YMCA kicks off summer with Healthy Kids Day | Health & Fitness

YMCA kicks off summer with Healthy Kids Day | Health & Fitness

The Tri-Cities Family YMCA is hosting its annual Healthy Kids Day from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30.

The day encourages families to take a moment to help “kids be kids.” The event will feature activities such an outdoor family zumba class, face painting, story and stretch, swim safety stations, flip-for-fun open gymnastics, music and dancing, and a free throw contest.

“At the Y, we believe in the potential of all children, and each day we work to help kids find that potential within themselves,” said Meredith Long, the local YMCA’s senior program director. “Healthy Kids Day is a fun, free, community-wide event to kick off summer and remind us all how important it is for kids to stay active physically and mentally throughout the summer.”

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2022, Healthy Kids Day is the Y’s national initiative to improve health and well-being for kids and families. The Y hopes to use the day to get more kids moving and learning, creating healthy habits they can continue while they’re away from the classroom.

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 summer than during the school year.

In celebration of Healthy Kids Day, the YMCA offers the following tips to help families develop healthy habits this summer that can have a lifetime effect:

High five the fruits and veggies: Make sure kids get at least five servings of fruits and veggies each day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend for healthy childhood development. And to keep kids’ taste buds evolving, have everyone in the family try at least one bite of a new fruit or vegetable at least once a month.

Read together: The summer is a great time to enjoy books with summer program participants – and 30 minutes a day goes a long way. Take trips to the local library or create a family reading challenge to see who can log the most minutes of reading. Encourage youth to create their own stories as well.

Get moving: Activities that require movement also help kids flex their mental muscle. Use materials in unique ways – ask kids to build models, manipulate tools or develop their own theatrical scenes.

Play together: Play may be the best way to prevent childhood obesity. By putting more play into your family’s day, you will soon find yourself getting the activity that will have your family feeling energized and strong.

Make sleep a priority: Doctors recommend 10-12 hours of sleep a day for children ages 5-12 and 7-8 hours per night for adults. Sleep plays a critical role in maintaining our healthy immune system, metabolism, mood, memory and learning.