Summertime means many things for parents. Extra time with children, more time in the sun, family vacations… the list goes on. Thinking about how to keep kids busy (and reducing screentime) while out of the classroom may feel like a daunting task. However, there are many ways to keep children active in the summer heat while staying safe and having fun!
Why is being active important?
Prioritizing an active lifestyle has many benefits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says physical activity has immediate health benefits, such as better sleep and reduced stress and anxiety. Regular physical activity can also decrease depression and reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. For young people, sports offer additional avenues to more physical activity and improved mental health. Youth who participate in sports may enjoy psychosocial health benefits beyond the benefits they gain from other forms of leisure-time physical activity. No matter how you or your kids are being active in the summertime, those endorphins will skyrocket.
Best summer activities for you and your family
Play in the water
Sunlight can offer you vitamin D and may even boost your mood. Studies also show that for kids, spending time in nature can build confidence, promote creativity, and reduce stress and fatigue. But while spending time outdoors in the summer heat, it is important to stay cool. That is why water activities are a great way to enjoy the outdoors as temperatures rise. Here are some ideas:
- Set up a sprinkler on the lawn and let your kids (and dogs) run through.
- Toss some water balloons.
- Soak some sponges in a bucket of water and toss them back and forth.
- Spend some time in a lake, pool, river, or ocean. There are over 2,000 lakes and rivers right here in Arkansas!
Spending time as a family outdoors can increase the bond you have with your children, help them learn about the world around them, and improve their mental health. In today’s stressful world, kids may be feeling all sorts of new emotions that can be difficult for young minds to process. The summertime is an opportunity for them to take a break from the daily stress they may be feeling and get some reprieve with family time – which could lead to a healthier lifestyle. Some great options include:
- Planting a garden
- Riding bikes
- Backyard picnic
- Sports games like baseball or kickball
- Washing the family car
- Taking a neighborhood walk
- Going on a hike
Staying cool in the summer heat
While spending time outdoors has many benefits for us and our children, it is important to do it safely. Here are some ways to ensure a memorable experience for the whole family, while keeping an eye on our health.
- Stay in shaded areas during peak sunlight hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Arkansas often reaches over 100 degrees in the summer months.
- Use sunscreen and sun-protective clothing. Use both as directed.
- Drink water frequently to stay well hydrated. When we’re active, we need extra water to replenish our bodies.
- Homemade popsicles can be a great way to enjoy a healthy and refreshing snack.
Summer Wellness for All Arkansans
At Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, we believe that safely enjoying physical activity and quality time with family can positively impact physical and mental health. We are committed to developing strategies to improve whole-person health for all Arkansans. By working together to focus on the health of our children, our families, and ourselves, we can help create healthier communities and healthier people.