And Happy Friday the 13th to you! Are you the suspicious type?
Fridays are our day to celebrate being fit and healthy and active! We started a fit mom challenge, that really is the focus of lifestyle change. As part of that, we’re committed to providing lots of tips on how to be more healthy and active with your kids. Today’s post is by one of our newest contributors to join our team, Naomi Pelss. So let’s play outside – but be sure to NOT go under any ladders today! 🙂
We need to send our children outside! Kick them off the couch and into the back yard!
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If your children are like mine they like to watch TV, play on the computer, or play games on their electronic devices. I love the fact that my youngest will go to daycare soon where there are none of these things! At daycare he gets to play outside with his peers in the morning and the afternoon. He has opportunity to run, climb, play and ride tricycles. And on the days my children spend with grandparents, they usually help Nana and Grandpa in the garden or play a game of soccer. Children really don’t need much equipment to play outdoors either.
My daughter and her friend spent a long time rolling down a hill laughing. Equipment needed: hill and children.
In fact, sometimes the less toys the better as you will find children use their imaginations to create wonderful play experiences like in the book, “Roxaboxen” by Alice McLerran. I spent a lot of time outdoors as a young girl. I ran around with my friends, rode my banana-seat bicycle and skipped rope with the children in my neighbourhood. We also played tag, climbed trees, went swimming and made grass houses.
We were active, we were outdoors, and we were happy.
On the weekend it was a beautiful day and I kicked my older children outside. Now I must admit it took a little coaxing on my part to get them outside. Children follow by example, so I came outdoors as well. I looked at the grass clippings on the lawn and told my daughter Grace about how I made grass houses when I was a young girl. Well that’s all it took and before long I could see Grace and John working together to build an elaborate grass “house” complete with living room and pretend TV! No toys in sight – They were playing with grass!
I worked on the flowerbeds. As I started working, I could almost feel my body unwind. I could hear the birds singing and the sun was warm upon my back. I could hear my children laughing and talking. I recently heard Dr. Paul Foxman speak about young children and anxiety. He stressed the importance of children’s need for outdoor exercise and physical activity. He explained how exposure to nature actually helps regulate our internal rhythms.
Because nature is slower, it helps to calm us down. That is what I felt! I could feel my internal rhythm actually slowing down. We need to give our children this same experience.
“Being in nature supports well-being at all ages. And it can help children become calm and focused.” – From Building Resilience in Young Children by Best Start/Nexus.
So what are we waiting for – let’s play outside!
What things do you like to do with your kids outside?