The end of the school year is joyous time for kids. But for parents, it presents new challenges as we search for ways to keep them safe, healthy, and active.
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommends that elementary-age children get at least 30, and preferably 60, minutes of physical activity five or more days a week. This should include at least 10 to 15 minutes of vigorous, aerobic activity every day, such as fast-paced walking, running, jumping rope, or active swimming. Activity designed to strengthen muscles and build bones should also be included.
One of the simplest ways to ensure your child gets the exercise they need is to incorporate it into your family’s normal activities. If you’re a walker, runner or bicyclist, take the kids along. Participating in a 5K? Many races welcome children too!
If you swim or work out at the Y, have them join you. Plan family expeditions that involve activities such as Frisbee golf, rock climbing, basketball, or hiking. There’s no better way to teach kids how to be active and physically fit than by modeling behavior!
Consider getting parents together to plan fun group activities for all the neighborhood kids, such as:
• A neighborhood kickball league
• Softball tournaments
• Backyard tug-of-war contests
• Relay races
• Obstacle courses for kid-friendly competition
(think American Ninja Warrior junior)
• Beanbag toss
• Scavenger hunts
And don’t forget trips to the playground, where kids can climb slides, swing on swings, push merry-go-rounds and climb on jungle gyms.
For older kids, there’s always the opportunity to blend exercise and earning by mowing the lawn, helping out in the garden, painting, cleaning the house (try vacuuming to music, dancing while folding laundry) and so on.
Physical activity pays dividends far into the future. It’s been shown to boost learning, give children skills that they can use into adulthood (and beyond) and:
• Build self-confidence and self esteem
• Reduce anxiety and stress
• Help weight control
• Improve strength and endurance
• Build strong bones and muscles
• Improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels
• Provide a positive outlet for youthful energy
• Improve sleep
• Teach responsibility and time-management
The YMCA is here for you … and them
The Ashland Area YMCA is a great place to help your kids get active, to keep their minds engaged, and to help them learn new things.
One of the AAYMCA’s most popular offerings in the summer is Summer Day Camp! Day Camp is offered from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Kids can attend five days a week or just one – there is complete flexibility. Campers must be between the ages of 5 and 12 to participate.
Of course, pre-registration is required and all Campers must provide proof of current immunizations.
AAYMCA Day Camp includes breakfast before 8:30 a.m., structure play, free time, arts and crafts programs and … best of all … SWIMMING. Campers swim every day. How great is that?
Cost per day is just $15 for members; $20 for non-
members. Campers must bring lunch, swimsuit and a towel. The Y provides breakfast and an after-swimming snack. For more information or registration materials, stop by the membership desk or visit our website at ashlandareaymca.org
Something else to check out
The AAYMCA is offering a new class this summer – Yoga for Youth Sports! We all know how important flexibility and stretching is for safe participation in sports. Yoga for Youth Sports is designed to help kids learn how to stretch, to increase flexibility, and build strength.
The one-hour class is offered at 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning May 23. Cost is just $5 for the first child; $2 for each sibling. For more information about Yoga for Youth Sports, please call Holly Gully, Fitness & Wellness Supervisor at the Y, at (606) 324-6191.
For more information about programs that can keep your child active at the Y, stop by the membership desk, or visit our website at ashlandareaymca.org