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June 14, 2018

Loving Summer with the YMCA

By Joan O'Neill

Awaken summer imaginations through healthy habits.


Summer is a time when children can let their imaginations run wild! From creating their own plays to building forts in the backyard, there’s no limit to what kids can dream up.

But when kids are out of school, they can face hurdles that prevent them from reaching their full potential. Research shows without access to out-of-school learning activities, kids fall behind academically. Kids also gain weight twice as fast during summer than the school year.

The YMCAs of Tampa Bay want to ensure all kids in Tampa Bay awaken their summer imaginations through healthy eating habits and physical activity. Because when a child is happy, healthy, motivated and excited, something amazing is inevitably going to result.

Summer YMCA activities.

It’s important not to let your kids idle away their summer days. Instead, the Y offers the following tips to help families develop healthy habits:

  • High Five the Fruits and Veggies – Make sure your kids get at least five servings a day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend to maintain 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 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 your kids 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 your children 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, learning and other vital functions.

Summer is the perfect time to learn the importance of staying physically and intellectually active. From summer camp and swim lessons to youth sports and teen leadership programs, the Y can provide an outlet for your kids to play and learn throughout the summer.

And while the Y is serving as a parenting partner for out-of-school care, why not focus on YOU for once? Try out the Y’s state-of-the-art wellness equipment, take a group exercise class, relax by the pool or attend a family social—whatever works for your lifestyle and schedule! You and your family can count on the Y for support while you improve your health and well-being and connect with new friends and the community.

To learn more about how the Y can help your family get healthier together, go to ymcatampabay.org. There you’ll find 25 Y locations in five counties. And if you’re traveling this summer, Nationwide Membership offers access to Y facilities across the United States. This way, your family can use the Y as often as you’d like no matter where you are!

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