10 Ways to Get Your Family Active This Summer
By Carolyn Gooderham
Summer is the time to get outside and get active! After a long, cold winter most people increase their level of physical activity, but many children will soon grow tired of playing in their own backyard. Parents can inspire children to remain active throughout the year by integrating physical activity into everyday routines and special outings.
The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology recommends minimum amounts of physical activity based on age group, and suggests limitations on screen time. Along with recommendations from the SickKids Centre for Healthy Active Kids, families are more prepared than ever to keep active!
- Children under the age of two should not be exposed to screen time, while children aged 2-4 should be limited to one hour a day. School-age children and teenagers should be limited to two hours of recreational screen time (recognizing they may be required to use screens at school).
- Physical activity for infants includes tummy time, reaching for toys and crawling.
- Limit sedentary behavior in children 0-5 to less than an hour at a time (including sitting in a high chair, play pen, or infant seat).
- Children aged 5-11 years should be active for at least 60 minutes a day at a moderate to vigorous intensity, with vigorous intensity activities occurring at least three times per week.
- Reduced screen time (i.e. below the maximum allowed per age group) is associated with greater health benefits.
10 Summer Activity Ideas for Children & Families
- Plant a garden, or check out a garden in your local community
- Do yard work together, or wash a car by hand
- Check out spring programs for youth and families*
- Form a neighborhood basketball night
- Walk whenever possible (a short trip to the store, to school)
- Tune up your bike (or check out bike sharing) to explore paths around your community
- Go on a nature walk to see and learn about the beautiful flowering trees and plants
- Pack a picnic and a kite for a trip to the park
- Plan family outings to the zoo, the beach, or other local attractions
- Visit local galleries, shops and flea markets – window shopping is a great way to get active!
*Extra tip: Many gyms offer free or reduced summer memberships to teens when school is out of session. Inquire at your local gym!