FUN With Your Family

August is Family Fun Month! There are only a few weeks left before school starts. Here are some fun and creative ideas to have fun with your family. How many can you complete this month?

1. Visit a local park: Go for a walk, toss a frisbee, pack a lunch, and don’t forget your picnic blanket!

2. Host a dance party: Turn your living room into a party zone by dressing up in funky clothes, dimming the lights, and turning on your favorite dance music. Disco ball is optional!

3. Beach outing: We are lucky to live in an area close to the beach, take full advantage while there is still a little bit of warmth! Take your kids out to the beach and let them boogie board while you soak up some sun and relax.

4. Book Night! You don’t always have to leave the house to have fun. Take a trip to the local library and check out some books so you can huddle up with your family and read. You might want to include a longer novel where everyone can read a chapter or two.

5. Scavenger hunt: Give your kids a list of things that they will need to find around the house or in your neighborhood. Have some prizes ready for the person who finds all items on the list!

6. Backyard movie night: Why not watch a movie in your own makeshift movie theater? Play your family’s favorite movie using a projector and a blank wall. Make sure to pop some popcorn!

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Friendship Day

Today is Friendship Day! We think about friendship daily at the YMCA as we watch children and staff creating bonds, learning together, and building community.

Considering the valuable role friends play in our life it was deemed fit to have a day dedicated to friends and friendship. The United States Congress, in 1935, proclaimed the first Sunday of August as International Friendship Day. Since then, celebration of Friendship Day became an annual event. The idea of honoring the beauty of friendships caught on with people worldwide and Friendship Day has become a hugely popular festival in many countries.

In 1997, the United Nations named Winnie the Pooh as the world’s Ambassador of Friendship.

How will you celebrate Friendship Day?

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Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries… Oh My!

Many people wonder why New Englanders love living here, why we suffer through months and months of cold and snow and mud. One of the best reasons to live in New England: berry season. Now is the time, my friends. Don’t hold back. Pick as many of these delicious fruits as you can, share them with your family and friends, hide some in your freezer for fall smoothies or winter pancakes, and take some time to let the sun on your face while you enjoy the sweet taste of fresh picked berries.

Did you know that eating blueberries can protect against memory loss? Learn more about these healthful fruits!

Where do you go berry picking? Seacoast Harvest, a project of Seacoast Eat Local, offers a searchable index of local farms. If you want to pick berries, make sure to search pick-your-own. If you want to visit a farm to buy berries, simply look for local farms that offer the product you want. You can also find fresh berries at your local farmers market!

What are your favorite berry recipes? How do you incorporate them into your meals or snacks?
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Every Duck Makes A Difference

Thank you to everyone who purchased a duck as part of the Every Duck Makes A Difference fundraiser on July 12! We raised more than $1,200, all of which will go towards scholarships for local children to attend year-round YMCA programs such as School Age Child Care or summer camp at YMCA Camp Lincoln.

The winning ducks were:
First place- 222, Second place- 261, Third place- 197, Fourth place- 259, Fifth place- 69

Congratulations to our Rubber Duck Race winners!

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Happy, Healthy 4th of July!

Let the Y help you kick your 4th of July snacks out of the park! Check out these creative, easy, and best of all, healthy snacks to make with your children tomorrow. You probably even have most of these ingredients at home right now. Let the celebrations begin!

Start the day off right with 4th of July toast. Spread cream cheese or butter, then red jam on toasted bread. Top with blueberries and sliced bananas to create your American flag!
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Snack time? Break into your cookie cutter box and dig out the star: it’s time to make fruit salad. You can use whatever fruits you want (or have on hand). The stars work best with watermelon or pineapple.
4th fruitMake sure you stay hydrated this summer! Fruit infused water is a delicious way to increase your water intake. You can simply put fruit into your water, or try out these fruit ice cubes!
4th fruit waterWhat are your favorite 4th of July snacks? Comment here and we will share on our Facebook page!

Summer Learning

Today is Summer Learning Day! How will you celebrate Summer Learning today or all summer? Summer Learning Day is a national advocacy day recognized to spread awareness about the importance of summer learning for our nation’s youth in helping close the achievement gap and support healthy development in communities all across the country.

Whether you’re a community, summer program, school, or parent, there are many ways to celebrate Summer Learning Day! Here are some fun ideas for activities for families:

Visit your local library. Check out books from your library and set aside time every day to read to or with your child. Participate in a free, age-appropriate library summer program.

The “write” stuff. Encourage your child to keep a journal about the books they are reading, their favorite summer events or activities, and the new friends they’ve made.

Take advantage of free or low-cost local activities. Take educational trips to your local
museum, zoo, park, or nature center. Encourage kids to write about their trip and what they thought about it.

Plan and plant a garden. Include your child in your gardening. Decide where to plant, measure the perimeter, visit your local nursery, and let your child help choose plants that will best suit your planned garden, along with supplies.

Use counting skills in every day activities and errands. Baking a cake? Let your child help count out the number of cups of flour and tablespoons of oil, or how many minutes to mix the batter.

Do good together. Volunteer in your community and bring your child along. Whether it’s
cleaning up a local park or collecting supplies for your local animal shelter, volunteering with your children today will turn them into future volunteers.

Get active. Children are at a higher risk of weight gain during the summer than the school year. Get out with your child. Take a nature hike, play soccer, or go for a swim at your community pool.

Encourage creativity. Have your child write a “5 minute haiku” about something they saw while on a nature hike or a visit to the museum. A haiku is a Japanese poem written in 17 syllables divided into 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables.

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June is Men’s Health Month

June is Men’s Health Month, celebrated nationwide with health screenings, health fairs, media appearances, and other health education and outreach activities. The goal of Men’s Health Month is to raise awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. Men’s Health Network is a national non-profit that provides helpful information about men’s health to men, boys, and their families. Locally, Exeter Hospital is a great resource for boys and men who want to learn more about men’s health.

Men’s Health Month calls for some serious action! Play with your kids or grandkids. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Do yard work. Play a sport. Keep comfortable walking shoes handy at work and in the car. Most importantly, choose activities that you enjoy to stay motivated. Anyone can be unhealthy, but it takes a man to take charge of his health and get moving!

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