Getting active isn’t just kids’ play.
Parents who join in on soccer games, splash in the pool or set out on a hike with their children on summer vacation – and all year long – not only get fit themselves but provide healthy role models for the next generation.
Healthy, active outdoor play is one of the best ways to improve both adults’ and children’s overall physical and mental health. So this summer, plan to get outside every day with your family.
There are many benefits to unstructured, outside play. When children spend time outside, they:
- Sit less, move more and play longer – Key to cardiovascular health and fitness.
- Have healthier eyes – 10+ hours a week outside reduces nearsightedness risks.
- Sleep better – Sunlight helps regulate melatonin and sleep patterns.
- Enjoy improved mood – Exercise reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Feel more connected to nature – Experience calm and develop mindfulness.
Planning active summer outings doesn’t have to be challenging – or costly. With a little imagination, even exploring the neighbourhood with your child can be an adventure. There are dozens of opportunities for spontaneous outdoor summer play in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, if you know where to look. Why not:
- Go for a walk or hike – Try these 10 hikes to take your kids on this summer.
- Play in a forest or park – Try a new regional park every day for a week.
- Climb a tree – This Vancouver climbing tree is inspiring, but start smaller!
- Explore a local stream – Check these beautiful watershed walks in the region.
- Build stone, sand or stick structures – Learn the art of rock balancing.
- Play hopscotch or jump rope – Try teaching these six fun jump rope games.
- Swim at the pool, waterpark or beach – Check beach safety conditions first.
- Ride a bike or scooter – Find easy, family-friendly cycling routes in the region.
- Skate on rollerblades – Try it on the Stanley Park Sea Wall or inline skating track.
- Visit farms, fish hatcheries and bird sanctuaries – This local family fun guide has unique ideas.
For a really special summer outing, seek out pop-up adventure playgrounds for you and your little ones. Adventure playgrounds encourage kids to play, build, and be creative while learning to assess risks. There are plenty to choose from in our region, from Coquitlam to Delta, plus many other whimsical playgrounds worth driving to.
Learn more about the benefits of risky outdoor play at Outsideplay.ca and visit our Fraser Health Children and Youth and School Health web pages for even more ideas to keep your kids healthy all through the summer season.