Motivate the Kids in Your Community to Get Active with These 7 Tips

It’s estimated that the average American teenager spends approximately nine hours per day using digital media. Nine hours. That’s more hours than many of us sleep at night. It’s the length of time it would take you to drive from New York City to southern Ohio. Teens are watching TV, movies, and videos; playing video games; and checking social media, and they’re doing it using more devices than ever before. Thanks to the growth of the internet of things (IoT), not only are kids spending time watching television, they’re using smart phones, tablets, smart watches, and internet connected video games, which means parents are fighting for their child’s attention from even more devices.

For many parents, this astronomical spike in digital media time is giving rise to concerns for their children’s health, as increased digital media time has been linked to rising rates of childhood obesity, cyber-bullying, and other mental and physical health issues. One of the best ways to help mitigate these potentially dangerous consequences is to ensure young people are getting off their devices, out of their houses, and being active with friends and neighbors. To help the parents in your community encourage their kids to get active, consider the following seven tips and best practices.

1. Encourage Parents to Take Their Kids Camping. Promote the public camping grounds, trails, and parks available right in your own community. Since your park entry fees are likely extremely affordable, all your families will need for a fun weekend is a tent, some basic supplies, hiking shoes, and a curiosity and appreciation for nature.

2. Make a Game Out of Wildlife Spotting. For those kids who are among the five million global users of Pokemon Go, encourage them to put down their devices and search for real life creatures in your community. Encourage them to visit your local parks or hike your local trails, and see who can spot the most unique varieties of birds, flowers, and other wildlife.

3. Host a Community Wide Treasure Hunt. Encourage families in your community to participate in a city or county-wide treasure hunt. Hide a specific, community-related item somewhere on public property. Provide daily clues to locate the treasure and award the winner. The City of Pueblo, Colorado has been holding an annual event, The Great Pueblo Chili Hunt, for several years and has had great success engaging its citizens and encouraging them to be active and explore their community.

4. Hold a Nature Crafting Class. Invite kids to sign up for an outdoor crafting class in the spring, summer, or fall. Using seasonal items found right in your community, instruct them to create crafts such as floral wreaths, watercolors made with berry juice, pine cone ornaments, or painted rocks. Manage class attendees and instructors using your parks and rec software.

5. Establish a Community Garden Project—Run by Kids. Establish a community garden project, and recruit youth volunteers to plant, maintain, and sell what’s produced. Not only will it encourage kids to get out and get active, it will teach them about volunteerism, nutrition, gardening, and help them develop business skills.

6. Establish Seasonal Building Contests. Hold a snowman building contest in the winter, a scarecrow building contest in the fall, and a sandcastle building contest in the summer. Encourage kids to form teams and leave their creations around town for citizens to enjoy for weeks to come.

7. Provide a Promotional Offer. Increase participation in your existing seasonal sports leagues and youth activities by offering a limited time promotion. Consider a percentage discount for new registrants, for repeat league participants, or to refer a friend.

If you plan to implement any of these tips in your community, you’ll need a powerful parks and rec software system to help you track registrants, volunteers, and instructors; promote trails and park systems; and sell point-of-sale (POS) admission tickets. Ready to implement a new parks and rec software, but don’t know where to begin your search for a more robust solution? Click the link below.

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Landon Schenck

Landon Schenck

Landon holds a BBA in Management Information Systems and has over 20 years of software development experience, including developing the CivicRec software from the ground up. As the general manager of CivicRec, Landon leads the product's strategy and overall vision. He continues to personally engage with larger customers during their implementation process.