CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Since most kids aren't in school this summer, what are they doing all day?
If they're spending more than two hours in front of the TV or computer, they're not alone. But, they're also not meeting the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
According to a government survey, 99 percent of adolescents said they watch tv each day, and 90 percent say they use the computer outside of school.
But only about one-fourth of kids between the age of 12 and 15 meet the recommended limit of two hours per day in front of a screen.
A few parents said they work to get their kids away from those screens.
"Sometimes we go to the park, sometimes we just play at our house," Melissa Fritzler said.
Fritzler has a two-year-old daughter and said she makes it a point to get her up and moving.
"Exercise is really important to go to the park, socialize, cause she's the only child, so I don't have other kids for her to learn how to interact with," Fritzler said.
"When you spend so much time on the Internet, you forget about the world going on around you," Ginger Smith said.
Smith was playing with her daughter and friend and Cape County Park Wednesday. She too encourages the nine-year-old girls to get outside and take a break from the computer and TV screens.
"Most kids these days are on the computer playing video games and they're not out getting any exercise that's why most of them are overweight, cause they're not active," Smith said. "I just think it’s just good to be outside and just look at the beautiful sky and breathe it in and be active."
"Whenever you're inside you don't experience the outdoors," her daughter Megan said.
Rick Marchan and his girlfriend try to teach her daughters the importance of exercise.
"It is kind of hard to get them out to run around with us even though it’s fun," Marchan said.
But when it's difficult, they get creative.
"Before they didn't want to hike, now we add water guns," Marchan said.
Research shows excessive screen time has been linked to health issues like elevated blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and being overweight or obese among kids.
But parents say the screens can have their place.
"TV can be a good thing because it does teach them their numbers, their colors," Fritzler said.
"They watch educational shows, and the computer is educational," Smith said.
These parents just want to make sure the kids are still learning about the world away from the screens too.
"You make a lot more memories outside doing stuff than you do on a computer," Smith said.
If you want to get your kids up and moving, here are a few ideas from
Urban Wildlife Appreciation
Fill a bird feeder with some seed and leave a shallow basin of water in your backyard. You can download bird-watching apps and bird calls onto your smartphone or tablet. Record the birds you see and enter them on the citizen scientist or nest watch program so that your bird sightings can be recorded on national surveys.
This is a wonderful international game where participants create “geocaches” which are small treasure chests that contain a log book so you can record your names. Some geocaches contain items that you can swop like flashlights, stationary, compasses etc. Here you can take an item and must leave an item. Some geocaches are scavenger hunts and you need to solve the riddle to find the next cache. You can even get math geocache scavenger hunts if you want an educational experience.
Everyone loves camping, but you don’t have to leave town to enjoy the great outdoors. You can hike and picnic in your local park, or set up a campsite in your backyard. You can sleep outside in your tent, grill marshmallows on the barbeque and tell campfire stories.
This is a great activity to organize with a group of local parents. Hide clues at each family’s home and get your students to walk or bike from home to home to find the next clue. This works really well in a park too.
Gardening is a great way for kids to connect with nature, understand the food cycle and get active. You can make gardening fun by getting kids to plan their own vegetable gardens. You can have themes like ‘pizza garden’ where students can grow ingredients that go on pizzas like tomatoes, oregano, onions and spinach. Get them to plant and water their gardens, then harvest them for dinner.
For kids who love flowers, get them to plan and plant their own gardens, spell their names out in flowers or get them to grow beds that are color-coordinated or rainbow-striped. This can be a rewarding way to get them to eat healthier foods that are organic and local.
Charity Starts at Home
Sign up the family for a charity walk or run. When students know that they are working for a good cause, they will be more motivated to help. Make training sessions a fun family affair and help your kids to raise funds for the charity of their choice.
This summer, getting your family moving will help to make it a healthier, happier break from your winter routine.
You can also check out the government website: