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Posts Tagged ‘Activity’

Is it Better for Your Kid to Join the Gym, or Play a Team Sport?

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Activity is important for kids of all ages. But when it comes to regular exercise, what’s the best way to get them moving?

We all know that kids have energy to spare—the question is, what’s the best way for them to burn it? Is it better for kids to join a gym, or play a team sport? While it may seem like the best thing to do is just let them run in circles in the yard like puppies, the fact is, there’s a time and a place for different physical activities in a kid’s life.

The number one rule when it comes to kids of all ages and exercise: Whatever they do, they should have fun doing it. “We are creatures that are meant to move, and kids should get their physical activity through whatever feels good for them and makes them happy,” says Jessica Glazer, a certified personal trainer and former elementary school phys ed and health teacher. “Not all kids like to play organized sports, but those kids may find joy in simply taking their dog for a walk or playing on the trampoline by themselves. That’s totally okay!”

While unstructured play is important for children of all ages (yes, you too!), once team sports start around age 4, feel free to get your kid involved. “Young kids will benefit more from organized sports more than working out in a gym,” says Frank Rizzo, personal trainer and founder of The Dad Habit. “It’s fine for them to join as soon as they’re interested and they have the attention span to listen to the coaches. Early on, the focus should be on fun, learning the skills of the sport, and being part of a team.”

Team sports, both experts agree, have incredible benefits beyond the physical aspect. “Sports allow children a place to express themselves and find a healthy way to deal with anxiety, stress, and depression,” notes Glazer. “Sports also help teach coping skills, healthy competition, sportsmanship, communication, teamwork, goal setting, and long and short term gratification.”

These are all important skills to take with them into adulthood, emphasizes Rizzo. “Plus, they’re learning how to win with grace and lose with dignity,” he says. “They learn that failing is okay, as long you pick yourself up and keep working.”

For kids out of elementary school, exercising at a gym (or on gym equipment) can be a supplement to their other activity. “I think at around 12 to 14 years old kids can start seeing real benefit form exercise in a gym,” says Rizzo. “Focusing on an exercise program that will help them excel on the field is a great way to get them engaged. But they need to enjoy it, in order to develop a lifelong love of physical activity.”

Rizzo’s advice for taking your kid to the gym: Keep it simple. “A child doesn’t need much equipment,” he says. “Focusing on balance, agility, and calisthenics is valuable for kids. This includes exercises such as push-ups, squats, jumping jacks, running, sprints, lateral movements.”

Glazer notes that some gyms have their own rules about kids. “I’ve worked at a variety of gyms, and it’s pretty standard that anyone under the age of 18 needs an adults consent,” she says. “Many gyms also require an adult or trainer to be with the child during the workout if they’re under 14 or 16.” It’s for good reason, she explains. “Gym equipment can be extremely dangerous if not used properly—plus a lot of the equipment is not made for the dimensions of a child’s body. This can alter the range of motion and proper positioning in a dangerous way.”

Whether you start your kid on sports early, let him or her find her own way of moving on the playground, or introduce your older kid to the gym, your goal should always be to encourage them to find activity they love, and keep doing it. “Don’t overthink it,” says Rizzo. “Just keep them active!”

 

This article was written by Melanie Mannarino from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Cardboard Tube Bird Feeder

This cardboard tube bird feeder craft is a fun way to invite feathered friends to your yard! Watch as birds come to feed, and talk with your little one about all the different birds that visit the feeder. You can even look up the birds you see online to learn more about them. Audubon.com and National Geographic Kids are great resources.

What You Need

  • Plate
  • Birdseed
  • Nut or Seed Butter
  • Cardboard Tube (toilet paper size or half of a paper towel roll)
  • String

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Instructions

Pour the birdseed onto the plate and use a spoon, butter knife or popsicle stick to coat the outside of the cardboard tube with the nut or seed butter.

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Roll the coated tube in the birdseed. Fill in any gaps as needed until the whole tube is covered.

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Thread a piece of string through the cardboard tube and tie the ends of the string together.

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Hang it from a tree for the birds to enjoy!

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Snowflakes: A Great Analogy For Teaching Children That It’s Good To Be Unique

In today’s world, we worry more about fitting in than sticking true to ourselves. Peer acceptance is an especially strong concept among young children. When children are starting school, their priority and the thing they may fear the most is simply making friends. Instead of wearing their favorite shirts and risk having other children make fun of them, our children may be holding back and wear something less themselves to fit in with others. Instead of sharing their favorite movie, they may give in and share a friend’s favorite movie so no one laughs at their opinions.

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It’s important for our little ones to understand that they are talented and what they like or dislike does matter. Their other opinions matter too. Our children should feel comfortable expressing themselves; just as each snowflake is unique, so is each child different from the others. Completing a snowflake activity is a good way to explain this concept.

Gather a stack of white computer paper and cut each sheet to form a perfect square. Once in a square, fold the paper diagonally and then diagonally another three times. Next, cut the tip off, cut out shapes and slits in the paper and then unfold for the final product. Repeat and see how each snowflake is different from the others while each snowflake is itself beautiful.

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We see that no two snowflakes are the same. It’s similar with people; even twins are not exactly the same. Teach your children that it’s okay to be different and to be confident in being different. Your children are more likely to become leaders when they’re confident in themselves, their likes, their dislikes and their overall decisions.

What are some ways your children openly express themselves?

Popsicle Stick Puzzle

With Father’s Day right around the corner, here is a craft that is not only fun for children, but fun for dads, too!

Puzzle Collage

Materials

  • 8-10 large Popsicle sticks
  • White glue
  • Tape
  • Small utility knife (for the adult helper’s use only!)
  • A copy of a favorite photo of daddy

Instructions

  1. Lay the Popsicle sticks side by side so they align at the top and bottom.
  2. Place pieces of tape along the top and bottom of all the sticks to hold them together.
  3. Flip the sticks over, center the photo and stick it to the Popsicle sticks using white glue.
  4. Place a few heavy books on top and let it dry completely.
  5. When dry, remove the tape on the back and have the adult helper use the utility knife to separate the Popsicle sticks and cut through the photo.
  6. Mix the sticks up and wrap them or bundle them together and tie a ribbon around them and give to Dad on Father’s Day!

*An adult should oversee all activities. Activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

Pocket Full of Kisses Craft

Need a last minute Mother’s Day gift from your little one? Here’s a craft you can do together and present to mom to thank her for all that she does!

What you need:

  • Pocket Full of Kisses1Crayons, washable markers and/or water-based paint
  • Two white paper plates
  • Hole punch
  • Yarn, ribbon or a long shoelace
  • Safety scissors
  • Bag of HERSHEY’S KISSES®
  • Peel-and-stick magnets (optional)

What you do:

  1. Cut one paper plate in half and leave the other one whole.
  2. Use the hole punch to punch holes, about one inch apart, along the straight edge of the cut plate.
  3. Put the plates together so that the outside edges match up (this will form the pocket). While they are together, continue to punch holes, about one inch apart, around the edges of both plates.
  4. Use the yarn, ribbon or long shoelace to sew the two plates together. (You won’t actually sew the straight edge of the cut plate to the full plate, but you can lace the yarn through these holes for decoration and added support.)
  5. Tie the ends of the yarn, ribbon or shoelace together when sewing is complete.
  6. Make a hole at the top and tie a piece of yarn or ribbon through for hanging on the wall or attach a few peel-and-stick magnets to the back for hanging on the refrigerator.
  7. Decorate with crayons, washable markers and/or water-based paint.
  8. When complete, fill the pocket with HERSHEY’S KISSES® and display or give as a gift!

*An adult should oversee all activities. Activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

Happy Father’s Day: Goodies for Daddy Snack!

This Father’s Day, surprise dad with his own special snack mix! With help from an adult, little ones can mix up their own special creation for dad using a combination of the snack items below (and anything else you think dad might like). Then, decorate a disposable food container with markers, paint and craft supplies to store dad’s special treat!

  • Nuts (peanuts, cashews, almonds, etc.)
  • Raisins
  • M&M’s®
  • Cheerios®
  • Chex® cereal
  • Small pretzels
  • Teddy Grahams®
  • Small cheese snack crackers
  • Goldfish® crackers

 

When complete, consider writing a little ingredients list for dad to attach to the package, such as: “Ingredients: peanuts (because I’m your peanut), raisins (because you’re so good at raisin’ me), Teddy Grahams (for a big bear hug) and M&M’s (because you’re so sweet).”