10 tips for a feel-good family summer

Cherri Megasko

Now that summer is finally here it's time to quit dreaming and start enjoying. A well-planned, well-rounded summer means the whole family can stay active and healthy while taking advantage of the sun and sand. Even Fido can join in family activities and stay physically fit as well. Here are 10 tips for a feel-good family summer.

Garden with the Kids

Grow something, even if you start small with carrots or herbs. Getting the kids involved in gardening helps teach them the value of food and encourages healthy eating choices.

Volunteer as a Family

Check with your local parks department or hiking clubs for outdoor volunteer opportunities in your area. Volunteering as a family outside will keep you fit while giving back to your community.

Be Conscious of What You Feed Your Family

Have a "raw" dinner night. Raw, whole foods are better choices for your body and it's easy to pack veggie sticks or fruit slices to snack on the go with your kids. Dishes like gazpacho or hummus with veggie dippers are perfect when it's hot outside. Try making a salad with veggies and lettuce from your garden a few nights a week either as a main course or side dish. Participating in Meatless Mondays is also a smart way to eat healthy. Being conscious of what you feed your family will ensure you feel energized for a variety of activities all summer long.

Train the Family Dog

Take summer as an opportunity to teach the family dog new tricks or to complete an obstacle course. It will be fun for the kids and keep Fido in good physical condition at the same time. It's just as important to feed your dog quality, wholesome food, too. You wouldn't feed your children junk food at meal times, right? A healthy diet for your dog will help Fido keep up with all of the family's activities.

Protect Against Summer Hazards

Sunburn can lead to long-term skin damage and bug bites are just miserable to deal with. Stay protected by using a good quality sunscreen with at least 30 spf and use an insect repellent for any outdoor activities.

Read Together as a Family

Let each member of the family take turns picking out a book or story and create your own family book club. Read a section each week and then discuss your interpretation of what you have read. This is a great way to keep your kids' minds sharp over summer break.

Adopt Green Habits

Take care of the earth by adopting some new green habits. Perhaps the family can start a worm farm or walk to the store instead of driving. Ask your kids to research ways to live a more earth-friendly lifestyle and then try a couple ideas as a family.

Review Your Disaster Plan

Summer is an ideal time to review your disaster preparedness plan. Update you first aid kit and be sure the kids know what to do in case of an emergency, especially if they're home alone. If they stay with a sitter or child care service, be sure to go over the plan with them as well.

Stick to a Schedule

We all like to sleep in on our days off, but sleeping the summer away can be bad for us physically and mentally. Sticking to a schedule will help your kids get more out of their summer vacation and be better prepared to start school again in the fall.

Stay Active Together

To stay fit during the summer months, why not try out a new sport or game the whole family can enjoy? Check out disc golf, grass skiing, or maybe even competitive kite flying. Your kids may also want to start a neighborhood kickball league.

There are endless ways to stay active and healthy with your family over summer. You can get your kids on board by asking them to help make the plan. Trying new things together and eating wholesome foods will ensure your family--Fido included--feels great all summer long.