Mark Your Calendar for YMCA Healthy Kids Day April 17
At YMCA facilities across the country, next Saturday, April 17, will mark the annual celebration of Healthy Kids Day, a nationwide effort to encourage kids to get more physically active. At many events, the activities are free and open to the public.
YMCA Healthy Kids Day is the nation’s largest health day for children and families and offers the opportunity for families to play together and learn more about healthy living. Last year, more than 700,000 people participated in events featuring games, demonstrations, arts and crafts, educational resources, healthy treats and giveaways.
Health and fitness experts recommend that children ages 6 to 17 engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Studies have shown that children who get the minimum recommended not only reduce their risk for childhood obesity, but also tend to have a higher self-esteem and perform better academically.
This year’s theme is “Put Play in Your Day.” Active play is the best way to stay physically active while having fun. As YMCA Wellness Director in Greater Kingsport TN says, “The goal of encouraging kids to play more is to build a lifetime of love for physical activity.”
Check the YMCA national website to see if your local branch is one of the 1700 participating in this year’s Healthy Kids Day (not all do, and not all hold their events on Saturday the 17th). If not, you can still plan on celebrating the day with your children with some of the following suggested activities:
• Set aside a time for family play, both indoors and outdoors (weather permitting). NO TV ALLOWED during this time.
• Play kickball, soccer, basketball, t-ball or any game that gets everyone together as a family. Invite the neighbors too.
• Try games such as “Simon Says” or “Red Light Green Light”.
• Have a relay race.
• Chalk out a hopscotch game in the drive way and use rocks or small sandbags for markers.
• Go on a nature walk or scavenger hunt.
• Go bowling or roller skating
• If you need to be inside, try dancing to music or even having fun doing light housework by making up silly names for things as you clean them.
• Have a pillow fight.
• Take a look at the 2005 YMCA Healthy Kids Day Parenting Guide which provides tips on raising healthy kids.
• Set a good example – If you want active kids, be active yourself.