Summer has come to Marshalltown. While this means longer days, higher temps and the occasional thunderstorm it means something entirely different to the children of Marshalltown. Summer means vacation.
We all remember the joy that only summer break can bring, but we have to think about how our town's youth will spend this precious vacation time.
Some kids will have jobs, some will go on vacation, but far too many kids will want to stay inside; out of the heat and in front of a glowing screen, spending their days playing video games or watching TV.
Children need to stay active, and without the structure of daily classes children can easily slip into three months of inactivity.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 26.5 percent of children in Iowa age 10-17 are overweight or obese.
There is a national discussion about how to respond to the last 30 years of increasing obesity rates amongst children. While there is a wide and varied pool of possible solutions, every childhood expert and common sense both agree that children need to be more active.
In Marshalltown we have a community that is more than willing to offer our children opportunities to get out and enjoy their time off. A popular summer time destination for children has been the Marshalltown Family Aquatic Center. This is a great way for kids and families to cool off on a hot Iowa day and offers a number of options for kids that just can't stay out of the pool.
Along with visiting the Marshalltown Family Aquatic Center, kids spend some time at any one of Marshalltown's local parks. Check out Riverview Park on Marshalltown's north side featuring a campground, frisbee golf course, a newly renovated tennis and basketball court along with community buildings to host birthdays or any celebration.
Marshalltown's Skatepark provides a new and exciting way for children to be active, without the price tag.
Meanwhile, the Marshalltown Public Library offers a summer reading program that will not only have your kids reading more, but throw in a bike ride or walk to the library and they are physically active and learning, all without school.
Detach from technology for a day, or just a few hours, and enjoy what Marshalltown has to offer.
Keeping your kids active over the summer months doesn't need to be difficult. Go for a bike ride with your kids, let them start a band in your garage, encourage them to open a lawn mowing business or just let them draw with chalk on your driveway.
And listen to your kids; they just might have a few ideas too, just not more TV.