Hear that? It’s the collective cry of moms everywhere as their kids are released from school for the summer and carefully curated routines and schedules crumble under the weight of construction paper crafts and final report cards being returned home. Summer vacation is a blessing and a curse, and more so the former for those who can embrace the madness.
Turning these lemons into lemonade may require a little ingenuity and planning...and exercise...but is totally worth it for you and the kids.
Most moms are quick to usher their kids outside because little bodies need to move. Totally true, but here’s an interesting finding...kids are as active (or sedentary) as their parents. Apparently do as I say not as I do doesn’t apply to moving those tiny bodies if mom and dad are kicked back and relaxing.
The study was conducted by Vanderbilt University Medical Center and found that for every sedentary minute by the parent, the child increased sedentary behavior by one-tenth of a minute. That can add up during the long days of summer. The more inactive mom and dad are, the more inactive the kids are. Conversely, the more active parents are, the more active the kids are!
The study found an optimal 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) each day improved total physical activity, and the host of benefits that go with it, for both child and parent.
If you want the kids to move this summer, you’re very likely going to need to get in there with them. We don’t see a downside, though. Including kids in your well-established fitness routines means you don’t have to wait until Labor Day to get back to it. You also create a beautiful foundation for a love of physical activity that kids aren’t likely to outgrow. The biggest bonus? You’re spending quality time together during their break and creating some fun memories together.
Invite your kids to join in your usual yoga, Zumba, or run, or try some new MVPAs to keep you and the kids moving this summer.
MAKE A SPLASH
Don’t just bob around in the water, elevate those heart rates with exciting water games that can engage the entire family (and a lot of muscles)!
- Sharks and Minnows
- Marco Polo
- Water Volleyball or Basketball
- Cannonball Contests
- Water gun hide and seek
HAVE A BALL
Classic yard games and toys can introduce some friendly competition. These games are done just as easily in your own backyard as they are a neighborhood park (or roadside picnic area during a rest stop).
- Flag football
- Hula hoop dance party
AT THE PARK
You could catch up on your favorite summer book on the bench, or get up and feel like a kid again. Join the kids for playtime and build a little upper-body strength, too.
- Race backward up the slide
- Create an obstacle course, winner gets a popsicle!
- Push each other on the swings
- Hang around the monkey bars
- Play hopscotch
GTFO THE HOUSE
Cabin fever isn’t just for cold and cozy winters. Look beyond your own backyard for fun and adventure in the sun this summer.
- Take a hike
- Climb a local indoor rock wall
- Run or walk a themed 5K as a family
- Go kayaking
- Do stand-up paddle boarding
- Go horseback riding (yes, it’s a workout!)
- Take a bike ride
- Go roller skating
- Go bowling