photo by Allison Archer via Unsplash

4 Summertime Activities to Boost Kids’ Well-being

June 2, 2021

by Margaret Lipman, guest contributor

Prioritizing well-being is just as important for children as it is for adults. Kids are naturally resilient, but they also benefit from varied activities, engagement with the natural world, and outlets for creative expression that are sometimes lacking during the busy school year. With summer upon us, consider how you can best support your child’s physical and emotional wellness over the next few months. By doing so, you can ensure that they’ll return to the classroom feeling energized and refreshed, with a positive, confident outlook that comes from spending the summer doing worthwhile things that they enjoy. 

Try out new recipes to get the whole family cooking

For parents, the constant demands of meal prep and cooking can be exhausting. Providing your family with healthy, varied dishes can be time-consuming, especially if you have picky eaters or children with food allergies to contend with. Rather than planning menus, shopping, and cooking by yourself, why not turn dinner into an opportunity to develop kids’ cooking skills? Many older children will relish the chance to take charge of cooking dinner for their family, especially if they get to choose what’s on the menu. You’ll also be teaching them valuable life skills they’ll need when they head off to college. 

photo by August de Richelieu via Pexels

To make cooking especially enjoyable, find international-inspired recipes to keep things interesting, such as Chicken Enchilada Chili or Udon soup. Or, as a fun challenge, ask your children to include at least one unconventional ingredient in their dish. Although you’ll initially have to provide plenty of supervision and ensure that you have suitable cookware, your children will soon gain confidence in their cooking ability and learn about the importance of nutritious ingredients and achieving a balanced diet. As long as you’re not in a rush, cooking and baking are great ways to relax at the end of a long day. Besides serving a highly practical purpose, cooking can help boost mindfulness and well-being by focusing solely on the task at hand rather than worrying about school or work demands.

Take a family camping trip

It would be perfectly understandable if the idea of a family camping trip seems more like a chore than an adventure. Although such a trip may require significant planning, it can also be an enriching experience, especially when you succeed in nurturing your children’s love for the outdoors. Spending time in nature can hugely benefit well-being for both children and adults, and it encourages healthy habits for spending free time away from screens and other distractions. 

Paddleboarding | photo by Ben White via Unsplash

Try not to be too ambitious with your camping trips, especially if you have young children in tow. A night or two at a family-friendly campground relatively close to home is an excellent way to get started and make positive memories. Keep your packing list as streamlined as possible, and don’t plan any elaborate meals. As for activities, embrace the idea that sometimes the most rewarding moments come from simply being together as a family, whether you’re going on a short hike, identifying plants or insect species, taking part in a nature-themed scavenger hunt, catching fireflies, or roasting marshmallows at the end of a long day.

Set up an arts and crafts corner

Having a dedicated arts and crafts corner in your home is a great way to encourage creativity throughout the summer months. Shop for arts and craft supplies and choose materials that your child can use in various ways. Paints, colored paper, clay, and felt can always be put to creative use, and you could also incorporate things such as shells, buttons, and dried flowers, or even items salvaged from the recycling bin such as bottle caps or plastic containers. If your child needs some help to get those creative juices flowing, have a look at these educational arts and craft ideas

photo by Artem Podrez via Pexels

Don’t forget that creativity can also extend to the virtual world. Many children and teenagers are adept at filming and editing videos, designing 3-D structures and characters, and creating digital art and animation. Just make sure that you have some ground rules for screen time and that your electronics are properly protected.

Get involved in volunteering

One of the best ways to improve your own well-being is by spending time helping others. This is true not only for adults but for kids as well. Teaching children about the importance of volunteering will instill positive values and behaviors that will serve them well for the rest of their lives. 

There are numerous volunteer projects that children of all ages can participate in and many that you can do as a family. Picking up litter, writing letters to nursing home residents, and taking donations to a food bank are just a few of the small actions that can make a big difference to others and which are easy to get young children involved in. Older children and teenagers can participate in other types of projects, such as tutoring a struggling fellow student, fundraising for a worthy cause, or taking up a regular volunteer position at a local hospital.

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