Young students can all share the thrill of summer time approaching—leaving schoolbooks and homework behind and relaxing during summer vacation. While there are many fun activities kids can do to stay active, sometimes it’s a little too easy to relax.
“There are so many things kids can do to stay active over the summer,” said Plainville-Southington regional health district director Shane Lockwood. “Even without any equipment, you could run around and play tag, or hide and seek. You don’t need much—just an imagination.”
The Plainville Wheeler Regional Family YMCA hopes to encourage kid to stay active and keep learning all summer, starting with the annual “Healthy Kids day” on Saturday, April 27 from 2 to 5 p.m. The free community event will inspire kids to keep their minds and bodies active all summer long.
According to the YMCA, when kids are out of school, they can face hurdles that prevent them from reaching their full potential. Research shows that without access to out-of-school learning activities, kids fall behind academically. Kids also gain weight twice as fast during the summer than in the school year.
As spring turns to summer, healthy kids day is a reminder to not let children idle away their summer days.
“When a child is healthy, happy, and supported, they can make great things happen,” said program director Alycia Williams in a press release. “We believe in the potential of all children, and we strive to help kids find that potential within themselves. A child’s development is never on vacation, and healthy kids day is a great opportunity to educate families and motivate kids to stay active in spirit, mind and body throughout the summer.”
Lockwood said sometimes, staying healthy can sound harder than it truly is.
“It’s easy for a family to do something as simple as take a walk at night, getting that family time and getting exercises,” said Lockwood. “Many of us live sedentary lifestyles now where we’re at our desks all day. The schools do a good job of keeping kids active in the day but families can keep that going throughout the day and in the summer.”
He added there are many amenities nearby that make for great, healthy activities, such as the many parks in Plainville and Southington and the linear trail in Southington.
“People can utilize what we have right there in our towns. It doesn’t have to be complicated,” said Lockwood.
Healthy kids day is celebrated at over 1,500 YMCAs across the country and is sponsored by the Howard Johnsons by Wyndham hotel brand. Locally, the Wheeler Regional Family YMCA’s event is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain.
“The healthy kids day at the Wheeler YMCA in Plainville was awarded what we call a community sponsorship award by our foundation to support the event and help to make it more successful and impactful,” said CFGNB CEO David Obedzinski. “The sponsorship awards program supports community special events that make our communities better places to live, work, and raise a family, which closely aligns with our organization’s vision statement.”
Obedzinski said supporting events and activities that promote improved health and well-being of kids and their families is “a natural partnership for us all.”
The event will include activities such as gag pit, a bounce house, free food, games, healthy cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts and the Plainville Fire Department.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.