Archive for September, 2013

5 Quick Exercise Tips for Children With Busy Schedules

September 24th, 2013 by

Two young girls walking to schoolSchool is back in session and the demands of class, homework, musical instruments, after school clubs, and more are taking up more time than ever. While it’s great for your kids to be involved in so many activities, sometimes their schedules become so complicated it can be hard to find time to sit down for dinner, let alone exercise. The CDC recommends that children get 60 minutes of exercise each day—so how do you fit exercise into your child’s busy schedule? Read on for some quick exercise tips to keep your kids active.

1. Take a family walk after dinner
Instead of turning on the TV after dinner, gather everyone up and head out for a walk. Bring the dog along and take a lap around the neighborhood. Not only will your kids get some exercise, but you will too!

2. Stop by the playground or park in between activities
Since you’re likely spending a good amount of time going from one activity to the next, try fitting exercise into your route. Take a pit stop at a playground or park on the way to your next lesson or club and let your kids play for 15 minutes, or more if you have the time.

3. Pause in between homework subjects
It can be hard for kids to focus on homework for long stretches of time, so use those much needed breaks to get in some quick exercise. Try sit ups, push ups, or jumping jacks—or just have your kids go wild in the yard for five or ten minutes. The exercise will boost their energy levels enough to get through that next math worksheet, while also keeping them healthy and strong.

4. Walk to the bus stop instead of driving
If your child takes the bus, instead of driving to the bus stop, let them walk. If it takes five minutes to walk there, in one day that’s ten minutes of exercise taken care of without even having to try. And it’s better for the environment!

5.  Do a lap before beginning your next activity
When you get to your child’s next activity, before going in the building, take a walk around the building with your child. It will only take a few minutes, but those minutes will add up if you keep using them to your advantage.

Fitting exercise into the day can be tough if your children are not already involved in sports, but it’s not impossible. Plus, your kids are much more likely to seek out opportunities to be active in their down time if you set a good example for them and encourage them. And if you find yourself struggling to get your own exercise in during the day, you can always do these tips with your kids!

A History of the Playground: Part Two

September 9th, 2013 by

Young boy playing on a playground climbing wallIn our last post, we talked about the beginnings of the modern playground in America. This week, we’ll bring you up to speed to today’s playground movement.

Playgrounds Get Safer (and More Fun)
As playgrounds became a selling point for fast food restaurants, parks, and schoolyards, the business of playground manufacturing took off. As play equipment became more popular and common around every corner, safety regulations soon caught up. Potentially unsafe equipment was modified, and certain structures like climbing domes soon left most play areas due to risk of injury.

With new and improved safety features and more technology on the playground’s side, we can now offer features like shock-absorbing rubber mulch, strong, durable redwood on our playsets, and safety nets and padding on our trampolines. Not to mention, all of these years of kids playing have helped the playground industry develop some pretty cool new additions, like rope ladders, climbing walls, and tons of accessories that add to the play experience.

The Research is in
We now know after looking at the research that these add ons aren’t just for extra fun—playing on a playground can actually have many benefits besides putting a smile on your face. Playgrounds help promote healthy physical and mental development in children, including improving coordination and cooperation skills. The health benefits of playgrounds even extend to children with autism.

The New Playground
Just like when concept of the playground began gaining traction in America in the beginning of the 20th century, community organizers today still believe that the benefits of play are critical for children. Where access to playgrounds is scarce due to ill-maintained equipment or unsafe streets, new programs come in with solutions.

One of these movements is the pop-up playground. Neighborhood leaders section off a street on a certain day and promote play for all ages and try to teach kids sustainable habits. Charity groups also step in where playgrounds are needed most, securing the funds and materials to ensure all children have the opportunity to play.

As we learn more and more about the benefits playgrounds have on kids and their communities, the future of the playground is bound to be bright. Stop by your local playground with your kids and see what the all the talk is about—odds are good you’ll all leave a little bit happier!