CHICAGO -- YMCAs across the country are planning free local activities as part of YMCA Healthy Kids Day on Saturday, April 18.

Interactive events designed to promote healthy living, bring families together and teach families tools to combat stress during the recession are planned at more than 1,800 YMCAs nationwide. The organization anticipates hosting 800,000 family members for its Healthy Kids Day.

“The YMCA understands that many families in our communities are really struggling to maintain balance in their lives,” Lynne Vaughan, chief innovation officer, YMCA of the USA, said in a statement. “Through YMCA Healthy Kids Day, we give them an opportunity to have fun and be active as a family, as well as provide simple tools they can use all year long to make things a little better and a little less stressful.”

To help participants manage stress, local events will promote regular physical activity, choosing nutritious foods and finding time for family togetherness. Organizers recommend that families consider engaging in the following actions at home:

• Involve the whole family in meal planning, preparation and clean-up.

• Eat more meals together as a family.

• Provide each child with one-on-one time every day.

• Designate one night a week for walks, bowling, bike rides, roller skating or the park.

• Serve fruits and vegetables at most meals; include a whole-grain or protein option with every snack.

Activities planned in local Ys include cooking classes, rock wall climbing, dance demonstrations and health screenings.