Guest Piece By: Grace Derocha, registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and certified health coach at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
It doesn’t take long for summer boredom to set in once the school year ends. Children may find it difficult to keep themselves busy, and often end up falling into a pattern of mindless or sedentary behavior. Before that happens, consider some of these simple and fun ways to keep kids active and engaged throughout the next few months.
Make A Summer Bucket List
Talk to friends and neighbors, or research to find fun summer activities the family would enjoy. From there, write each event/activity on a popsicle stick and pull one stick from a mason jar whenever the family is looking for an adventure.
- Clubs, Camps and Classes: Keep an eye out for summer activities that span over a period of weeks or days. Not only does it help children get a break from the house, it’s an opportunity to discover new interests, improve social skills, boost self-confidence and encourage teamwork.
- Local Events: Nearby parks, pools and businesses often host family-friendly events throughout summer. These activities are typically posted on company websites, flyers and shared by Michigan family bloggers.
- Volunteer: Be sure to explore local charity organizations that provide opportunities for the family to give back. Becoming involved in the community is a great learning experience and discourages unruly
Creative Brain Work
Don’t let summer be an excuse for children to shut their brains off. Though leisure time is important, there are many ways to incorporate brainwork during the summer.
- Cooking: Believe it or not, kitchen time can be an opportunity to develop listening skills, better eating habits and an early understanding of basic math and science. Throughout the summer, develop recipes together or host a family cook-off to see who can make the best meal from ingredients around the house.
- Healthy Screen Time: From active video games to movie charades, there are many ways to get kids moving that incorporate screen time. On rainy days, keep everyone active by hosting an indoor scavenger hunt that uses cell phones as a means of debunking “clues” and photographing finds.
- Household Helper: Summer is a great time to teach kids new responsibilities around the house. Depending on age, consider having them lend a hand with gardening/landscaping, car washing and/or basic household duties including cleaning, laundry, dishes, etc. Make a chore board together to keep track of accomplished tasks.
- Journaling: According to S. News and World Report, expressive writing is beneficial to emotional, mental and physical well-being for people of all ages. Keeping a diary or encouraging children to write on a regular basis can help them better process positive/negative thoughts or feelings while improving written and verbal communication skills. Inspire them with a “Question of the Day” or have them write a song, poem or movie script to get their thoughts on paper.
Grace Derocha is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and certified health coach at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. For more health tips, visit AHealthierMichigan.org.
*Bio picture courtesy of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan