Healthy Abbotsford Blog

Top 6 Outdoor Adventure and Camping Blogs

This information is from www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca.

Growing up I was fortunate that our family would go camping several times each summer. It was nothing fancy; we’d set-up camp at provincial parks and entertain ourselves with beach activities, berry picking, and some hiking. Sure, we got dirty and got one too many mosquito bites, but the memories of spending time together as a family and having lots of fun were worth it!

Packing suggestions: If the whole family is going camping, simple low cost items like a Frisbee™, beach or sports ball can get everyone off their lounge chairs and playing games together. A pail and shovel for playing in the sand and making sandcastles can provide hours of fun. For those heading out with a partner or a group of friends, pack your running shoes for jogs or hikes, and a swim suit for the beach (don’t forget the sunscreen!).

To read the rest of the article and see what the top 6 Outdoor Adventure and Camping Blogs are, click here.

Here in Abbotsford, you can also have fun outside with our Live 5210 Playboxes. Click here for more information.

Picture of a Playbox

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It’s better to eat calories, than to drink them.

This article is from Healthy Families BC.

Here are some great tips to help you and your family reduce sugary drinks.

Table of healthy drink options

Click here to read the rest of the tips.

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When it comes to playtime, it’s no risk, no reward

This article comes from Active for Life.

Picture of a young boy surfing

 

If you ever see that mother who appears to be deliberately not watching her child as the kid leaps and darts dangerously around the park, don’t judge her too harshly. She might be trying to encourage her daughter to take risks because she knows the benefits of those daredevil antics — but is also aware that in order for them to happen, said child needs to not be facing her mother’s worried eyes and panicked expression.

Ok, you got me. I’m that mother, and I’m given to, well, a little overprotection. But just because I would rather not view the riskiness, doesn’t mean I don’t get how important it is.

In Psychology Today is a fascinating article explaining the relationship between the way children play and their emotional development. The article cites studies in which young rats were exposed to all forms of social experience, excluding play time and the rats subsequently starting to “overact with fear and fail to adapt and explore as a normal rat would”, as well as similar studies with monkeys. These studies, among others, give credence to the “emotion regulation theory of play, the theory that one of play’s major functions is to teach young mammals how to regulate fear and anger so they can encounter real-life dangers, and interact in close quarters with others, without succumbing to negative emotions.”

As applied to children, then, its not just about Billy climbing a fence to prove to his friends he’s no scaredy-cat, it’s his opportunity to show himself that he can overcome his fears, so the next time he encounters a new experience, he is much more confident to take it on. Naturally, this doesn’t happen on the first try, and it isn’t something the child will understand, but with each instance that Billy takes on a new challenge in his playtime activities, he’s slowly preparing himself for more of life’s obstacles.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

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MEND – FREE Healthy Living Program for Families

What is it?

MEND is a fun, FREE 10 week program for families with 7-13 year olds who want to learn more about healthy behaviours. The program supports families to live a healthy lifestyle. Groups of up to 15 children, accompanied by at least one parent or caregiver meet with program leaders twice a week for 8 weeks. The first hour is an interactive family session on nutrition and behaviour topics, followed by one hour of fun exercise for the children, while parents and caregivers meet for support and discussion on topics such as goals and rewards, label reading and problem solving.

This program is open to all families with a priority given to families who have a child who is above a healthy weight.

When is it?

Our current program just started and we can accept new registrations until Feb. 10. Sessions take place Tuesdays (6-8pm) and Saturdays (9:30-11:30am) at Eugene Reimer Middle School.

Families that attend at least 80% of the sessions will also receive a FREE 3 month pass to Abbotsford recreation centres at the end of the 8-week program!

Where do I get more information?

For more information, or to register, please contact Brenda Adams at mend@abbotsford.ca. You can also put your name down on the waitlist for our session starting in April.

flyer showing kids having fun

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Build your child’s brain by giving them lots of experiences to explore

This article is from Active for Life.

Our child’s brain is a most amazing organ. Its structure is established in the early years of life, so how can you ensure that your children’s brains are healthy, well developed, and will last a lifetime?

Building your child’s brain is like building a house. The first five years of a child’s life is a crucial period of time where the foundation of the brain is laid down. The four walls of a house are the four walls of development: cognitive, emotional, social, and physical. All four walls need to be developed equally for the house to be strong and well balanced.

Houses can be built of many materials – wood, brick, stone, even mud or straw. Some materials are more durable and long-lasting than others. What are the building materials of our children’s brains? The simple answer is: experiences.

Children learn by actively using their five senses

Young children learn by doing. They need to be actively involved in seeing, touching, smelling, hearing, tasting; in other words, using all five senses to learn. Each experience that a young child has builds a synapsis or neural connection in their brain. The more experiences, the more synapses. The more meaningful an experience, the more often a child will want to do it again and again. Each time an experience is repeated, the connection becomes stronger and more permanent and the child begins to build confidence and competence.

Check out this 2 minute video from the Centre on the Developing Child at Harvard University for a great, plain-language summary of this process.

The goal of becoming physically literate (the fourth wall of the house) is to develop the motivation, confidence, and competence to move – for a lifetime. This requires that preschool children have experiences with many kinds of activities: on the ground, on snow and ice, in water, and in the air. These experiences should be positive and fun so that children want to do them over and over again (motivation), begin to challenge themselves (confidence), and develop skills that enable them to participate actively (competence). This builds strong permanent brain connections.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

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Building your child’s brain through physical literacy

This article is from Active for Life.

