Nothing screams summer like a family vacation. Parents are pouring over guidebooks (or smartphones), kids are stuffing last minute items in their backpacks, and even the dog is getting excited! But what might not be at the top of the list, is how to incorporate physical activity into your lounging by the pool and singing ‘round the campfire. Consider the following tips when looking for fun ways to spend time with friends and family over the summer months:
- While driving, keep your eyes open for rest-stops, or lookout points along the road. Stop every hour or two to stretch and move about; a 10-minute activity break goes a long way! Try these ideas: jumping-jack contest, mini speed-walking races, or a game of catch.
- Once at your destination, try and make activity the first thing you do together. Everyone will likely have a lot of stored up energy from the journey. If you’re drawn to water, make sure your swimsuit is the first thing unpacked and get down to the pool or beach for a refreshing dip.
- We all know that kids seem to have a lot more energy than their parents. A great way for parents to try to keep up with their kids is to switch off for a few of the activities. Have dad take the kids for an early morning hike, while mom takes the afternoon shift at the pool or beach (or vise-versa). This way everyone is fresh and rested for a trip to the nearest playground and the whole family can enjoy some fun bone and muscle strengthening activities.
- Include a new activity at each destination. Visit new bike paths (if you can’t bring bikes, consider renting) or explore the local park with a map making it a point to find a few landmarks; don’t forget to take photos!
- Check out ParticpACTION list “100 Ways to Play” if you need more inspiration.
If a ‘staycation’ is in the cards for your family this year, these tips can just as easily be a part of exploring your local parks and trails.
Regardless of where your summer vacation takes you, remember that being active is a win-win situation! Your energy levels will be higher, odds are you’ll sleep better, and you may just get that R&R you’re seeking because the kids will be tuckered out!
We’d love to hear about your active summer vacation plans this year, log on to Healthy Families BC and keep us informed; and don’t forget the photos!
ParticipACTION: Longest Day of Play Ideas for Families