Archive for June, 2012

How a Playset Can Make Your Child Fit, Part II

June 27th, 2012 by

How a Playset Can Help Your Child Get Fit, Part II Children are bottomless sources of energy, and as we watch them run, jump, and play we rarely think about how much actual exercise they’re getting on a daily basis.

Recent studies have shown that the majority of children in America don’t get enough exercise, but by teaching them about the values of exercise and diet now, we can help them lead happier, healthier lives.

As we’ve discussed in our previous post, How a Playset Can Make Your Child Fit, a playset is an excellent tool to use when you want to teach children about the benefits of exercise. Part I is based on the President’s Challenge Program website, and describes how a playset can test a child’s fitness in several key areas and consists of five exercises, listed below.

  • Curl-ups (or partial curl-ups)
  • Shuttle run
  • Endurance run/walk
  • Pull-ups (or right angle push-ups or flexed-arm hang)
  • V-sit reach (or sit and reach)

To build on that last post, here are a few more areas where you can encourage your children to exercise using your Play N’ Learn playset:

  • Dips – recommended for older children, this exercise builds up the arm and chest muscles while building endurance.
  • Rope climb – many playsets have nets or ropes that are perfect for children. Encourage them to climb up and down the net or rope several times. A great way to boost energy and coordination.
  • Swings – brisk pumping of the legs exercises a major muscle area, and also helps build cardiovascular strength.
  • Running – use the playset as the center of racecourse! Children can circle the playset and build their stamina and burn calories while having fun.

Remember that children prefer to play their own games, so getting them to partake in these exercises takes some imagination. Invite your children’s friends over to participate and hand out awards for the winners in each category.

Staying physically fit benefits children today, and tomorrow. Check out our website for more ideas and equipment that will have your young ones exercising and having fun.

Planning Your Backyard Stay-cation

June 21st, 2012 by

Planning Your Backyard Stay-cation“I’m bored, there’s nothing to do.”

It’s the most dreaded sentence parents hear during summer vacation.

While it’s a safe bet you may hear that once in awhile, there are a few steps you can take to keep your children out of the summer doldrums. Start by planning a backyard stay-cation!

Stay-cations serve many purposes; they not only give children something to look forward to, they also allow you and your children to work together to plan it. Creativity is the most important tool when it comes to a stay-cation.

Plan on using your playset as the focal point for the stay-cation. Create fun and easy contests using every part of the playset—see who can swing the longest or complete an obstacle course in the shortest amount of time.

Including a water element brightens up stay-cations. Sprinklers are always fun, as are mini-pools and squirt guns. Fill up a basket of water balloons and watch as your children have fun and on a hot July day.

Don’t forget to schedule a picnic lunch during your stay-cation. Include your children’s favorite lunchtime meal and snacks to make this event special. The anticipation helps keep everyone involved and focused.

Breaking up the stay-cation helps keep the idea fresh and interesting to your children, so here are a few backyard games that are easy to plan and fun for everyone:

  • Freeze tag
  • Hopscotch
  • Beanbag toss
  • Wiffle ball
  • Foursquare
  • Obstacle course

A stay-cation should also have planned down time so everyone can recharge their batteries. Sidewalk chalk, coloring books, and crayons are inexpensive and help little artists display their latest creations. Visit the local library for summer classics that make for excellent reading circle time.

Don’t forget that part of stay-cation planning should include an inspection of your playset to make any necessary adjustments. You may even want to add new accessories to make your stay-cation the best ever!

Keeping Your Children Cool Over the Summer

June 13th, 2012 by

Keeping Your Children Cool Over the SummerSummer’s here, and that means the kids are home from school and spending plenty of time outside. Nothing’s healthier than time spent outdoors, but at the same time, there are certain concerns to keep in mind because of the heat and weather. Here are some tips for keeping your kids cool throughout the summer.

Drink plenty of water. This seems obvious, but it’s remarkable how easy it can be to forget in the midst of going about your day. On a hot day, make sure your child is sipping water constantly and always has convenient access to something to drink.

Take advantage of shade. If there’s a way to keep play to shadier areas, that’s always desirable, as you’ll want to avoid excessive exposure to the sun. This is also something to keep in mind with your playset; setting it up in the shade helps contain play to cooler, more comfortable areas. Trying to spend the hottest, midday hours inside helps with this as well.

Wear sunscreen. Avoiding sunburn is tantamount to a child’s health and enjoyment, so always make sure to apply sunscreen before playing outside and to reapply if outside for a long amount of time. If water games are involved, you’ll have to reapply more frequently.

Play water games. You could go to a local water park or pool, but those are often dirty and crowded. Instead, just create a water park of your own in the backyard using a sprinkler or water guns. Be sure to do your best not to waste water, though, especially during the summer.

Try to play outside in bursts. It’s better not to have too prolonged of an exposure to the harsh heat and sun, so try and organize playtime so that children spend a period outside, then can go back inside, then can return outside later once they’ve cooled down and/or the temperature has dropped.

Be wary of the possibility of heat exposure. Make sure, particularly in the summer, that you or another adult is easily available to help out if any of the kids begin to feel too hot or unwell. If one of your children does seem to suffer dehydration or heat stroke, be sure to call 911 as soon as possible.

As long as you play it smart and take all these factors into account, the summer should be nothing but fun. Just keep hydrated, take the sun into account, and enjoy the beautiful weather!