In the last article, I wrote about how building your child’s brain is like building a house. The early years are the time to build a sturdy foundation upon which a strong house – that can last a lifetime – can be built. Just like the four walls of a house, a child’s brain has four main areas of development: cognitive, emotional, social, and physical.

Each of these four areas needs to be supported and nurtured so that the child’s house will be well balanced.

  • Cognitive development refers to when a young child learns to speak, read, write, and count. It is also how a child learns to think through situations, plan ahead, and solve problems.
  • Emotional development is how a young child learns to understand his emotions and express them in acceptable ways. This is how a child learns to say that he is tired, angry, sad, or confused. And then, with the support of those around him, he learns how to work through these emotions in ways that help his family, teachers, and friends become aware of what he needs.
  • Social development is learning how to make friends, share, and play with others. As a child develops socially, she learns how to negotiate with her friends about what to play and she knows that her turn on the swing will come soon. She learns self-control and becomes able to deal with distractions.
  • Physical development is not only about growing taller and heavier. It is about a child learning how to control the large muscles (gross motor) in his torso, arms, and legs to jump, run, and kick. It is also about learning how to control the small muscles in his hands and fingers (fine motor) to hold a pencil, paint, and turn the pages of a book.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

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Building your child’s brain is like building a house

This article comes from Active for Life.

Parents have been hearing for a long time now about the importance of our child’s early years. The preschool years, we’re told, prepare children to be successful in school and in life. These first years also set the habits that they will carry throughout their lifetimes – to be active, healthy, and productive adults.

Brains, like houses, need solid foundations and four walls

How can we support building a strong brain architecture for our child in the early years? After all, we only get one brain. What we are born with must last our lifetime.

That’s where the house construction analogy comes in. When building a sturdy house, we start with a firm and level foundation. Then we construct strong walls, ensure that the wiring and plumbing are properly done, and then cover it all with a weatherproof roof. We choose durable building materials that will last a lifetime.

In the same way, the four walls of a child’s brain are cognitive, emotional, physical, and social. If one of those areas isn’t developed, the brain is missing a key structural component. Each of those walls needs the other three in order to function well.

To read the complete article, click here.

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What to Do With All Those Carrots?

Do you have a big bags of carrots in the fridge and don’t know what to do with them? Watch this quick video and learn how to make a Moroccan Carrot and Orange Salad. The salad only has 5 ingredients and takes only minutes to make.

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7 reasons soccer is essential for kids

This is from www.activeforlife.ca.

Just about any sport or physical activity will help to develop physical literacy and good movement skills. However, if you had to pick one sport that developed the most skills and capacities, it would have to be soccer.

kids-practice-with-soccer-ball-612x300

Soccer develops 7 key areas:

  1. ABCs – not what you think
  2. Running
  3. Jumping, hopping, skipping, galloping, and dodging
  4. Throwing and catching
  5. Tracking the movement of an object in flight
  6. Decision making
  7. Kicking

To learn more about each of these areas, click here to read the entire article.

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10 easy ways you can add physical literacy to your kids’ daily routine

This article is from Active for Life.

Your days are packed solid. Sometimes (okay, most of the time), it’s impossible to even consider adding anything to the schedule.

But helping your kids learn to move doesn’t have to be a chore. You don’t have to schedule it. You don’t have to add anything to your family’s already hectic day.

At Active for Life we’re all busy parents just like you. We know how difficult it can be to find time. So we asked each other to share some fun ways that we practice fundamental movement skills with our kids at home, just by tweaking the things children do every day anyway.

There’s no need to announce that it’s time to work on skills. By making it fun for kids, they won’t even realize that they are practicing movement skills. They’ll just enjoy the activities.

The added bonus is you might end up getting some more help around the house!

 

  1. Hop to it. After breakfast, hop or skip to the bathroom to brush their teeth. If one-foot hopping, don’t forget to switch legs.
  2. Catch a snack. Instead of putting snacks directly into their backpacks, throw them instead! This works well with oranges, apples, and boxes of raisins.
  3. Sock toss. While the kids put away their laundry, have them toss a rolled up sock into the air in front of them and then catch it with their non-dominant hand. When this becomes easy, get them to do it while moving around.
  4. Step on the crack. During the morning walk to school, develop balance by walking along cracks in the sidewalk as if they were a tightrope.
  5. Be a stork. At the grocery store (or anywhere else you’re waiting in line), balance on one foot. Don’t forget to change feet!
  6. Kick it. On the way home from school, kick a rock along the sidewalk. The purpose is to keep the same rock in play and not to kick it too hard or too far.
  7. Stair jump. If your kids are old enough to do this safely, have them try walking backwards down the stairs or jumping up the stairs with both feet.
  8. Do the can-can. While the kids are helping put away groceries, challenge them to balance cans on the palms of their hands.
  9. Backwards brush. Before bed kids can brush their teeth with their non-dominant hand (but make sure they go back over them with their dominant hand to avoid an angry dentist).
  10. Laundry shoot. Throw dirty clothes into the laundry basket by shooting them in from a couple of feet away. As their accuracy improves, increase the distance.

Even choosing just one of these a day will help your kids develop skills like balance, throwing, catching, jumping, and kicking.

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