6 Thanksgiving activities for kids to reduce myopia risk

kids playing in autumn leaves

No matter where you are this Thanksgiving, you can help your kids lower their risk of myopia (nearsightedness) by promoting outdoor activities.

What causes myopia in children?

The precise reasoning behind myopia in children has not been pinpointed. While heredity is suspected to have something to do with the refractive error, researchers believe that focusing fatigue has the most impact on myopia risk. Focusing fatigue happens when you focus up-close for long periods of time, whether you’re reading a book or staring at a digital screen. Here are a few activities to consider over the holiday that avoid focusing fatigue and lower your children’s risk of myopia:

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1. Play road trip games

If your Thanksgiving plans involve traveling, encourage your kids to put down their screens or books and play games together on the road. Look for out-of-state license plates or different-colored Volkswagen bugs. Activities like this will keep your kids present and focused on distant objects rather than distracted by their phone or tablet.

SEE ALSO: Is Too Much Screen Time Bad For Kids?

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2. Walk or run in a Turkey Trot

What better way to work up an appetite than with a little exercise? Many Turkey Trots have a 1K fun run for kids at a lower price — some are even free. It’s a great way to get your junior trotters out and active before the big feast.

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3. Check out the local parade

Get some extra sunshine by going to a Thanksgiving Day parade, and make it more interesting with a game of “I Spy.” Look for your favorite floats and instruments in the marching band, and ... did someone say Santa Claus would be there?

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4. Ask for help in the kitchen

Invite your kids to help cook their favorite dish — they can get cookware and measuring cups, find and measure ingredients, baste the turkey and set the timer. When everything’s prepped and ready to go in the oven, the kids can help fold napkins and set the table.

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5. Give back to the community

Find out if there’s a nearby nonprofit organization that needs volunteers or donations on or near Thanksgiving. Do your best to accommodate the time and work they need help with versus being set on a certain task or date. It’s possible they’ll be overwhelmed with volunteer interest on Thanksgiving Day but don’t have enough help expected the day before or after.

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6. Go play outside

Whether your family plays an annual game of Thanksgiving touch football or you prefer to kick around a soccer ball, it’s a great day to get outside and play. If sports aren’t your thing, walk your dog, go on a family hike, ride your bikes in a nearby park, or play a Thanksgiving version of hot potato — pass a ball around and take turns saying what you’re thankful for.

Recent findings from the American Academy of Ophthalmology show that sunlight exposure reduces myopia in children. Though this may be true, it’s still important to wear UV-protective sunglasses to keep your eyes safe when outdoors.

SEE RELATED: Myopia causes: Is your child at risk?

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