Remember how it felt when you stepped off the bus after school as a kid, descending into an afternoon of freedom? Sun shining down, license to have fun and be carefree, you'd grab your skateboard and race around the neighborhood with your best friend, throw around a football in the street, or start an epic game of tag with your friends.
But the after-school routine has changed a lot since you were a kid. As we've become more tech savvy, Minecraft and other video games have replaced tag and hopscotch. Nearly 70 percent of moms said they played outside as kids, but only 31 percent said they see their kids doing the same today.
And playing outside isn't just lots of fun—it actually helps your kids grow up healthier and happier. Building a make-believe castle in the backyard could help kids learn to combine ideas in new and exciting ways, boosting their creativity. A simple game of hide-and-seek might actually help children learn problem-solving skills and encourage them to think outside the box. Kids who are more physically active also tend to have higher GPAs than their less-active peers. And it's also a perfect opportunity to make friends with the little boy down the street and learn key social skills.
Of course, the biggest benefit of playtime is exercise. Kids today are more connected to phones, tablets, computers, and TVs than any other generation. More than a quarter of parents report that their 2 to 5 year olds spend three hours or more in front of a screen each day. When your kiddos choose to toss a football around instead of popping in a video game, they're getting in the habit of moving around. And when kids think of running and playing as fun, they're much more likely to continue to be physically active into their teens and adult years.
To fuel those epic playdates, your little ones need fuel. Whether it's an after-school snack or a midday bite to eat, experts say school-aged kids need a healthy dose of carbohydrates and protein to keep their energy level high.
The whole grains, vitamins, and minerals in Clif Kid ZBars make them a smart choice. With flavors like chocolate brownie and chocolate chip, you won't have much convincing to do. And since they're USDA Certified Organic, you can be sure no pesticide residue or other harmful chemicals are seeping into your family's diet.
So what are you waiting for? Challenge the whole family to a no-holds-barred game of hide-and-seek, and bring a few Clif Bars for a snack to really fuel up the fun.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont