Summer Time: Put a Step in it with Physical Activity!


Written by Patty Kestell, 2013 SHAPE America National Elementary PE Teacher

Only two weeks into summer and you might have already noticed a new routine creeping into your household – a little more time spent sitting around. Off of the daily school routine, children often fall victims of too much screen time and sedentary habits begin to kick in.

As an elementary physical education teacher, I teach my students the benefits of living a physically active lifestyle and the value of maintaining the nationally recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day so they can thrive as healthy, active adults. In fact, I am joined by PE and health educators across America who are the champions of a new national movement, developed by SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators. It’s called 50 Million Strong. The goal? By the time today’s preschoolers graduate from high school, all of America’s students are benefitting from the skills and the know-how to enjoy healthy, meaningful physical activity.

I remind parents to keep kids moving not only in the summer but throughout the year. Here are a few of my favorite summer physical activities for families:

Explore your state or a national park

If you are fortunate enough to live near a state or national park, the opportunities to explore and be active are endless. Check out a new trail hike, try out rock climbing or paddle in that canoe during the quiet morning hours before the day unfolds.

Splish splash, there’s a lake or pool nearby!

If your family loves water sports then swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, body surfing and water skiing offer hours of fun, thrilling ways to break away from land and cool off during especially warm summer days. The challenge of learning a new skill helps to keep the whole family interested in staying active.


Backyard games for friends & family

Make summer get-togethers more fun and exciting for all by offering a variety of active, backyard games to play. Bean bag toss, ladderball, washer toss, lumberstak, an Olympic obstacle course, and a water balloon toss are all fun and easy ways to keep the body moving and stay connected with loved ones. Have a frisbee at home? Why not try Ultimate frisbee, Frisbee golf or Kan Jam? An adventurous game of capture the flag or flashlight tag will bring out the competitor and playful spirit in all! Badminton and volleyball are two more activities that can be modified for everyone’s skill level.

Outdoor pursuits

As the warm weather beckons us outdoors, activities such as gardening and walking the dog provide simple opportunities to get our bodies moving and our spirits soaring! Rollerblading and cycling offers the chance to stretch those legs and improve cardiorespiratory and muscular endurance. If you’re looking to set a longer fitness goal, consider training for a bike trek, a 5K, half-marathon, triathlon, or marathon!

Neighborhood and community recreation activities

Local recreational centers have a variety of physical activities to explore. Look into tennis, pickle ball, yoga or consider trying a new fitness class as a family!

Share this blog post with your networks for a healthier and more active summer! We’ve provided a sample tweet for you below.

Avoid a sedentary #summer. @SHAPE_America member @pk_lv2teachpe shares PA activities to explore. #SHAPE50Million