Sometimes, school being out is a bummer for both parents and kids. Your routine changes and you might find yourself in a rut. Whether you are social distancing because of COVID-19 or have the kids home from school for the summer, you can use these healthy activities for kids to keep everyone active and happy.
1. Go On Neighborhood Walks
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children ages 6 and older need 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Most kids don’t get it and it’s even harder for some when they don’t have PE at school. Going on walks is one of the easiest healthy activities for kids when they’re out of school. Make it a daily activity that you do with your kids so that physical activity is part of each day. You don’t have to venture out very far. Start with exploring your neighborhood (as long as there are safe places to walk). See if you can plan out different routes down side streets instead of taking the same path every day.
2. Cook Together
Healthy activities for kids aren’t limited to things that get kids moving. Including them in preparing and serving a healthy meal is a good idea for several reasons. Firstly, it can encourage good nutrition. You can also practice skills like reading, counting, measuring, keeping time, and following directions while cooking using a recipe. Letting kids be hands-on may also help with introducing them to new foods. They’re more likely to try something that they helped prepare and are proud of.
3. Discover Local Trails & Parks
While exploring the neighborhood on walks is a good daily activity, getting out to a local park or hiking trail when you can is a good healthy activity. Check your local parks and recreation site or other community resources for places that would be fun to explore.
*During times when social distancing is a priority, staying away from public places is not a good idea. It’s best to stay at home. If you do go out, make sure you follow all official rules and do not visit parks or hike trails that have been closed.
4. Plant a Garden
Sometimes healthy activities for kids involve getting your hands dirty (literally). Whether you have room for flower beds or just a couple of potted plants, try growing something together. Planting a family garden is a good way to get kids out in the fresh air, but that’s not the only benefit. Depending on the size of the garden, they may get some exercise digging and planting. It can also be an opportunity to learn about different plants and how they grow. If you have space, consider growing some vegetables to incorporate into the meals you cook together. Get tips on gardening with kids here.
5. Dance Breaks
A lot of kids love to get moving by dancing. Create a playlist of upbeat songs that kids will like to boogie down. Put it on a few times a day and have family dance breaks. It is a good way to get the wiggles out and have some fun if you are stuck doing homeschooling. It also works during summer vacation if you find everyone being a couch potato.
6. Ride Bikes
Bike rides are a tried-and-true way to help kids stay active and healthy. Family rides will get you outside and moving. Just make sure you find a place that’s safe to ride away from traffic. You can alternate your daily walks with bike rides to shake things up.
7. Water Wars
When the weather warms up, a whole new category of healthy activities for kids opens up: fun with water! Of course, swimming is a great exercise, but there is more you can do when going to the pool isn’t an option. One way to be active and get wet is to have a water war. Fill up water balloons, fill up water pistols, and get out the hose. You can create games of chase with a race to a “base” or just have a free-for-all running around the yard.
8. Family Field Day
Just because school is out doesn’t mean you can get inspiration from school activities. Have your own family field day right in your yard. It will get everyone active so they can burn off some energy. Embrace a little healthy competition with events like tug of war, relay races, balloon toss, sponge relays, and old-fashioned foot races. You can find some more field day game inspiration at Fun Learning for Kids.
At HealthPark Pediatrics, we are committed to caring for our patients, especially in trying or uncertain times. While we agree that it’s best to stay home, if your child needs to see the pediatrician, we will work hard to accommodate your needs. Call our Raleigh, NC office at (919) 896-7076 to talk to a team member about making an appointment.