The warm summer weather is starting to arrive, and the sunny days are perfect for being outside.  This is a great time to encourage your child(ren) to get out and explore, build or create.

Forts are always fun to design and build. Add an “outdoor kitchen” onto the fort and allow for fun dirt creations.  A sandbox can provide hours of fun.  Create a city or race track, using a mixture of materials with the sand like toys or building blocks.

Obstacle courses are not only a create way to promote physical activity, but are very creative as well.  Challenge your child(ren) to use as many different objects in and around the house to create different obstacle courses for the family to do.  Outdoor scavenger hunts are another fun option for exploring the yard, the neighbourhood or a local forest.  Or let their creative flow with different Backyard Games and turn your backyard into a giant board game.

The warmer nights allow us to extend our outdoor activities into the evenings. Turn your backyard into a “drive-in” movie theatre, and invite the neighbours to do the same.  Arrange for a movie night, using a projector and white bed sheet as the screen. Enjoy family campfires, experimenting with different fireside snacks like s’mores or banana boats.

Enjoy making your backyard more fun with these ideas.

 

 

The warm spring weather is returning, allowing us many opportunities to get outside and be active while enjoying the sun. However, there are also many rainy days where we are stuck inside. Here are a few different ideas that you can do with your child(ren) on these rainy days to stay active:

1. Indoor Scavenger Hunt – get creative and use age-appropriate clues. Try an Alphabet hunt, where you “hide” letters around the house and your children have to find them and match them to the game board. For older kids, give cryptic clues for regular household items.
2. Board games or Card games – see our Games list for classic ideas and additional links
3. Forts/inside camping adventure
4. Puzzles
5. Dance Party
6. Sock Toss Game
7. Keep the Balloon up
8. Exercise Videos
9. Crafts – see our Craft section for different craft ideas and additional links

Here are a few websites with other indoor activity ideas:
15 Ways to Keep Kids Active Indoors

Indoor Activities for Kids

Best Ideas for Kids – Indoor Activities

What are things we can do to bring more physical activity into our lives and move as a family?  Mother Nature still provides the best “medicine” for us.  On warm sunny days, get outside and go for a walk with your family and dog (if you have one). And try taking a different “path” each time you are out.  If you always turn left when you leave your home – turn right the next time and see where the streets take you.  Explore (in a social distancing appropriate manner) different neighbourhoods, take the time to listen to nature as the birds are returning from their winter homes and the furry animals are coming out of hibernation.

 

Have a driveway or backyard, here are more ideas on activities we can do outside.

  1. Basketball
  2. Hockey “practice”
  3. Playing Catch
  4. Roller Blading/scooter – great on the larger driveways
  5. Yard work/Gardening
  6. Football toss
  7. Soccer (a fence works well for practicing kicks)
  8. Nature Scavenger hunt/Nature Bingo – this is good when out on the walks, have a list or “game” card that you and the kids are trying to fill out with different things in nature in your neighbourhood or yard
  9. Sidewalk Chalk – draw, obstacle courses, leave inspirational messages, shape/letter/number game, tic tac toe (can use beanbags as well)
  10. Jumping Rope
  11. Hula Hoop
  12. Hopscotch (use chalk to design course)
  13. Mini-Golf – create your own course
  14. Games from stores/online – bean bag/cornhole toss, washer toss, ladder toss, croquet, badminton, ring toss, bocceball

 

The Active for Life website offers a wide range of physical activities that you can do with your child(ren) both inside and outside:

Active For Life

 

Here are a few additional websites with other outdoor activity  and game ideas:

31 Outside Activity Ideas

Outdoor Game Ideas

Did you know that according to the Canadian 24-hour Movement Guidelines, youth (ages 5-17 years) need to sweat, step, sit and sleep the appropriate amount each day for optimal health.  There are many health benefits for our youth that come from moving more, including improved fitness, maintaining a healthy body weight, growing stronger, learning new skills and feeling happier.  When children move more and sit less, it has been shown that they have improved concentration, enhanced learning and creativity and an improved mood with less stress and anxiety.

 

So what does a healthy 24 hours look like for youth?

Sweat – at least 60 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity per day

Step – several hours of light physical activity, especially outdoors

Sit – no more than 2 hours per day of recreational screen time; limit sitting for long periods

Sleep – a night of uninterrupted sleep (5-13 years: 9-11 hrs; 14-17 years: 8-10 hours)

 

For more information on the Canadian 24-hour Movement Guidelines, you can check out their website:

Canadian 24-hr Movement Guidelines

 

The Participation website offers tips on the benefits and guidelines for all ages on why we all need to stay physically active and how we can do it.

Get Physical: Early Years (0-4 yrs)

Get Physical: Child and Youth (5-17 yrs)

Get Physical: Adults (18-65 yrs)

Get Physical: Adults (65+ yrs)