School has been out and this is the time for kids to take a mental break from yellow school buses, school uniforms, and heavy backpacks. This, for many kids, means binge watching cartoons, having all-night video game sessions, stuffing their faces with every junk food in sight, and snap-chatting their summers away. According to the Australian organization Healthy Kids, Eat Well Get Active, studies have found, that "the number of overweight and obese kids ha[s] risen from around 1 in 10 children in 1985 to almost 1 in 4 children in [recent years]."
Too much gaming time, digital media, and television not only preoccupies kids but is actually unhealthy for them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics identifies screen time as time spent using digital media for entertainment purposes.The academy agrees that digital media should never replace healthy activities, particularly sleep, social interaction, and physical activity. They recommend that children between the ages of 2 and 5 years' screen time should be limited to one hour per day. For kids ages 6 and older, parents can determine the restrictions for time spent using screens, as well as monitor the types of digital media their children use.Babies are most vulnerable to screens. Infants aged 18 months and younger should not be exposed to any digital media.
So it's time to get those kids moving! "Healthy Kids, Eat Well Get Active" also insist that kids and teens, ages five to 18 years, need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day to keep healthy, as well as activities that strengthen muscle and bone on at least 3 days of the week. But who says that physical activity has to be a chore! Swimming is the perfect activity to get kids out of the house and into some activity, this summer, without placing them in danger of heat stroke or exhaustion.
Here are five ways to make the pool a little more interesting for the little ones while adding some fun in the sun for the remainder of the summer season.
Number of Players: 3 or more
Choose one person to be the walrus. The walrus must float on his or her back with their eyes closed. The other players swim around the walrus. As they are swimming, they must sneak up on the walrus without waking him or her up. If the walrus "wakes up", he or she will try to grab the person who is the closest. The person who is caught by the walrus will then become the walrus.
2. Hot and Cold
Choose a ball or other floating item to be "it". Have one player close their eyes and try to locate the floating toy. Other players can give clues as to its location by calling out ‘Hot!’, meaning they are close, or ‘Cold!’, meaning they are far away from the item.
This game is a big hit among kids! This is a game where the “followers” must copy the leader exactly. If they don’t, they get picked off. Pick a “watcher” to eliminate the kids who don’t follow the leader exactly.
Divide swimmers into pairs. Assign them each to be either 'Arms' or 'Legs'. Line the pairs up against the side shallow wall, and tell 'Legs' to hold on tightly to 'Arms' waist. When you say Go, Arms will use his arms to pull across the water and walk across the floor, and Legs kick as fast as they can. The first pair to go across the pool and back, without breaking form wins!
This is a great game for kids 3-5 years old. Pretending to be animals, as they move from one side of the wading pool to the other. Tell them the animal and let them perform. Kangaroos, hippos, elephants, rabbits...
Just swapping 30 minutes a day of screen time for more active play can make kids healthier and feel better.
Here at Merrit Clubs, we have our indoor and outdoor pools and we offer a range of swim activities for kids of all ages - including a swim school! So what are you waiting on? If you are interested in more information about our Aquatics program or specifically The Michael Phelps Swim School, you may contact us here.