Keeping kids active during the summer can be a challenge. The allure of the television and video games and the searing heat outside seem to conspire against going outside to play.
It may come as no surprise that many kids pack on extra weight during the summer.
Growing up my little brother and I loved summer. It meant float trips with Dad and fishing with our Papa. It also meant Nanny’s apple pie and pound cake and more than enough TV to occupy our idle brains during the day.
As a result, we inevitably started school with more heft than could comfortably fit in our already husky jeans.
A study published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2007 reported that the body mass indexes (BMI) of more than 5,000 kindergartners and first graders increased by almost twice as much during summer break as compared with during the school year.
That extra summer weight can add up over time and lead to increased health risks for kids now, and into adulthood.
Two upcoming free events sponsored by the Muskogee Wellness Initiative can help kids get active, cool down and have some dog days of summer fun:
• Free Family Fun Night at River Country Water Park
Beat the heat at what many kids believe is the coolest place in town. This Friday, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., join us for Family Fun Night at River Country Water Park.
The event is free of charge and open to the public.
In addition to the lazy river and water slides, the frog pond and the gator walk, families can participate together in free water games. Also, Muskogee Wellness Initiative and the Muskogee Farmers’ Market will team up to offer free samples of delicious grilled veggies and fruits during the event.
Last year about 900 people enjoyed the free evening of fun and fitness. This year we hope you will join in. Church groups, scout troops, sports teams, and others are welcome to come and bring their parents to get active, too.
• 2012 Youth All Star Event.
With kids, a little motivation and inspiration from high school and college students can go a long way to encourage an active lifestyle.
Fro m10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 18, kids ages 6–13 are invited to the Muskogee Swim and Fitness Center for a morning of movement and fun during the free 2012 Youth All Star event.
A 70-foot inflatable obstacle course will test the kids’ skills, while players from the Bacone soccer team and the Muskogee and Hilldale football teams will show off the skills that help them on the field.
Kids can also enjoy fun and games in the indoor swimming pool and have the chance to win prizes.
Kids who participated in the free event last year enjoyed learning from our local sports “celebrities” and getting a chance to practice some fancy new skills that can benefit them in soccer, football or goofing around in the front yard.
Yes, it’s hot outside. But you can help kids beat the heat with these two free events designed to help kids to be active, have fun and even cool off in the water.
By keeping kids active we can keep these dog days of summer from leading to a series of lazy days spent idle in front of the tv and extra pounds accompanying them back to school.
Lisa Wade Raasch coordinates the Muskogee Wellness Initiative and directs the EOK Health Care Coalition.
Connect online ww.facebook.com/Muskogee
Wellness or Muskogee
If you go
WHAT: Free Family Fun Night at River Country Water Park
WHEN: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday.
WHERE: River Country Water Park, Love-Hatbox Sports Complex, 3600 Arline.
WHO: Kids and families of all ages.
• • •
WHAT: 2012 All-Star Moving Kids More at Muskogee Swim and Fitness Center.
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. August 18.
WHERE: Muskogee Swim and Fitness Center, 566 N. 6th Street.
WHO: Kids ages 6–13 with their parents or guardians.