The Summer Paradox

Many families enjoy Maine’s warm summer weather by scheduling time for outside activities. Summer is full of physical activity, right? Play dates, beach days, summer camps. Well, contrary to what many of us believe, our kids are actually less active during the summer months. 

Studies show that kids have less structure throughout the summer, which means more down time, and down time for today’s youth is often synonymous with screen time. When you pair less physical activity with ample opportunities to eat and snack over the course of the day, healthy habits developed during the school year suddenly fade.

Here are our favorite Healthy Snack Ideas for Busy Summer Days and Easy Outdoor Activities for Summer Fun.

Healthy Snack Ideas for Busy Summer Days:

  • Cut up a watermelon and package bite size pieces
    before placing on a low, kid-friendly shelf in your fridge. Have a little more time? Slice through the entire watermelon so when laid flat it mimics a pizza, then add toppings (berries, bananas, coconut etc. ) before slicing and serving.
  • Skip the soda and add blueberry extract to sparkling water, what child doesn’t love blue food?
  • Popcorn, it’s a whole grain. The healthiest version is air popped but you can also make your own microwaveable popcorn: place 3 tablespoons of kernels in a brown bag, roll it up, and pop in the microwave.
  • Traveling and need a snack, don’t be afraid to stop at a convenient store. You can probably find fruit, greek yogurt, healthy granola bars and more.
  • Mix up your favorite smoothie before running out the door. An added bonus of smoothies to go? No crumbs.

Easy Outdoor Activities for Summer Fun:

  • Introduce a new weekend routine, such as family bike ride, and take a celebratory photo after each ride. At the end of the summer you’ll have a great visual documenting your commitment to being active.Girl_Playground_Monkey_Bars
  • Construct an obstacle course using trees, sticks, steps, hula hoops, a ladder etc. Have kids run the course and try to beat your personal best. Need more of a challenge, build an obstacle course you can complete on a bike.
  • Catch frogs.  It’s tough and keeps kids of all ages incredibly entertained.
  • Tackle a playground bucket list. Make a list of playgrounds near and far and start crossing them off your list. 
  • Go on a scavenger hunt. Try to find a rainbow of colors in your backyard or try a bug hunt.