Fun Summer Activities for Kids that Encourage Mental Health

It’s June, and that means school’s out and summer begins. Here are some ways for your kids to have fun while staying mentally healthy and on top of their school “smarts.”
Read. It is essential to encourage your child to pick up a book (or a few). A study by The Reading Agency showed that nonacademic reading allows for better parent-child communication, increased self-esteem and empathy, reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improved overall well being.
Plan activities. Structured activities have been shown to improve mental resiliency by allowing kids to interact with others and develop a sense of independence.
Get outside. Even a bike ride or walk around the neighborhood ignites all of the senses, increases Vitamin D, boosts body confidence and improves nonverbal communication.
Turn off the TV and get active.  Exercise encourages the brain to release endorphins (“feel good” hormones). Especially in the summer when heat may put stress on your child, swimming is a great source of exercise and mood improvement.
Craft. Crafts are great indoor alternatives that encourage confidence, concentration and self-awareness.
Family Time. Unfortunately, very few parents can take off the entire summer. But, as you’re able, take a few hours (or days) to enjoy the summer months with your family.  Even board games and family dinners increase mental health.  It’s good for you, too! Local newspapers or websites often list free activities for families, or check out this list of ideas for free or cheap summer activities.

Additional Tips:
• Maintain a structured schedule
• Create a visual calendar for upcoming plans and events
• Uphold boundaries that were in place during the school year

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