The Canadian 24-hour Movement Guidelines are evidence-based research that addresses the whole day, along with an emphasis on 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each and every day for children and youth. The International School-Related Sedentary Behaviour Recommendations for Children and Youth was recently released to help educators, school administrators, policy makers, parents/guardians, caregivers, physicians and healthcare providers improve the health and well-being for school-aged children and youth. So what, now what? Ophea would like to get students and their families to start thinking about what healthy, active living can look, sound, and feel like during the summer months! Ophea, in partnership with our friends at Ontario Active School Travel (OAST), a program of Green Communities Canada, is excited to share some active, quick, easy, and most importantly, fun activities that you can do with your family this summer!
Get to Know Your Neighbourhood
The summer season is a great time to head outside to explore the community you live in. Take the time to plan an active route – for example, consider biking, rollerblading, wheeling a wheelchair, running/jogging, skateboarding, or skipping to explore a location you’d like to visit in your neighborhood!
- Playgrounds can be a great place for children to engage in free play. They are spaces where kids develop crucial physical, social, emotional, and imaginative skills necessary to gain self-confidence, improve coordination, and advance critical thinking capabilities. Playgrounds also provide a valuable opportunity to build self-awareness and independence. Check out Active for Life as they share some great tips on How to have a Summer Filled with Independent Play.
- Route Planning helps plan child-friendly routes to get to new destinations. Take an active route to explore a new street as you may find a park, library or a community space.
- Neighbourhood Hunt and Routes to School Mapping can help make walking and wheeling more fun, while helping families identify safe routes within their neighbourhood.
Walk, Wheel, and Roll
Whether you’re walking, wheeling on a bike, rolling on a skateboard, riding a scooter, or rollerblading this summer, it is important to make sure you are being safe while doing it! What are some safety measures you can take while being active this summer?
- Make sure to get the right kind of helmet for the sport. The Ontario Physical Activity Safety Standards in Education is a great start to get Helmet Information.
- Before you hop on your bike at home, take the time to learn about Cycling in Ontario and Bicycle Safety.
- Learning how to ride a bike? Check out How to Teach your Kid to Ride a Bike and 5 Fun Activities that can Help Build your Child’s Bike-Riding Skills to learn tips on how to work on balance, pedaling and brake skills.
- Elementary Road Safety is a program designed to address road and traffic safety in the community.
- Ontario Active School Travel has several walking resources for parents and youth alike that contain safety information and tips about crossing the road safely at traffic lights and pedestrian crossovers.
Connect with Nature
The outdoors provide a great opportunity to learn about nature, the environment, and the world outside. Activities such as gardening, learning about local wildlife, and identifying native plants, provides a variety of opportunities for teaching and learning while developing an appreciation and respect for the outdoors.
- Why gardening is a great activity for kids explains how gardening helps kids develop important physical literacy skills.
- Rain gardens offer a beautiful, low-cost, nature-based solution to manage stormwater runoff.
- Beyond the Walls: Activities for the Outdoors is a resource that provides opportunities for students to observe, explore, and appreciate nature as they reflect on the benefits of being physically active outdoors all year long.
Moving is for EveryBODY
Quality physical activities will enable EVERYONE to play and discover the joy of movement. Many children and youth with disabilities experience barriers in their environment that prevent them from accessing equipment, programming, and activities within their own community. Check out these resources and supports that help address these challenges to ensure children of all abilities are engaged in their communities.
- Active and accessible summer fun for kids with disabilities provides information about accessible spaces, activity ideas, and organizations that provide equipment for families.
- 50 Fitness Activity GIFs are a compilation of heart pumping, on the spot, fitness moves that can be used on their own or to diversify existing activities in the indoor and outdoor environments for all abilities.
- Beyond the Walls: Activities for the Outdoors also has activity cards that provide modifications for children and youth with differing physical and cognitive abilities.
- Introducing FUNdamentals with EAS and Ophea! is a summer video series in collaboration with Ever Active Schools that provides different ways for children and youth to explore fundamental movement skills for all abilities.
Building Relationships in your Community
Home, school, and community partnerships engage students, their families, and community groups to work together to support and promote opportunities for healthy, active living. Building relationships within your community can involve coordinating services, learning about resources that are available, and even getting to know the people who are your neighbours!
- Safer Streets Advocacy, School Streets, Tactical Urbanism are some useful resources to help engage your community for safer streets and improve road safety.
- Programs such as the Walking School Bus and Walking Buddies can also provide ideas on how to organize students and their families to find active ways to go to summer camps, community events, and practice getting to school for September.
There are many benefits to getting active over the summer. Take a moment to think about how physical activity can be part of your students and their family’s lives by reviewing some of these questions from Ophea’s DPA Every Day resource together:
- What does physical activity look like, sound like, and feel like for you?
- How do you see physical activity reflected in everyday life?
- Describe what types of physical activities you enjoy doing alone, with your family and with friends.
- Describe how you feel before, during, and after physical activity.
- How do you know when you need physical activity?
- What impact does physical activity have on your ability to participate in school, and go about your day at home?
- How can you support your child in making connections between what they learn about physical activity at school and in conversations and activities at home?
Thank you to our friends at Ontario Active School Travel for collaborating with Ophea for this blog. Let’s keep the conversation going! Share with us how you’re working with students, their families and the communities to promote healthy, active living! Don’t forget to @OpheaCanada on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. To stay up-to-date on Ophea professional learning offerings, resources, and supports sign up for Ophea’s e-newsletter eConnection.