By Cammie Jones
It’s summer! The first few days after school are blissful — the kids are happy, sleeping late, excited about the long, lazy days of summer and upcoming camps and vacation time. All is well for a week or so and then, BOOM, the summer boredoms set in. It’s too hot to go outside and all the events that were so much fun at the beginning of the summer are getting old. How can you keep your kids active, safe and happy in the summer heat?
Exercise in the Early Morning / Evening
If you have kids who need to get outside, it can still be done in 90 degree heat. Just make sure to head out in the morning hours before it gets too hot or after dinner when it is still light outside. Tune in to the daily forecast to know the temps before you plan your day – if the meteorologist calls for a cool (or warm) breeze, then schedule some playtime or a walk or bike ride outside during this timeframe. Wear light colored clothing and bring plenty of cold water to keep your child cool and hydrated.
Apply your sunscreen and head to an activity that involves water. Go to the pool or lake and let the kids swim, dive and enjoy the day. To keep them moving, bring a soccer ball or football or diving toys the kids can swim under water to retrieve. Play games around the pool such as Marco Polo and don’t forget to take snack and water breaks – even if your child seems okay, he or she can still be getting dehydrated.
If you are stuck at home, set up a plastic pool, fill it with water from your hose and let the kids have fun in the sun. Again, don’t forget the sunscreen! For some good old-fashioned fun, turn on the sprinklers and let the children run through them. With young children, a water table is a great way to keep cool and entertain at the same time. Or, fill up water balloons, invite the neighbor kids and have a water balloon war in your yard. Make sure you are there to supervise as the lifeguard on duty.
When the pool is getting old, plan an activity that may not be in your usual repertoire. You can go bowling, jump at a trampoline park or skate at the local skating rink. Head to the mall and let the kids play in the inside jungle gym area. See if there are any fitness classes for kids in the area and join that class using a one day pass or join for the month. There are many ways to still be active inside if the weather is just too hot to head outdoors.
If you need to stay at home, play hide-and-go-seek, set up an obstacle course in your house for the kids to run through or set up your own “gym class” that the kids can do. Use your imagination. You can even stage a dance party and let the kids go wild to their favorite music. An inside scavenger hunt that is timed so they have to run to find each item is also a good way to get the children away from the TV or their electronics for a little calorie burning activity.
Plan a Day / Overnight Trip
If your budget and schedule allow, head out of town for the day for a change of pace. Go to Riverbanks Zoo or Edventure in Columbia, SC. Head to Statesboro, GA and hit the water slide park. Stone Mountain is a great place to take the kids – you can climb Stone Mountain, do the ropes course and see the laser light show at night. Head to the beach or the mountains for some more family fun. Keeping things fresh and exciting will get the kids out of the summer doldrums and allow them to keep active without knowing that is your goal!
Chores Around the House
If you have kids old enough to help around the house, include a chore day to keep the kids active. There are many cleaning activities that burn calories: sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, putting away toys, folding laundry, etc. Incorporate your daily household chores as part of your children’s day. It’s a win-win situation – they are not just sitting around and you are marking things off your to do list!
This article appears in the July/June 2018 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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