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5 Steps to Keep Kids Fit and Active This Summer

It's the first day of summer break and 2 hours into the day you hear from your child "I'm bored".   Your initial reaction is to scream "Are you serious?"  Instead try taking a different approach by planning fun and active activities throughout the summer! Keeping your kids fit and active this summer is going to be easy with these 5 simple steps. 

You don't have to turn off the TV and electronics completely, but time limits help both parents and children.  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids older than 2 limit their screen time to no more than 2 hours a day.  Work together with your child to let them help decide which two hours of the day they would like to watch TV or play on their electronics.   If they help make the rule then they should be more likely to follow the rule. 

Before school is out ask teachers for summer packets that can help children practice what they learned throughout the year.   Scavenger hunts with tricky clues help older kids use their brain power and games such as Hopscotch, Four Square and Hide-and-Go-Seek are fun toddler games that promote counting.  Also, make reading a daily habit. There are many summer reading programs that kids can earn a prize for consistent reading.  Children learn when their brain is active even if they are reading fun and easy books. 

Using household items in different ways promotes creativity and movement.  Use boxes to build forts outside or a broom for limbo.  Use pots and pans for a quick parade or use clean spray bottles as a simple water gun.  Have them be creative which will help get their minds engaged.

Plan an outside picnic with healthy finger foods that include ants on a log or a favorite called…"The Melted Snowman".  In a plastic bag put two pealed hard boiled eggs, a long carrot stick and a few pretzel sticks and raisins.  Have kids put together their own melted snowman!    
Any time kids are outside make sure they are drinking plenty of water before, during and after physical activity to avoid dehydration. For low-calorie flavor, add slices of your favorite fruits such as melon, oranges, berries or even cucumber or mint to a pitcher of water and refrigerate for two hours.

Socializing with peers is important in the process of personality formation.  Kids miss their friends in the summer and this is the exact moment when you'll hear the dreaded phrase "I'm bored".   Try to schedule summer camps, play dates and social activities so kids can keep growing, learning and building lifelong friendships. 

* According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children need 60 minutes of physical activity each day, including aerobic and muscle strengthening activities,

For more information about Kids Camp and other Kids Programs contact Jared Englert, Youth Activities Supervisor, 724.250.5202 or jenglert@whs.org

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