The Sport Information Resource Centre
The Sport Information Resource Centre

School is out which usually means late nights and lazy mornings. While the summer means more time for relaxation and time spent with family, it’s also important to sneak in some fitness too. It’s the perfect opportunity to plan activities the family already enjoys and maybe try something new.

Go old school – How about an old fashioned game of tag? It gets the heart pumping, the whole family can play, and it’s tons of fun. You could also give the kids some jump ropes, a frisbee, or introduce a game of capture the flag.

Get splashing – Pretty much every child loves the water, it’s great break from the heat and a wonderful way to get in exercise just by having fun. There are lot of options from splash pads that are free to the public, local pools, lakes, and water parks. Buckets, balls, and foam noodles are also great additions. Be sure that children are aware of water safety rules before jumping in.

Pedal and play Family bike rides to the park are a two for the price of one deal. Both activities are fun and get everyone active without a lot of planning. If you have the time, you or your child can call up a friend or two to meet them at the park and you’re all set. Squeeze in extra cycling time by riding to daycare, to the grocery store, or a friend’s house.

Community centres and Boys and Girls clubs – Many community centres will have free or inexpensive recreational programs for children of all ages. Check out the schedule online and plan an afternoon for soccer, baseball, tennis, or even a summer camp.

Provincial and National Parks – All sorts of family adventures can be had at one of Canada’s many parks. Families can go canoeing, hike a beautiful trail, swim in a hidden lake, explore some caves, or raft down river, just to name a few.

While we would all love summer to be just fun and games, don’t forget about …

Chores! – It wouldn’t be summer without the smell of fresh mown grass. Mowing the lawn with a push mower, raking grass or even leaves later in the year, not only help you get work done around the house, they get the body moving. Mopping the floors, weeding the garden, washing the car, or washing windows, are also some good extras to add to the list.

Make sure your child has time for free, unstructured play with kids their own age. While it’s great to be able to do a lot of the above activities, children need time to just create and move as they wish. To avoid pressure on the parents, brainstorm as a family and use your combined ideas to make the exercise fun and memorable for the whole family.

For more ideas on keeping the family active, check out the excellent resources below:

Activity Ideas for Families – Participaction

Breaking Habits – Creating an Active Family – SIRC

21 Fun and Active Games to Play on the Beach – Active for Life

References:

Flynn J. Fun for the Whole Family. ACSM Fit Society Page. October 2013;15(3):4.

McDowell D. 5 active family vacations. Shape. June 2006;25(10):46-50.

Oefinger M. Making Physical Activity a Family Affair. ACSM Fit Society Page. Summer 2011.

Taylor S, Ward P, Zabriskie R, Hill B, Hanson C. Influences on Active Family Leisure and a Healthy Lifestyle Among Adolescents.Leisure Sciences. July 2012;34(4):332-349.

The Role of Family in Promoting Physical Activity. President’s Council On Physical Fitness & Sports Research Digest. March 2010;11(1):1-8.

About the Author: Michelle is an information management specialist with many years focusing on sport and fitness research and education. Michelle has been sharing her expertise with SIRC for over 3 years.