Posted on 07/01/2019 at 03:16 PM by YMCA of Greater Des Moines
Written by Kath Johnson
School’s out for the summer! And your kids are ready … to sit inside with the Xbox or iPhone. It’s tough to tear your kids away from their video games and devices, but it’s healthier for them to put them down and go outside. Here are five ways to get your kids outside and active this summer.
You can find a 5k or fun run taking place in Des Moines nearly every weekend. The YMCA also hosts the Girls on the Run and STRIDE 5K to kick off the summer each year. These programs help instill confidence and healthy habits in girls and boys alongside other kids their age!
The Des Moines area is home to some awesome parks and trails -- 81 miles of trail, in fact. Get the family together, pack a snack and a bottle of water, and check out what Mother Nature has to offer in this part of Iowa. Play games of “I Spy” with your kids while looking out for birds, wildlife and wildflowers. Some local favorites include Sycamore Trail in Sycamore Park and Walnut Creek Trail in Greenwood Park.
YMCA camps are a great way to keep your kids outside and active when you have to be at the office. Your kids will swim, hike, play games and spend time socializing face-to-face in the sunshine. Just being outside benefits kids and adults no matter the time of year. Your children will be happier and healthier after spending their days in the fresh air this summer.
If they’re hesitant to commit to a day camp, how about joining a sports league? The YMCA offers sports clinics at the Walnut Creek and Waukee facilities.
It may not be Malibu, but Iowa has plenty of beaches of its own. Your kids can soak up Vitamin D at Lake Red Rock, Iowa’s biggest lake and a magnet for swimmers, kayakers and fishing enthusiasts, or at Easter Lake in Des Moines, which has reopened to boating and swimming after it was closed for improvements in 2018.
Make sure your family is prepared for summer swimming by taking swim lessons at one of our seven locations. We have multiple levels and it’s available for all ages, young and old!
The city of Des Moines manages 75 parks, adding about 4,000 acres of parkland. These parks, along with their playgrounds and green spaces, are great for quality family time. The Ashley Okland Star Playground is also accessible to kids with disabilities. The Big Creek State Park playground in Polk City is the biggest wooden playground around.
But if you don’t want to drive too far, many of our YMCA locations also have open fields next to their buildings that you and your family can use as often as you’d like.
Advancing technology sometimes makes it tougher to get the kids off the couch and outside. Maybe that's why so many of them tend to gain more weight during the summer months. Living in Des Moines and being part of the Y gives you plenty of opportunities to help them explore the outdoors and stay active. Your kids will eventually thank you for it.
What other ways can you get your kids outside this summer? Comment your ideas below!
Kath Johnson is a health nut, gardener, and writer for LawnStarter. She spends most of her time meal prepping and actively trying to beat personal records in the gym, but always enjoys a meditative walk through a nearby woodland area or near a lake.