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How to keep your kids active in the summer

July 18, 2013 Denise Pinkney

What's there to do?  The question that every parent dreads!

Next time your child asks that question, you can be prepared with suggestions to keep them physically active. In a high-tech world of cell phones, iPads and countless video games, it's easy for kids to become inactive. 

As a mother of two, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota Wellness Consultant Tara Roberts knows what it's like to keep kids active during the summer and year-round. She offers these tips:

1.       Play traditional outdoor games such as Kick the Can, Hop Scotch or Duck Duck Goose.

2.       Play kickball or do the hula-hoop.

3.       Plan a family wellness challenge. You can pick a theme such as how long it takes your family to "Trek Across North Dakota" (361 miles = 722,000 steps). Don't have pedometers? You can convert minutes of activity into steps.

4.       On rainy days, check out our Recess Yes! video or crank up the music and dance!

5.       When watching TV, ask your kids to do a simple exercise such as a jumping jack when a common phrase is used on their favorite TV show. That helps turn screen time into playtime.

6.       Get out the yard games such as rodeo golf (also known as ladder golf) or horseshoes. Throw a Frisbee.

Tara recommends parents maintain a schedule that includes built-in time for physical activity. Aim for 30 minutes of structured activity and up to a few hours of free play outdoors. Limit your child's screen time.

Being physically active and making healthful food choices can help you fight childhood obesity. In a North Dakota classroom of 25 students, six kids are either overweight or obese, and 21 kids — almost the entire class — don't eat enough fruits and vegetables.

As The Official Sponsor of Recess, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota cares about the health and wellness of our state's kids.

Being active doesn't have to be expensive, Tara says. Use your imagination! Have fun!