Community connections for keeping kids active during the summer months

Kids in summertimeWith summer vacation approaching, many parents are trying to think of ways to keep their kids occupied throughout the day without breaking the bank. 

“Keeping kids active is important to help them avoid boredom and keep them stimulated over the next couple of months,” said Safina Koreishi, MD, and medical director for Columbia Pacific CCO. “With a little planning, you can ensure your kids have their best summer ever, and they will stay active in the process. By adding some activities into your summer, you’ll also accomplish another goal: limiting kids’ screen time and replacing that with outdoor and/or family activity. And, don’t forget the sunscreen, even on the North Coast!”

Below are some fun ways to keep kids active and occupied while they are on summer vacation:

Keep cool with water activities. Having a stock of water toys, sprinklers and Slip ‘n’ Slides that can be used countless times throughout the summer can be very helpful. These items will go on sale as the summer months approach and the only other equipment you will need is a running hose and towels to dry off with. Kids love playing in the water and these simple and inexpensive items can provide hours of fun.

Create a backyard obstacle course. Set up a homemade obstacle course that the kids can run through. Make it interesting and turn it into a competition. The kids will have a good time going through it. If you can, leave the course up all summer for an option of something to do after dinner when the weather is cooler. Participate with them to really get them excited about it. This is also great as a station that they can come to in between the water games they might play in the front yard.

Go swimming. Since most kids love swimming and playing in the water, this can be a great option if you belong to a family-friendly gym or community pool. If your kids don’t know how to swim yet, enroll them in swimming lessons for the summer. Swimming is a great activity for burning off energy, and it will wear the kids out while helping them enjoy lots of fun. Always supervise children while in the pool.

Send kids to day camps or summer arts and music programs. Depending on the area you live in this may be an option. If you can, summer day camps or art and music programs can be a great place where kids can form new friendships and lots of fun activities. Many local programs have scholarship opportunities to make this an affordable option.

Explore local beaches, parks and trails. We live in a gorgeous part of Oregon, hiking and exploring our natural environment is a great way to learn more about the world around us and to keep everyone active. If you pack a healthy picnic lunch and plenty of water, you can spend the whole day.

Visit your local library. Many libraries offer summer reading programs to help kids remember to read during the break. Perhaps you could get your child his or her own library card to empower them to keep reading.

These are just a few ways that you can keep your kids active over the summer break. Ask them if there’s anything they want to do and incorporate their feedback, as well. Keeping some of these ideas on hand can help both you and your kids have a happy and healthy summer.

Community resources you might want to explore:

Explore Nature in Tillamook County
https://www.explorenaturetillamookcoast.com/

NW coast trail maps and guides
http://www.co.clatsop.or.us/parks/page/nw-coast-trail-map-guide

Oregon Coast STEM camps and programs
http://oregoncoaststem.oregonstate.edu/students-and-parents/summer-activities

Outdoor adventures in Columbia County
https://www.travelportland.com/article/outdoor-adventure-in-columbia-county/

Top 10 outdoor attractions in Clatsop County
http://www.oregonlive.com/travel/index.ssf/2015/05/top_10_outdoors_attractions_in.html

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