During the summer when temperatures are high, children’s levels of physical activity can drop, which can have several negative effects.
“Studies show children who are not active over the summer may suffer summer-learning loss or ‘summer slide,’ which could affect their performance in the fall when school starts again,” said Laura Toussaint-Newkirk, senior director of marketing for the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix/Valley of the Sun JCC (The J).
But getting outdoors to exercise during the Valley’s searing summers is difficult. Area Girls Scouts resolve the issue by heading north.
“Each summer, Girl Scouts gives girls the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors in cooler temperatures at one of our three camps located outside of Prescott and Payson,” Susan de Queljoe, senior associate of marketing and communications at Girl Scouts — Arizona Cactus-Pine Council said. “Girls can hike, swim, canoe, use the ropes course and zipline, and generally enjoy being outside
If you’re not leaving town, there are still plenty of ways for children to get the exercise they need.
“Definitely swimming and splash pads are at the top of the list in the summer,” said Jessica Knight, assistant director of The J Early Childhood Center. “It’s a great way to burn off some energy and get some exercise for children in our program.”
Aaron Weiner, assistant director of the East Valley Jewish Community Center’s (EVJCC) Camp Rimon Gadol, suggested being creative with water play.
“You could do what I call cold ice cube quidditch,” he said. “It’s like hot potato, but you have to pass ice cubes and then score in a bucket before it melts.”
Outdoor activities can be a true pleasure, but there comes a point when temperatures become dangerously high.
At the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale, summer programs focus on indoor physical activities.
“We run our Triple Play gym activities daily and encourage 30 minutes to one hour of activity,” said Curt McReynolds, chief operating officer of the organization.
While exercise can keep children’s minds sharp over the summer, Weiner of the EVJCC also suggested adding some brain games to the mix.
“I think stimulating them mentally and physically should be balanced,” Weiner said. “In the summertime it’s hard taking kids outside, so doing a mental game will create a great engaging atmosphere.” JN