During the school year, kids are locked into a tight schedule, and are often left playing exactly the same ways at the the same times every day. A play routine is a great way to build healthy exercise habits, but it can quickly become stale. Because of this, it’s great to embrace seasonal changes to mix up the types of activities your kids have the opportunity to enjoy, and when and how long they’re allowed to play.
Changing the Schedule
During fall and winter, it makes sense to go out to the playground or onto the swing set in the back yard right after school. After sitting still all day, kids need to move around to help them relax, and the amount of daylight available is limited.
During the summer, this schedule won’t work very well. The afternoon is the warmest part of the day, and won’t be comfortable to be active in in many parts of the country. Instead, it’s better to organize outdoor activities during the morning and early evening, when temperatures are more comfortable. This helps to reduce the risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion, making playtime both safer and more fun. As an added bonus, evening play will help to burn off excess energy, and get kids ready to go to bed, which is much more difficult when the sun is still up at their normal bed time.
Introduce special summer activities
Every season is special, and offers its own unique play opportunities. To keep things fresh all year-round, it’s up to parents to take advantage of this to keep kids excited about going outside to play. During the summer time, there are a couple of activities that your little ones can particularly look forward to throughout the rest of the year.
Set up a tent in the backyard, and allow your child to invite friends for a sleepover. They can get spend an evening away from technology, play on the swing set, and stay up late to enjoy the company of their friends. This allows them to build better relationships with their friends, and helps to get them away from a smartphone for a little while, without feeling like a punishment.
During most of the year, kids are stuck with their normal play options of swinging or using other playground equipment, or participating in some kind of sporting activity. Hot summer weather, however, opens up a lot of other opportunities. Pools, water balloons, water pistols, and slip and slides offer relief when more traditional play activities like sports become uncomfortable to pursue.
These will keep your kids comfortable in the heat, but parents need to remember that playing in water isn’t the same as drinking it. To ensure that everyone has a good time, it’s important to take frequent water breaks, and to keep an eye out for signs of dehydration.