Summer Activity Ideas: Get Out, Get Active!

You already know that sports and outdoor activities can help your kids stay healthy and fit. But did you realize that they can improve your kids’ brain power, too? Help them score this summer, on and off the court.

  • Take me out to the ballgame! Sign your child up for a local sports league or camp in any team sport that interests her, from field hockey to softball. Even those who aren’t natural athletes can have fun on the field!
  • —>Why It Matters: Team sports teach more than teamwork! Studies show that kids who play on a team excel in math because they learn about scoring and complicated rule systems, and they often develop an interest in topics such as batting percentages or the odds of winning and losing. Score! (Recommended for all ages)

  • Grow something great! How does your garden grow? With a little help from your kid! Make gardening a summer chore—watering, weeding, fertilizing, and pruning—and ask your child for regular updates on the plants they’re caring for. They can track the garden’s growth, take pictures of the progress, and take note of sightings of animals that might be possible threats to the plants, such as deer or bunnies!
  • —>Why It Matters: Gardening has been shown to be a big brain booster for kids. It promotes hands-on learning as kids discover how seeds grow, what stunts or prompts a plant’s growth, and what makes up the life cycle of a plant. Researchers say that gardening is akin to planning and conducting a simple investigation, teaching kids to be alert, aware, and inquisitive. (Recommended for ages 6-9)

  • Take a hike! Before you hit the hiking trails, make whimsical walking sticks. Find ones that are about waist-high for your child; you could even use a plastic bat or an old golf club and decorate it with paints and ribbons. With a one-of-a-kind walking stick in hand, your tiny trekkers will feel proud as you hit the local nature trails together!

    —>Why It Matters: Children’s advocate Richard Louv says that today’s kids are suffering from NDD—Nature Deficit Disorder—because they’re spending so much time indoors. Outdoor play stimulates kids’ creativity. Plus, it’s been shown to improve their stress levels and their confidence with learning and social skills. Those are some seeds worth planting! (Recommended for ages 3-5)

    Rock ’n’ roll! Start a rock collection with your kids. Search for unique, stunning stones throughout the summer and display them in a glass bowl or vase. As the collection grows, watch your child begin to search for certain types, colors, and shapes; it provides an instant activity wherever you go!

    —>Why It Matters: This kind of hobby can make your child a rock star in science class. As kids observe, describe, and collect those rocks, studies show they’re effectively learning science skills, such as gathering and interpreting evidence and understanding how the Earth’s surface has changed over time. On top of all that, the International Reading Association says kids with collections learn to separate information, like deciding which details are important or not – a really useful skill for reading comprehension. (Recommended for all ages)

    Let ’em run wild! Give your child tons of fun reasons to run like the wind! Classic childhood games including dodgeball, kickball, chase, and tag always do the trick, but your kids should also feel free to make up their own games. They might enjoy timing their sprints, racing a sibling, or creating an obstacle course. Anything goes!

    —>Why It Matters: All that running is great for their bodies, but also for their brains. Studies show that active kids in kindergarten through 8th grade who get an hour or more a day of vigorous play are more likely to learn new skills easily and have long-term success in school. (Recommended for ages 10-13)

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