~Summertime Fun for the Family~


hop scotchCan you believe it ~ we are half way through the summer season! Summertime isn’t a time to worry about the children being bored but it’s the time to enjoy some good quality time with family. Outdoor family fun can be done on any budget while helping everyone stay fit and healthy.

First, gather the family and have every member of the family write down their favorite activity. Second, look at the family’s ideas and compare them to what’s available in your local area such as: local parks, community pools, state forests and summer specials at area businesses for family-friendly events. Last, use the information that you collect to create a summer family “bucket list” and start moving.

Budget friendly activities for the family can include: walking, hiking, swimming, bicycling, tennis, kayaking (paddle sports) volleyball and bowling. Even activities such as gardening, camping, fishing, horse backing riding and boating can lead themselves to fun times and lots of movement. If you are picnicking don’t forget the Frisbee, softball or horseshoes. Get original and grab a piece of chalk and a rock to create some hop-scotch fun (add bubble wrap for additional entertainment). Summer family fun is limited only by your imagination.

Physical activity is any body movement that uses energy. People of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities can benefit from physical activity. Being physical active can improve strength, flexibility, weight loss and/or maintenance, stress and energy levels as well as reduce the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and stroke.


Physical activity is the key to staying healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have set the following guidelines:

  • Children and adolescents (ages 6-17) should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day.
  • Adults (ages 18-64) need at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest,  shoulders, and arms). (If you’re 65 years of age or older, are generally fit, and have no limiting health conditions you can follow these same guidelines.)*

Fitting regular exercise into your daily schedule may seem difficult at first but it’s easier than you think. Spread it out and break your activity into attainable segments. Ten minutes at a time is fine. Try going for a 10-minute brisk walk, 3 times a day, 5 days a week. This will give you a total of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity.

*When to Check With Your Doctor:   Doing activity that requires moderate effort is safe for most people. But if you have a chronic health condition such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, or other symptoms be sure to talk with your doctor about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you.

See this print-friendly brochure for examples of physical activity.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Physical Activity

Remember: Play, Don’t Lay

If you would like to contact Ricki McWilliams for more information, you can reach her at the UF/IFAS Extension Walton County Office (850) 892-8172.