Best Summer Sports for Kids
Summer time and the living is easy, but if you want to keep your kids active this summer, consider challenging them with some fun outdoor activities to keep them moving.
Chicago-based Holistic Wellness Coach Erin Clifford, said "A fabulous way to get your children moving this summer is to send them out to play with their dogs." She offered some activities to get Fido and your kids moving. "Get your family and pup together for a nature hike at your local forest preserve. Exploring the great outdoors is terrific exercise and it can be educational. You can even make a game out of it. Each family member is tasked with naming animal species and plant life. Whoever identifies the most names wins!"
Clifford also suggested:
- Go to the park (or backyard) and have your child play games with his or her pup.
- Set up 5-6 markers such as cones 25 yards apart.
- Sprint from one marker and back. That’s one repetition.
- Then go to the second marker and back for another repetition and so on, until your child hits all the markers.
- Rest 5 minutes.
- Repeat the drill up to 3 times.
Encourage your child to increase his or her speed over the summer months. You can even setup additional sets of cones and make a contest out of it for other friends and family members.
Take a tennis ball or Frisbee out into the backyard and have your child play fetch with his or her dog.
Have your child teach his best buddy commands like sit, stay, rollover, high-five, play dead, etc.
Fly a Kite
Both your child and your pup will be drawn to chasing the colorful display in the sky. It promotes exercise and is lots of fun.
Hide and Seek
A great way to keep both your child and your dog happy is to play hide and seek. Dogs love the thrill of finding their “lost” owners and children are forever amused by finding clever hiding spots in and outside the home.
- Swimming is a great summer activity and beats lounging on the couch playing video games. Enjoy the sun by hitting a dog beach or lake for an afternoon swim with your child and your pup. You can even bring along a float toy to play catch in the water. If you have a pool, children and dogs love to swim in there as well. Just make sure to wash the chlorine out afterwards!
Thea Runyan, the co-founder of Kurbo, a mobile health coaching and digital weight management program for families spent the past 15+ years as head of coaching for Stanford’s renowned Pediatric Obesity Management Program working with thousands of kids and parents across the country. Here are a few of her suggestions:
- Trampoline park: Kids get a thrill from this unconventional way of getting their heart rate up. Jumping up and down and letting lose is a sneaky way to get your kid to move without needing to call it exercise and it’s typically a cool place to go when the temperatures start to rise.
- Rollerblade/skate parks: Whether it's inline skates, scooters or skateboards, the legs have to work hard to get the body moving. Skate parks a safe place for kids to have fun without the worry of cars – as long as they wear padding and a helmet!
- Rock climbing: There is nothing more fun for a kid than to put on a harness and climb their way up a wall. With muscles constantly flexed, and the need to pull your own body weight makes this activity a great form of exercise. There are great indoor climbing walls in most major cities.
- Fencing: Sparring is not as easy as it looks, elevates heart rate, and learning to use a sword is a bonus for any kid. Get your child involved in their own health with fencing lessons.
- Martial arts: Martial arts are not just a great form of exercise, it teaches kids self-awareness, the importance of discipline, community, and inner strength.
- Treasure hunt with Geocoaches (this is app based but outside): Going on a treasure hunt is a fun thing to do as a family or with friends. This app based activity takes you outside and walking around to find your treasure with the added bonus of being out and about walking around.
- Gardening: Gardening is not a huge cardiovascular workout, but it does force you to move muscles that you don't normally use. Take your child to pick out some plants and tools and get them planting, growing, and raking.
Too tired to challenge them on your own? 4-H summer camps provide an outdoor summer program that combine learning and sports- from swimming to putt-putt to nature trail and night hikes.