Keeping your kids active during the summer break can be challenging. Some days, my kids just want to hang out on the couch with their Ipad or Switch all day long.
While I can appreciate sloth mode on hot summer days, it’s not really how I want my kids to spend the next few months. Besides, I can enjoy my own post-bedtime screen time guilt-free if I know that I’ve kept the kids engaged during the day. Here are some ideas to help keep your kids active this summer.
How to Keep Your Kids Active
Enforce Screen Time Limits
I would guess that this is probably one of the biggest battles most parents face during the summer. I know it’s already a struggle for me during the school year, and summertime just makes it worse.
I’m going to warn you now – your kids are probably going to hate you for this one, at least in the beginning.
But setting and enforcing screen time limits has been one of the biggest keys to keeping my kids engaged during the summer months.
Once they get over the initial anger (and tantrums) of not getting as much screen time as they want, it’s amazing to see how well they start entertaining themselves and using their imaginations.
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This takes away the power struggle and “just five more minutes” arguments that always seem to happen when I’m busy cooking dinner or working on something important.
Make sure that your kids are aware of how long their screen time limits are, and help them with budgeting their time.
Younger kids will have a harder time figuring out just how long fifteen minutes is; older kids may need to be reminded that they need to set an alarm because they were only going to play Minecraft for thirty minutes of their screen time.
I always encourage the kids to use their screen time during the afternoons. Chores get done in the mornings, and then screen time for when it’s too hot to go outside.
Get Some Fun Water Activities for Your Yard
One of the most fun things to do in the summer is to play in the pool and try to keep cool. Unfortunately, this year, most community and public pools will be closed due to the pandemic.
That means all of us who don’t have a pool will have to find an alternative. We normally go to the pool at our gym but sadly this year we won’t be able to.
Fortunately there are some good alternatives.
Here are some of my favorite water toys to help you keep cool:
Even one of those little toddler pools gives kids a fun way to play in the water once in a while. It’s a good way to cool off.
Sitting in a chair with feet in the water while reading a book is a start for kiddos who don’t want to be too active in the heat, and you may be surprised to find your bigger kids trying to splash each other.
Alternately, water balloon fights are great ways to cool off while running around the back yard. You can’t build snowball-fight style forts, but you can get creative with the landscaping in your yard!
These water balloons are fantastic because you can fill up 20 at once and they self-seal.
Invest in Outdoor Games
It doesn’t matter if your kids are older or younger; outdoor games are a great way to get them playing and laughing outside. For little kids, cornhole, or ring toss. For older kids, giant Jenga or Frisbee golf.
Here are some of our family favorites:
Go On Nature Walks
Nature walks can be around your neighborhood or in open spaces in your region. They give your kids a chance to see nature in all of her incredible glory.
Funky caterpillars, fluffy bunnies, and gorgeous birds are just waiting to be found on your expeditions.
Older kids can be encouraged to draw or take pictures during your walks. Open spaces may be small areas designed for wildlife protection or around a historical area, or they may be national parks.
Many are free and may take days to explore in full, giving you plenty of time for adventures. Google “Open Space Near Me” to find your first stop.
Start a Family Fitness Fest
It can be really difficult for kids to be active if we’re telling them “hey, you should go for a walk.” They may not be motivated. But if we’re doing things with them, they may find it much easier.
Use an app or Amazon Prime to find a fitness program that works for you all. You may even find some surprising side effects. The first time I did a yoga video with my kids, we were all a mess.
We didn’t know the poses, the transitions seemed really fast, and none of us were flexible enough to manage some of the things the woman in the video could do.
We laughed a lot. But the next day, we did it again. We got a bit better, but we still laughed and had fun.
Now, every time we watch a new video, it’s a bit of a competition to see who can do the poses correctly the first time through. Someone always ends up starting to laugh, and we’re all laughing by the end.
If you have smaller kids, check out all the workout videos on YouTube. There are so many good ones that parents and preschoolers can do together. Here’s a peek of one we had fun with.
Something that I really want you to keep in mind is that I’m writing this as a guide to try to help other moms with activities for the summer.
That does not mean that you are a bad parent if your kids aren’t doing activities all day long, every single day! We definitely won’t be doing these kinds of things every single day.
There are going to be plenty of days where my kids and I will be too lazy to do much of anything. There will be days my son plays video games all day, and I won’t even care.
Staying active during the hot summer months can be challenging. Hopefully, these ideas can help guide you through the rough times when all your family wants to do is hang out and vegetate on the couch or complain about being bored!
Have a wonderful summer!
P.S. If you feel that this is something that would be helpful for your friends and family, please share on your favorite social media platforms. Thanks so much for your support!