Summer fun activities for kids and teens
The kids have been out on summer break for about a month now, and if they are anything like my kids, they are starting to get a little stir crazy - especially with the ever-rising temperatures that don't always entice us to go outdoors during the daytime hours.
My oldest son has been busy with strength and conditioning camp at his high school, as well as a summer job mowing yards and weeding flower beds. My youngest son enjoys swimming in the pool and playing basketball and football.
However, with the extremely hot temperatures, it has made it more difficult to spend too much time outside during the middle part of the day. My 11-year-old and I waited until 8 p.m. last night before we headed outdoors to throw the football, ride our bicycles and play a game of basketball.
There are many camps that are either sports- or activity-related being offered around our area this summer. If your child has an interest in basketball, soccer, volleyball or football, you can check the sports section of the newspaper for upcoming camps being offered.
In addition, Victoria Karate Academy and The Heat are both offering camps that focus on exercise-related activities for kids and teens.
If you prefer to lead the activities yourself and are looking for quality ways to spend some time with your children this summer, there are a number of options in our area that are exercise-related and will allow the whole family to spend some time together and some exercise in the process.
Of course, you have to make sure your child first knows how to ride a bicycle and is fitted with a good, quality helmet. Also, make sure you cover the "rules of the road" before heading out on that first bike ride.
Bike riding is a great way to spend quality time with your kids and get exercise while exploring your surroundings on two wheels.
You can ride bikes in your neighborhood or head to the park or the Hike and Bike Trail.
For added intensity, choose two objects and race from one to the next. My son, Luke, loves when he beats his mom on these types of bike rides.
Riverside Park provides the perfect place to explore and get under some shade in the process.
There is the paved trail that runs all along the Guadalupe River, or you can head into nature on the Tonkawa Nature Trail, which is accessed at 3003 N. Vine behind the Hiller House.
It runs down to Red River and winds all through the trees, a great vantage point to spot a deer or other creatures of nature.
Paddle the Guadalupe
This is not as scary of a concept as you make think. It is a lovely way to spend an afternoon or evening getting exercise while and at the same time getting out in nature and exploring the river.
The Coastal Bend Paddling Club meets every Thursday evening at 6 p.m. and put in at the boat ramp in Riverside Park, with the take out just beyond The PumpHouse restaurant. You can find out more about the area paddling club and resources on paddling at coastalbendpaddlers.org.
If you don't have access to a pool at your home, there are plenty of water and swimming related options in the Victoria area.
The Gary T. Moses Pool located at 211 N. Ben Wilson is open to the public for a fee of $1.50 per person. It is open most days from 2 to 6 p.m.
The splash pad is a great option for those younger kids in the household. It is located at the Lone Tree Creek Park, 4009 E. Airline Road, and is free to the public. It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
If you prefer to get some swimming in but want to head indoors, we have beautiful indoor swimming complex here in Victoria. The VISD Aquatics Center opened in 2011 and is equipped with swimming lanes and diving boards. It is open Monday through Saturday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., and the cost of admission is $3.
These are all great ideas to get some activity in with your kids while they are out of school for the summer.
Other ideas include dodgeball, jumping rope or for indoor fun a scavenger hunt.
Encouraging physical fitness and exercise comes most easily when the parent is also a willing participant and sets the example. Exercising with your child not only helps to improve physical fitness but also allows one of the best avenues for spending quality time as a family.