YMCA Encourages Kids to Play and Learn at Healthy Kids Day

Children exercising for Healthy Kids Day.

On Saturday, April 21, the Kirk Family YMCA is celebrating Healthy Kids Day with a FREE community event for kids and families in the Roanoke Valley. More than 1,900 Ys across the country are taking part in the celebration, meant to kick start physical activity and learning throughout the summer – a critical out-of-school time for kids.

Healthy Kids Day, a national initiative of the Y to improve the health and well-being of kids, is filled with fun, active play and educational activities that will help parents improve their kids’ lifestyles for the long term. Research shows that without access to activities that stimulate the mind and body, kids are more prone to gain weight and fall behind academically over the summer months.

“We know that when the school year ends, many kids lose exposure to activities that keep them moving and learning. Healthy Kids Day will help parents begin thinking early about what their kids need to stay physically and intellectually active in the summer,” said Cal Johnson, President and CEO of YMCA of the Roanoke Valley. “Summer is just around the corner and is an ideal time for kids to get out and grow so they are healthier and sharper when the next school year begins.”

According to the survey of more than 1,600 parents with children between the ages of 5 and 10, the economy has created financial challenges and time constraints that make it difficult for many families to carve out time for physical activity.  In fact, 52 percent of parents surveyed said they’d been forced to cut back to some degree on their children’s after-school activities – key ways for children to get active playtime – in an effort to save money.

The YMCA’s Family Health Snapshot also found that:74 percent of parents opt to spend family time with their kids sitting in front of the TV. 42 percent of parents say growing technological distractions – social networks, computer games and cell phones – are getting in the way of active play, although 53 percent admit they spend leisure time with their children on the computer and playing video games. 58 percent of children ages 5 to 10 spend less than four days a week playing outdoors.

Families are invited to the Kirk Family YMCA from 8:30-11:30am to PLAY on the WIBIT inflatable water obstacle course, in a ZUMBAtomic fitness class for kids, in the Y Arcade (the Y’s interactive gaming center) and in our swimming pools.  The event will also offer face painting, costumed characters and an opportunity to create recipe books in the Y’s healthy food court. Healthy Kids Day will kick-off summer camp with the Y’s Summer Camp Experience, which will feature many of the activities that will take place for kids at the Y over the summer months.

A leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y holds Healthy Kids Day to teach healthy habits and inspire a lifetime love of physical activity through active play. As part of this initiative, the Y – along with hundreds of thousands of parents and kids nationwide – is taking on summer by addressing critical gaps in health and education that cause kids to be at risk for childhood obesity and suffer summer learning loss.

For more information on the YMCA, visit www.ymcaroanoke.org.