If you are looking for ways to entertain your children this summer that don’t include sedentary activities like watching television or playing video games, consider becoming a “local tourist” in your own hometown. Vacations can be a great time to explore all that your hometown has to offer.
Participating in nearby activities or events can be a great way to get your family off the couch, out of the house and on the road to becoming more physically active.
Many cities and towns host summer festivals, farmers’ markets, outdoor concerts (with dancing), museum exhibits, summer holiday celebrations and family-based activities, and best of all—many are free.
When planning your family’s active tour, here are some suggestions that you may want to consider:
Shop local. Use local, in-season ingredients to make healthy family meals. A trip to a lively farmers’ market or local farm can be a wonderful way to find inexpensive and fresh ingredients, and you can even burn a few calories picking your own produce!
Set a family challenge. Provide your family with inexpensive pedometers and spend the day at a nearby museum or local attraction. Challenge your family to track their steps and provide a healthy incentive to the person who ends the day with the most.
Enjoy healthy and refreshing sweet treats. Try your hand at fresh fruit Popsicles, or freeze your family’s favorite fruits, such as grapes or blueberries.
Plan a healthy and fun family staycation. Find a few days on the calendar when you can turn time at home into an active “staycation” for your family—a vacation that doesn’t involve travel. Let children add their favorite physical activity to the schedule and get the whole family moving.
Check with your local visitor center or the community section of your newspaper for events or activities happening in your neighborhood.
For more ways to encourage physical activity, as well as eat right and reduce screen time, visit We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition)® at http://wecan.nhlbi.nih.gov. Developed by the National Institutes of Health, We Can! provides parents, caregivers and communities with free tips, tools and guidance to help children ages 8–13 maintain a healthy weight by improving food choices, increasing physical activity and reducing screen time.