Summer Play


Family members of all ages thrive on unstructured “playtime.” This is especially true for Canadian families, as longer days bring extended outdoor play hours. Here are some ideas to help your family get moving and play together this summer:

Active Training. If you missed out on a community run/walk or charity event in the spring, consider signing up for one. Take the family to a free all-ages event like the Running Room 20 Minute Challenge— it might be the springboard for a more active summer ahead.

Active Play Groups. Use your social media network to invite like-minded families to a “neighbourhood group play time” somewhere in your community. Discover new play spaces for running, hiking, cycling, swimming, street hockey, soccer, basketball, or any other active interests your family may have.

Active Transport. Embrace the challenge of leaving the family vehicle behind and getting around “under your own steam,” which can include walking, running, cycling, scootering, skateboarding or rollerblading. Travelling in a group is safer, more inclusive and more motivating for all involved.

Active Gifts. When shopping for a birthday or other occasion, seek out items that will assist with personal movement—for example, a wearable device for counting steps. Give thoughtful gifts that promote activity, like a high-quality insulated water bottle for outdoor adventures; Frisbees and jump ropes for the backyard; floating toys or goggles for the pool; or athletic gear for running and walking.

Active Summer Camps. When registering your kids for camp, choose well-organized programs that provide participation in a variety of sports and activities, as research supports the benefits of multi-sport opportunities throughout a child’s early years. It’s okay to specialize if your child has a true love of a particular sport, but have him/her engage in other activities whenever possible.

The feel-good days of summer can be an opportune time to try new things or re-visit previous goals. Inspire your family (or join forces with another family) to make the most of the warmer weather and the extra daylight. Enjoy every minute!



Don Zabloski is a retired Physical Education and Health Consultant and the co-author of Running Room’s Book on Family Fitness with John Stanton.

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