Keeping kids active and healthy this summer

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School’s out for summer! But this year summer looks a little different as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19. Many summer camps have announced they will remain closed for the season. Those that are planning to open are taking a limited number of campers. National parks, community pools and playgrounds also have restrictions of their own.

Now more than ever, it’s important for parents to find ways for their kids to have a healthy, active summer. “The last few months have certainly altered and disrupted daily routines and learning for children and families. Finding ways to enjoy the outdoors has many positive benefits,” says Alexis Castro, a certified child life specialist at Community Regional Medical Center. “Being outdoors fosters physical, mental, and emotional growth.”

Ways to get active with your kids

  • Family walks – The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages kids to seek one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise a day. One way to do this is by taking a family walk in the morning or the evening to avoid the heat.
  • Biking with the family – Biking around your neighborhood, or joining a bike parade, can be a great way for you and the kids to get active, but maintain a healthy distance from others.
  • Visit the mountains – Heading to the mountains for the day is a great way to beat the heat and get outdoors. In the Central Valley, we’re lucky enough to have the Sierra Nevada mountains right in our backyard. Places like Shaver Lake, Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks have started to open up with safety restrictions in place. Remember to plan in advance, look at the current safety guidelines for your destination and keep a safe distance from others at all times.
  • Virtual summer camp – While it doesn’t compare to real life summer camp, many places are doing their best to offer a virtual solution this summer. Look for camps that comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule and offer active learning, not just passive computer use. Most importantly, look for a camp that best suits your child and your family. 

Above all take advantage of nature – even if it’s your own backyard. “Children have endless opportunities to boost their curiosity, exploration, and problem solving,” Castro says. “Nature also provides people of all ages an emotional boost, which is just what children need after months of dealing with frustrations due to situations that are out of their control.”

Just remember to follow Fresno County public guidance and keep at least 6 feet from others outside your family. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or hand sanitizer once you return from your adventure. And remind your children to keep their hands away from their faces.

For more resources for parents during COVID-19, visit our family resources page.