Go Play Outside!
With summer right around the corner, we thought it made sense to remind all you kids out there that getting away from the computer or TV screen and getting outside is about much more than taking advantage of the sunshine and warm weather. It’s also critical to your overall health and wellbeing.
Too Much Technology
Technology has many benefits to it. The more experts, scientists and technicians discover about the uses of technology, the better we get at solving problems, designing more efficient systems, staying in touch with our friends and family and keeping ourselves entertained. But there’s a downside to all these advances in technology, too. Sometimes, they’re TOO entertaining.
Most of us know what it feels like to be totally sucked in to a video game or computer program. It feels like your eyes are glued to the screen and your fingers are permanently curled up to press the controls on the remote control, computer mouse, joystick or hand console. Some video games and Internet sites are so mesmerizing and life-like, it can be easy to let time slip by and whole days go to waste. Because of this it’s absolutely CRITICAL to remember that although they may be fun, video games, websites and other high-tech gadgets and gizmos ARE NOT REAL LIFE.
Shutting Down For Summertime
This summer, we encourage all you kids out there to turn off your computers, video games, mp3 players, etc. and spend some time catching up with your real life in the real world. This can mean spending quality time with friends and family, playing outside with the other kids in your neighborhood, joining a group or taking a class to learn something you’ve always been interested in, going on a hiking trip, jumping in the local swimming pool, camping, biking, etc.
Since your body is still growing and your mind is still learning, it’s especially important for kids to drop the technology from time to time and do something active. The fresh air and physical activity you’ll gain by going outside and being active (whether by exercising or participating in sports, or just doing normal summer stuff like going to the beach or planning a sightseeing trip) will do wonders for your body and will also feed your brain.
Stuff To Do Outdoors
We know the kids who read this will range in age, so the following tips will either interest you or bore you. Just read through them and pick the ones that appeal to you most – or better yet, brainstorm some outdoor activities with your friends and family, make your own list and check off each item as you do it over the summer. See how much time outside you can log this season, instead of sitting indoors watching movies or playing online games!
Go play in your local park. Last time we checked, swings, slides and monkey bars are still fun and challenging! If you’ve got younger siblings, take them to the park and show them how it’s done!
Set up a basketball net, hockey net, volleyball net or skate ramp in your backyard or (if it’s safe from traffic) driveway. Challenge your friends and other kids on your street to tournaments and offer a grand prize for the ultimate champ at the end of the summer!
Get your mom and dad outside and active, too. Plan a family bike ride or walk – you can even pack a picnic to make it a daytrip!
If you’re the oldest of the kids in the neighborhood or have some friends who can help you out, why not plan a scavenger hunt everyone can participate in? Send everyone around the neighborhood looking for various items that can be found outside.
If it’s not too late, ask your parents to sign you up for camp. You may want to choose an overnight camp – which will feel like mini-holiday away from home – or register for a day camp at your local community center or rec center. Day camps offer a you a fun way to do a different, exciting outdoor activity each day of the summer.
If your parents don’t really keep track of how much time you spend playing video games, watching TV or surfing the web, take some responsibility for your own health and monitor your own indoor activities to make sure they’re balanced with time spent outdoors and being active. Make up a daily schedule or calendar for yourself for July and August, and stick to the activities you plan each day.
Remember, we’re not saying that staying inside and playing video games or using your computer are bad or will make you sick, we’re just saying there has to be a healthy balance between everything you do. If you spend half your days indoors this summer, be sure to spend the same amount of time playing outside, so you get all the benefits of both.