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NBK offers fun opportunities to get kids active

Military kids can learn to swim on the bases this summer, just one of many activities designed to keep children active during the break. File photo

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Ask any parent how much time their children spend in front of a screen, and they'll probably all tell you the same thing. Too much. In fact, according to recent studies, many children spend as many as seven hours in front of a television, computer or cell phone screen each day. Of course, we all understand the importance of getting our kids away from those screens and creating healthy, active lifestyles, but sometimes parents just don't know where to begin. Luckily for local military families, Naval Base Kitsap is sharing fun ways to pry our kids away from screens and point them towards fun, fit activities.

The Bangor Fitness Complex is offering great events for kids like last month's Tiger Adventure Races. For two hours, military kids played, swam and splashed their way through a host of fun activities designed to get kids moving. Freestyle swim races for all ages tested swim skills and stamina while obstacle courses put kids through their paces. Other fun events included dizzy bat races, hoola hoop competitions, long jumping, and jump roping out on the fields. It's safe to say that all the kids who participated had a great time while staying active, and every participant earned an award. Saturday's Tiger Adventure Races is a first-time event at NBK, but organizers hope to share this type of event more often.

Studies also show that getting kids active at an early age can have a profound effect on remaining active throughout their lives. Another brand-new program being offered at the Jackson Park Youth and Teen Center is taking aim at getting some of our youngest military kids interested in and ready for organized sports. Smart Start, a six-week program offered for ages 3-5, will focus on teaching basic motor skills necessary for sports participation. Practicing simple skills such as running and skipping, jumping and hopping, and catching and throwing, can bolster a child's overall physical ability as well as their confidence.

NBK offers several regularly scheduled activities to get kids moving as well. Enrollment is now open at Bangor Aquatics Center for swimming lessons for all ages - from Parent and Child classes with infants to adult classes for those learning to swim later in life. For less structured time in the water, there are also open-swim times Monday through Saturday on Bangor and Monday through Friday on Bremerton. Bremerton Fitness Complex also offers open enrollment for bi-weekly Goju-Ryu classes each Tuesday and Thursday taught by Keith Roark for those students looking for a fun, inexpensive introduction to martial arts.

With a recommended recreational screen-time limit of two hours per day, some parents are left wondering how to help their kids fill their time with fun activities and how to help their children build lifelong fitness habits. For the families of NBK, it seems the answer may be as close as the base fitness center.

For more information about base activities, please visit www.navylifepnw.com.

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