SARASOTA, FL – On Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at its Evalyn Sadlier Jones Branch (8301 Potter Park Dr., Sarasota), the Sarasota YMCA is holding a free community event to inspire more kids to keep their minds and bodies active. The annual YMCA “Healthy Kids Day” will feature activities such as the Adventure Tower climb, “Kids in the Kitchen” with the Junior League of Sarasota, Safe Place/SPRINT cell phone safety, hula hoop dancing, bounce house, face painting, lawn games, activities with the Sarasota County Fire Department, and more to motivate and teach families how to develop and maintain healthy routines at home throughout the summer months.
Healthy Kids Day aims to get more kids moving and learning, creating habits that it is hoped they will continue all summer long. When kids are out of school, they can face hurdles that prevent them from reaching their full potential. Research shows that without access to out-of-school learning activities, kids fall behind academically. Kids also gain weight twice as fast during summer than the school year. As spring turns to summer, Healthy Kids Day is a powerful reminder not to let children idle away their summer days. Instead, the Y wants families to focus on helping children imagine what they can accomplish over the summer.
“When a child is healthy, happy and supported, they can make great things happen,” said Rhonda Kapusta, executive director of the Evalyn Sadlier Jones Branch of the Sarasota YMCA. “A child’s development is never on vacation and Healthy Kids Day is a great opportunity to educate families and motivate kids to stay active in spirit, mind and body throughout the summer.”
In celebration of YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, the Y offers the following tips to help families develop healthy habits this summer that can have a lifetime effect:
• High five the fruits and veggies – Make sure kids get at least five servings of fruits and veggies each day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend for healthy childhood development.
• Read together – The summer is a great time to enjoy books with summer program participants – and 30 minutes a day goes a long way! Take trips to the local library or create a family reading challenge to see who can log the most minutes of reading. Encourage youth to create their own stories as well.
• Get moving! Activities that require movement also help kids flex their mental muscle. Use materials in unique ways: ask youth to build models, manipulate tools or develop their own theatrical scenes.
• Play together – Play may be the best way to prevent childhood obesity. By putting more play into your family’s day, you will soon find yourself getting the activity that will have your family feeling energized and strong.
• Make sleep a priority – Doctors recommend 10-12 hours of sleep a day for children ages 5-12 and 7-8 hours per night for adults. Sleep plays a critical role in maintaining our healthy immune system, metabolism, mood, memory, and learning.
Howard Johnson is the national sponsor of Healthy Kids Day. Nearly 1.2 million children and their families are expected to participate in YMCA’s Healthy Kids Days at more than 1,600 locations across the country. For more than 25 years, Healthy Kids Day has celebrated children’s health and continues to teach healthy habits for kids and families, encourage active play and inspire a lifetime love of physical activity.
This event is free and open to the community. For more information, contact Rhonda Kapusta at 941-922-9622 or visit sarasotaymca.org.
About the Sarasota YMCA
The Sarasota YMCA is committed to strengthening the community: through youth development by nurturing the potential of every child and teen, through healthy living by improving the community’s health and well-being, and through social responsibility by giving back and providing support to our neighbors. Every day, we work to make sure that everyone – regardless of age, income or background – has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. For more information, go to sarasotaymca.org or call (941) 951-2916.