12 Creative Ways to Help Your Kids Have a Healthier Summer from 12 Creative Ways to Help Your Kids Have a Healthier Summer
12 Creative Ways to Help Your Kids Have a Healthier Summer
12 Creative Ways to Help Your Kids Have a Healthier Summer
No doubt, summer should be a time for kids to relax and recharge while they enjoy their freedom from a structured school year routine. While it’s certainly a time to let loose and maybe even break some rules, it’s also the perfect opportunity to learn about important healthy habits, like spending time outside and eating fresh fruits and veggies.
Of course, when things like video games, the Internet, TV shows and ice cream have the majority of their attention during this time of year, getting your kids remotely interested in anything else can pose a real challenge. So, what can you do to make sure your kids stay healthy and happy while still enjoying their summertime freedom?
As a parent, one of the first and most important steps is to simply set a good example. “Let them see you making the healthier choices,” says holistic health coach Ann Musico. “The example you set carries more weight than you realize.”
And from there, you can try incorporating some of the following creative, expert-suggested ideas— all intended to help you help your kids enjoy some truly healthy summertime fun.
Go on a Storytelling Hike
“Find a kid-friendly hike or walk nearby,” suggests Julie Austin, creator of the kid-friendly wrist water bottle, Swiggies. “Go with several friends. One person starts a story and the next person picks up where they left off. By the end of the hike or walk you should have a very interesting story.” Austin says infusing creativity into outdoor activities can help to develop better brain functions.
Build a Mini Golf Course in Your Backyard
“The very first miniature golf course was made out of stove pipes and wagon wheels,” said Ausitn. “You could be creative and use decorated boxes and cardboard with holes cut out.” Lisa Baker-King, a nationally recognized and televised family author and coach adds, “Connect critical thinking skills and creativity by having the kids build a mini golf course. The trick is they can't use any 'real' golf items. Use plastic cups, sticks and a small bouncy ball. [It’s] geometry in action!”
Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand
“Boredom, curiosity, hunger, or even the cold blast of air from the fridge drives kids into the kitchen,” explains Judy Barbe, an award-winning registered dietitian and author of “Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest, Simple Solutions for Fresh Food & Well-Being.” “But it’s not all bad because snacks can help provide the energy and nutrients they need.” Barbe suggests making sure that wholesome snacks made with fruits, veggies and other nutrient-dense foods are kept readily on hand. “Making snacks visible, convenient and delicious are three solutions to keep your kids eating right this summer,” she added. A few of her favorite kid-friendly, healthy snack include: cucumber slices with bean dip, cinnamon raisin toast with ricotta cheese, mashed avocado on whole grain crackers, cantaloupe cubes with yogurt, apple slices with hummus and “watermelon slush”—watermelon cubes blended with banana and ice.
Grow a Garden
“Let [your kids] help you cultivate a garden,” suggests Musico. “There are some very easy veggies to grow that they will enjoy harvesting and eating.”
When it comes to introducing new foods and snacks, Musico suggests making small, simple changes one at a time. “Change one thing at a time—introduce them to a sugar-free healthy lemonade sweetened with Stevia instead of soda, replace potato chips at lunch with kale chips or French fries with baked sweet potato fries.”
Indulge in Ice Cream Alternatives
Make a Splash
Even if you don’t have your own pool, there are plenty of ways for you kids to spend some quality time in the water. “Get them out of the house by taking them to the local public pool,” suggests Hunt. “If you don't have a local pool or a pool of your own already you can buy a pool from a big box store for rather cheap. Swimming is something most kids like to do and it’s not only a great workout, but it’s also a great way to cool off on a hot summer day.”
Have Fun with Fido
If you have a dog and your kids are old enough, Hunt suggests letting them take over the responsibility of taking your family pet for a walk. Not only will this get them moving around outside, but it can also help to teach them responsibility. Or, “, if [your kids] are younger just have them come with you while you walk the dog,” Hunt suggests.
Get Involved with Summer Sports Leagues
What better way to keep your kids active through the summer than by getting them involved with sports? Many leagues offer programs that run exclusively through the summer; it’s the perfect way to keep them busy while they learn about team work and discover new activities they enjoy.
Yoga for Kids
Nityda Bhakti, a vinyasa yoga teacher of nine years and a licensed psychotherapist based in New York City, suggests getting your kids involved with a lighthearted yoga routine. “It's a great way to get kids doing something beneficial not only for their physical health but their mental health as well,” Bhakti explained. “Yoga boosts body awareness and yoga-related research has shown a positive correlation between a regular yoga practice and body image. This is important for everyone, but particularly young girls.” She says that by building confidence and self-esteem yoga can play a role in decreasing bullying behaviors among kids and also teaches mindfulness, which can help kids make smart choices about their health, “including the peers with whom they choose to associate and what they choose to eat,” Bhakti added.
Guided Breathing at Bedtime
“My favorite way to help children unwind is through guided breathing at bedtime,” says Amira Gaynor, founder and chief manager of Namaste Kid. She explains, “Have children settle into a comfortable position, and think about a favorite moment from the day, then share with them your favorite moment from the day. Ask them to take a few deep breaths, while they allow that memory to settle into their hearts to keep it safe. Then have them think about the calming parts of night—the stars, the moon, happy dreams. Tell children to feel the night air gently touch the tops of their heads, as it helps to bring them sleep. Slowly make your way down their bodies, as you have the night air touch their noses, their chins, their chests and every body part down to the tips of their toes. Every few steps, remind children to breathe the night air in and out, while modeling the deep breath. This will help to put children in the best place to get a restful night of sleep and be ready to go the next morning.”