– Healthy Kids Day - Building Stronger Kids

Healthy Kids Day – Building Stronger Kids

Healthy Kids Day

Summer is a great time for kids to stay active and healthy. With no school during the summer, warmer weather invites children to play outside and enjoy the sunshine. Unfortunately, although there is great potential for kids to keep their minds and bodies active during the summer, it’s too often that they experience learning loss and become less active than during the school year.

Healthy Kids DayHealthy Kids Day, a YMCA Initiative to raise awareness for this issue and encourage healthy eating and physical activity in growing kids across the country, is celebrated every year at local YMCAs.  Summer learning loss is a huge problem in our country. With so many developing youth, it is important that kids are encouraged to read, write, and play both inside and outside during the summer. According to an article from Oxford Learning:

  • 6 months of math skills are lost over the summer
  • Equivalent of one month of overall learning is lost after summer vacation
  • 6 weeks in the fall are spent re-learning old material
  • 2 months of reading skills are lost over the summer
  • 2-3 hours per week during summer vacation is needed to prevent any learning loss
  • As early as Grade 1, summer learning loss can be recognized
  • 2 months of subject-focused learning is all it takes to improve specific learning skills
  • By the end of Grade 6, students who have experienced summer learning loss over the years are an average of 2 years behind their peers.
  • 2/3rds of the income-based achievement gap is attributed to summer learning loss by the start of high school
  • It can take up to 2 months from the first day of school for a student’s brain development to get back on track

These statistics can seem intimidating. For this reason, it is important to find ways to keep your child’s brain and body active during summer vacation. And, according to the above statistics, it only takes 2-3 hours of “learning” every week to prevent this summer learning loss. That’s not a lot of time!

Whether your child chooses to read a book for a few hours before bed or in the morning, or they decide to write to a pen pal throughout the summer months, there are lots of ways to keep children’s minds healthy and active.

Healthy Kids DayIn addition to learning loss, physical activity is also minimized during the summer months due to a variety of factors.  Sports seasons usually end before the summer, leaving kids with no outlet for exercise. In addition, some summer days the temperature can rise so high that children will choose to stay inside rather than run around outdoors.

This lack of physical activity also attributes to the learning loss that kids experience. When your body is active, it helps your mind stay active too. According to an article from WebMD, exercise “gets blood, oxygen, and other “brain food” to your brain. It also helps your body make more of the natural chemicals that help brain cells grow and survive. And it may simply perk you up.”

As an adult, have you ever gone to the gym, started a routine, and suddenly felt more energized, motivated, and alert mentally and physically? Exercise is good for your brain. Thus, keeping kids physically active can also help improve their memory and overall brain function.

Summer camps have also become exceedingly popular for families all over the country. Not only do summer camps keep your kids’ minds and bodies active during the summer months, but it also gives them a chance to meet new friends, try new things, and build character through it all. To learn more about summer camps at the YMCA, click HERE.

Summer learning loss and loss in physical activity is a reality and the YMCA is taking steps to minimize these issues for children all over the country. During Healthy Kids Day at YMCA’s all over the nation, healthy vendors come to visit and kids and families are encouraged to stay active and eat well through games, free prizes, and other fun activities at the Y.

Healthy Kids DayThese free community events help kids and families, YMCA members or not, learn about summer learning loss, weight gain, and nutritional deficiencies that occur each year and how they can take steps to avoid it. We would love your help in raising awareness for Healthy Kids Day this year. So, grab a friend or family member and head over to your local YMCA branch to join us for Healthy Kids Day 2016!

Our Northern Dauphin, East Shore, and West Shore YMCA branches are participating in Healthy Kids Day 2016 and offering lots of fun activities to the community. To find out more about each branch’s Healthy Kids Day, click on the links below for more information!

Emily Sanville, Digital Communications Coordinator

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