by Cara Morello
Director of Administration/Operations, Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA
Summer is the ideal time for kids to get up, get out, and explore. But, for some kids, summer means no access to recreational and educational activities to help them learn, grow, and thrive during out-of-school time. As a result, some kids can experience learning loss and gain weight twice as fast than during the school year (Y USA, 2016).
Keeping kids active and engaged over the course of the summer will help combat some of the barriers that arise during the summer season. Being active doesn’t have to be boring or strenuous – contrary to what most believe. There are options for any kid, and any parent, to have fun this summer, instead of being in front of the television or computer.
Parents may consider a summer camp program for their child that ensures campers are moving throughout the day; and are exposed to educational or stimulating activities to help prevent summer learning loss. But what happens after the camp day? What happens on the weekends? What about those children who don’t attend day camp? Sure, the kids who attend camp are active during their camp day, but does it all stop when they get home? Being active shouldn’t be confined to one place, or a certain time. Being active can be a part of a child’s daily routine if they are encouraged and shown how to play!
Summer is the perfect time to encourage kids to explore and find something new. Whether it be a day spent outside exploring the yard or neighborhood, or a trip to a park to play or trail walk, they are not only moving, but are also in an environment that screams “there’s something interesting wherever you look!” A trip to the local library to find new books and read about new places and lands is also a great activity.
There’s a new opportunity everywhere you look for kids to be active, it just takes the time and commitment to ensure their summer is filled with engaging activities. Parent support and participation are often critical to the success of keeping kids active. Without parental involvement, children are often set up to spend an entire summer not getting nearly enough activity that is required!
Here are some thoughts to keep in mind this summer when planning your child’s days:
Making a case for your child to remain active during the summer is easy – we all know that they should be moving. Not sure how to incorporate more activity into your child’s day? Here are some suggestions for a fun AND active summer!