Stuck in a rut with your kids this summer? Don’t let them slip into a video game induced coma. Here are some ideas to keep them mentally and physically engaged through the sweltering heat. And who knows? It might get you (the parent) moving and having fun too!
Summer is here which means; ‘California here we come’! Well, maybe for some of us and, if we’re lucky, for a week or two. But it is the remaining eight weeks that present a challenge of what to do with our kids. Trying to keep them active can be tough; especially when it reaches 115 degrees outside.
When exploring possibilities of keeping my two kids engaged, I decided to consult directly with them. Their response spoke volumes as to the challenges we face as parents. They stated: “it sounds like you want to keep us from being bored.” Yes, they are largely correct, but keeping them active involves more than just avoiding boredom. It is about stimulating their minds, keeping them moving and encouraging activities that promote health and well-being.
The first thought is typically the pool. Swimming is a great activity that will certainly fatigue your kids. But it does get hot out and eventually they will want something else. Another common staple is the television. However, allowing our kids to camp out in front of the TV for hours can lead to disengagement and suddenly all other ideas become “boring”.
There are scores of camps around the valley that range from general activities to those focusing on specific topics such as music, art, space or sports. Camps generally last between one and nine weeks. Many of the “themed” camps last only a couple of hours a day.
Here are some additional ideas for keeping your kids active and engaged this summer:
Arrange play dates. When kids are with friends, they have a way of creating their own excitement. Siblings seem less likely to argue and social skills are developed, benefiting them later in life. Try encouraging your kids to write and direct their own play and be their enthusiastic audience.
Introduce a new board game. My seven-year-old daughter loves Monopoly, Upwords and card games. These games teach math skills, planning, spelling, thought and creativity.
Get moving. Encourage young ones to exercise with you and get creative. A favorite for my kids is having an impromptu dance party. Pick some music your kids like, pump it up on the stereo and dance. Who cares if it’s Justin Bieber and you are playing the same song eight times in a row! Your kids will have a blast; especially when they see you letting loose and acting like a kid again.
Visit a local craft store. Brands such as Creatology have a variety of wooden models kids can put together without requiring any gluing. There are also books and kits that teach how to make a number of paper airplanes and origami figurines. Girls also may like trying out the craft jewelry kits.
Chill out. There’s an abundance of “cool” things to do around town in air-conditioned buildings such as ice skating, rock climbing, and indoor play areas. The Science Center has several interactive rooms. The Musical Instrument Museum is beautiful, entertaining and has an area where kids can play many of the instruments that are on display.
Hit the road. Plan a day or overnight trip by exploring your state map. There are plenty of state parks with ruins, petro glyphs, gold mines, and ghost towns to visit. Keep in mind that timing is essential due to the summer heat.
It is important to remember that keeping kids active requires thought and some advance planning by you. Sometimes our children need to be guided through the day, which means getting involved. But, that is what makes it even more fulfilling for everyone!
For more information on Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy and Foothills Acceleration and Sports Training (FAST®), visit www.foothillsrehab.com.