(Family Features) As the school year comes to a close, itís up to parents to make sure their kidsí summers are filled with opportunities for them to stay active. Summer programs and sports leagues are great, but they often require expensive participation fees.
In fact, a recent survey conducted by Dr Pepper Snapple Group found that nearly half (52 percent) of parents said the cost of sports equipment and participation is a barrier to getting their family active. Despite the challenge staying active sometimes poses, itís important that parents make sure their kids get the active play they need, because play provides more than just fun. It helps kids maintain healthy lifestyles and also contributes to the development of motor skills, control, coordination and strength, according to research by the nonprofit group KaBOOM!
Tips for a playful summer
Inserting active play into your familyís summer fun doesnít have to be expensive. Here are a few creative and cost-effective ways to inspire play in your family this season from Letís Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide:
Create your own field day tournament
Rather than spending money on pricey sports equipment, reuse household items to create your own competitive events for your family. For example, set up a field hockey game using brooms as sticks and a tennis ball as a puck. Create your own shot-put using a re-sealable bag filled with dry rice or head to the neighborhood pool for some aquatic races. Make sure to hold a medal ceremony afterwards to celebrate everyoneís success.
Host your own community run
Races are a great way to get your family moving outside, but the registration fees can add up. Gather a few friends and family and create your own fun run. You can use a nearby neighborhood track or just mark off the course on the sidewalk around your house.
Set up a neighborhood play equipment swap
As they say, one personís trash is another personís treasure. While your kids may be bored with the play equipment they already own, the equipment is brand new to others. Organize a play equipment swap in your neighborhood to give your gently used items a new home. Your family will also benefit by receiving some new toys and sports equipment to inspire them to get out and be active.
There are also several nonprofit organizations, such as Good Sports, that provide communities and organizations in need with sports equipment grants. To nominate an organization for a grant, visit LetsPlay.com, where youíll also find more inexpensive play ideas organized by age, group size and season.
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