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10 Summer Parks and Recreation Programs for Kids

Summer is one of the busiest seasons, as kids are out of school and parents are looking for productive and positive ways to keep them busy. It’s a great opportunity to roll out some fresh new ideas, taking advantage of some of the trends out there in both fitness and recreation.


While all parks and recreation organizations will have the standard summer programs for kids –

such as sports camps, dance classes, and yoga – we wanted to feature some less common ideas for potential programs. Keeping your programming fresh and interesting will reward your frequent users, which is always a great idea.




Forest expeditions, beach walks and large park explorations can all help to show kids the importance of a healthy ecosystem and how to keep our planet green. Get a charismatic group leader who is really great with kids, is passionate about conservation and makes the information interesting enough to keep their attention. Current studies are now showing that a lack of educational experiences in the summer hurts their learning abilities. For an educational experience, this summer program for kids is hard to beat.




Physical activity is a key part of a healthy and productive summer vacation for youth. With cycling becoming known for a great way to build healthy neighborhoods, lowering traffic congestion and helping conservation efforts, it’s becoming more and more popular. Spin classes are also becoming incredibly popular and it can be a great summer program for kids. Be sure to get familiar with your state or province’s safety procedures and law regarding stationary bikes, before attempting this one.




Developed by a Lotte Berk, barre classes can be an excellent way to strengthen your body, while targeting multiple muscle groups at the same time. Another great benefit is the mind-body connection you strengthen by activating frequently underused muscles. Plus, it’s fun and trendy! If you have existing dance or specialized ballet classes, this can be a great additional class option that can also make additional use of your existing space and equipment.




Studies are constantly coming out these days on interval training’s benefit to cardiovascular health, strength building, and even weight loss. While it’s not the easiest form of exercise, no one can dispute its effectiveness. While the Tabata Protocol is one of the most effective yet difficult forms, many methods of interval training can be taught.


Setting up numerous workout stations that students rotate through in a timed manner can work and also break up the monotony of doing repeated sprints. Fitness regiments this advances will be more interesting and effective for child athletes competing at select league or the state/provincial level.




Spikeball is a fun sport with a short learning curve and lots of fun for everyone. While it may not be strong enough to have a program featuring it on its own, we wanted to use it an example for some fun activities you can add to more general programs. Keep an eye out for interesting, fun activities like this to keep things light in your summer programs for kids.




Adventure classes are some of our favorite summer programs for kids. There are so many learning outcomes and benefits to be had. Examples of activities can include rock climbing, dragonboating, hiking, kayaking and swimming. By keeping things diverse, things are kept fresh and that’s pretty important for keeping youth engaged and excited.




One of the things that youth usually get pretty excited for are watersports. The types of watersports you can host are dependent on your resources but this can be a very popular program, if you can offer it. A good thing is that many of these can be hosted in a swimming pool; if you have access to bodies of water and boats, there are more activities you can play with.


Check out this great list of watersports to get some ideas, while keeping in mind not all of them may be appropriate for youth. However, remember safety is always first. Make sure you have a licensed lifeguard on hand, in case of any accidents or emergencies.




Whether it’s in one of your parks, recreation facilities or a hiking trail, getting kids out into nature is great for their wellbeing. Depending on where you are located, there will be different outdoor opportunities, ranging from trail running to mountain biking or even nature education courses. With so much engaging technology, it can be hard to get your kids outdoors but, if your programs provide value to the youth, it can spur an interest in enjoying outdoor activities.




Recreation facilities do wonders towards improving your community and a good leadership program is an awesome way to go above and beyond. A community with inspired youth who become community leaders will have many more positive figures doing positive things. This can also be an excellent entry point for building relationships with local schools. One great example comes from the Duke of Edinburgh Award, which your parks and recreation organization can participate in. Participants go through various journeys and projects and learn the importance of commitment to service, skill and physical recreation.




As foraging becomes increasingly trendy, there are many valid arguments on both sides of the fence. Yes, it is illegal in most places, so this program can only happen in cities with designated areas where it is allowed. If it’s being done, it might as well be done right. Teaching kids the proper way to forage to maximize conservation can help deepen the connection with nature, teaching them the importance of it. One method to find the proper location is to approach private property owners, in order to do approved day trips on their land. Can’t host this program? Gardening workshops focused on vegetables and fruits can be a great alternative.


What do you think will be the coolest summer program for kids in 2016? Let us know on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Google+, to stay up to date with all of your PerfectMind news.


PerfectMind is an industry-leading member management and facility booking software provider. Its robust Platform as a Service (PaaS) serves organizations of all sizes in parks & recreation, health & wellness, fitness, and education sectors. With over 5,000 customers in 21 countries, PerfectMind streamlines business processes so organizations can focus on supporting and growing their communities.

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