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Let the fun begin, it's summer!

Ideas for Summer Family Fun

Summer provides a great opportunity to be together and active as a family. Finding things to do is not as hard as you might think. Below are eight fun activities that my family came up with to share with you, with options for all ages.

1. Get wet. Whether it's the beach, the lake, or the local pool, water activities are fun and use all the muscle groups. For a break from traditional swimming, play games with water toys, have races with foam "noodles" or swim rings, or use kick boards to move around. Children of all ages and swimming abilities can participate with the proper safety equipment and supervision. The sprinkler in the backyard is another fun way to get wet and fit as you run and jump in the water spray.
2. Use the wheels. Bikes and rollerblades are fun ways to build family fitness. When the boys were younger we pushed the stroller while skating. It's a great upper body workout. Now, we all skate together. Bike riding on trails, in parks, and in the neighborhood is a great option, too.
 3. Tag. You're it. Remember how fun a game of tag used to be? Well, it's still fun as a family. For variety we play Flashlight Tag. All you need to play is a flashlight and a safe, dark area. We use our front yard. The object of the game is to avoid being hit by the light. Whoever is "it" shines the flashlight around until the light shines on another player. If you get caught in the light, you are "it."
 4. Head to the park. For younger children the park is a wonderful adventure. Swinging, sliding, climbing, and balancing are developmental skills. The park is a wonderful fitness adventure for Mom or Dad. Don't just sit on the bench and watch. Get involved and see how your strength, flexibility, balance, and cardiovascular fitness are all challenged.
5. Walk the block. Family walks are wonderful bonding times. When the children are young, push them in the stroller or pull a wagon in case they get tired of walking. As they get older allow them to walk and talk about all the sites around your home. Who knows? You could find a whole new world just around the corner.
6. Team up. Host a baseball, basketball, or Frisbee game with other families from your church or neighborhood.
7. Have a ball. One of our favorite games is kickball, but any activity involving a ball is fun and fitness-oriented at our house.
8. Plan an adventure. Think "active" when planning a family vacation with older children and teens. You could call your travel agent for suggested adventure locations or plan your own trip. Include hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, white water rafting, camping, horseback riding, biking, or skiing as a part of your vacation. Get the whole family involved and ask each person to plan a day. Many people won't have to go far from home to experience the excitement of outdoor play as a family.
 When we are active as a family we have opportunities to relate and communicate. Give summer activities a shot to build your family both physically and relationally.

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