bonds when you do them together.
– With over 20 years of experience in the nanny world as an award-winning nanny, agency director, and parenting author, Michelle LaRowe is considered a leading industry expert. A mom herself, she loves to educate parents and nannies on the importance of quality in-home childcare. Find out more by visiting @eNannySource on Twitter.