Healthy Abbotsford Blog

107 Answers to “what should we do today?”

Information from Tourism Abbotsford.

107 Days of Summer is an unique daily guide indentifying fun and intersting activities for the entire summer in Abbotsford. This is the perfect answer to ” what should we do today?” Check out 107 answers of how to spend a day in the beautiful Fraser Valley.

Printed guides are available at the Visitor’s Centre (34561 Delair Road) or download your copy here!

107 days of summer banner


Top 6 Outdoor Adventure and Camping Blogs

This information is from

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


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.


Families – Get Fit and Healthy for FREE!

The City of Abbotsford has been chosen to offer the MEND (mind, exercise, nutrition, do-it) program which is funded through the Ministry of Health. This 10 week program is a fun, free program for families with 7-13 year olds who are above a healthy weight. The program facilitates safe, effective and lasting lifestyle changes by improving children’s physical activity levels, nutrition and self-esteem.


Program starts January 7, 2014. Space is limited to 15 families.
Call or email now to secure your spot. or 604-859-3134 local 5297

MEND Handbill - FINAL


10 Fun Ways To Spend An Active Day With Dad

This article is from Active for Life.

When you have a young family, weekends, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day are all opportunities for family time. But just as often they are a time when the kids get special time with Dad. And sometimes Dads (and Moms) need a little inspiration for how to pass this time in a fun and active way that everyone will enjoy.


Inspired by our interview with Slow Movement advocate Carl Honoré, we got to work thinking about ways to carve out special time together without electronics or a big financial outlay. Imagination, creativity and a sense of adventure are all you really need to make a parent-child connection and have a blast.

Here’s a list of ideas to get you started.


  1. Build a fort together. Either head outside to the backyard and forage for scraps and materials or if the weather isn’t cooperating make the mother of all pillow forts. Create your own story and characters to act out once it’s finished.
  2. Go for an explorer walk. Load up a backpack with binoculars, notepads, pencils, and any other explorer gear you have laying around the house and set off to find some treasures or record nature facts. Bring back what you find and use them to create a nature picture of the whole family (use sticks for bodies, leaves for hair, pebbles for eyes; better yet use your imaginations and come up with your own unique creations) or make your own nature fact book.
  3. Be an active artist. Break out the sidewalk chalk and play hopscotch and then beautify your driveway or put your stamp on the sidewalk.
  4. Have a ball. Grab a soccer ball and head over to the park for some throwing, catching, or kicking practice. Let the kids lead the game and make sure that it stays light-hearted and fun.
  5. Dig it. If you have young children nothing is as sure fire a hit as sand, sand, and more sand. Pretend to be paleontologists and go digging for dinosaur bones in your local sandbox.
  6. Cook together. Choose mom or dad’s favourite recipe and make it together. Dad can either pass along his skills in the kitchen or everyone can learn together.
  7. Pick wild flowers. Nothing says “I was thinking of you” like a handful of forget-me-nots from a toddler. Make sure to climb up and down some hills for additional exercise while you are at it.
  8. Create an obstacle course. Let the kids lead this one by helping them pull out items to bike, scooter, or run around. Don’t forget to give it a whirl yourself!
  9. Change the scenery. Pack a picnic and visit somewhere you’ve never been before. A park that isn’t in the usual rotation or a spot by the water. Tuck a jump rope into the picnic basket and work off lunch by practicing your skipping skills.
  10. Be a tourist. Take the kids on a tour of your own childhood. Visit the house you grew up in, the park you played in, and your favourite tree. Recreate some of our favourite active childhood games. If you don’t live in the same place you grew up, then show your kids a meaningful place in the family history. This could be where you and your spouse met or a special place you liked to go when they were babies. Take a picture of the kids in that spot and then frame it for a special gift.

Click here to go to the original article.


Why Your Kids Should Walk to School

This post comes from Active for Life.

When Jennifer Keesmaat was a kid, she walked to school. It would take her 15 minutes to get there and sometimes 1.5 hours to get home, but that was okay because the journey mattered. It mattered to her sense of self, her health, and her understanding of the world. She had exploring to do, chances she wanted to take. Walking to school helped shape her worldview.

As chief planner and executive director for the City of Toronto, Keesmaat uses the below TED Talk to question what happened to this free, simple adventure that all parents ought to offer their children.

Keesmaat points out that in 1969, only 12% of the population was driven to school. Today, only 12% of the population walk to school. In one generation we have completely inverted the way we get to school, and that matters for three reasons:

  1. Walking to school is a rite of passage. By doing so, children begin to understand who they are in relation to their neighbourhood, their community, their world. The walk provides trials to be overcome. If we prevent children this chance to develop autonomy, we put the future of our society at risk.
  2. As walking has decreased, obesity has significantly increased. Obese children face the obstacle of not being able to participate in day-to-day activities taking place at school, which can have a psychological impact. Children who walk to school are more likely to be active throughout the day.
  3. We need to live more simply. We’re taking more from the Earth than the planet has to give, and creating more waste than it can assimilate. What’s more simple – and green – than strapping on your shoes and walking to school?

As Keesmat says, kids don’t need permission to walk to school. They don’t need a license. They can do it right now. Exercise before school improves attentiveness in class, and leads to better grades. Plus, it provides an important opportunity for them to become independent.



10 Tips to Help Your Kids Play More

This article is from ParticipACTION.

Physical activity makes us healthier, faster, stronger, more flexible, smarter and more. But when it comes to kids, it should be all about active play. The following tips are designed to help them enjoy as much active play as we once did.

  1. DAILY ROUTINES: Help your kids build physical activity into their daily routines with activities like walking or cycling to school with friends.
  2. IT’S IN THE BAG! Pack their backpacks with equipment that promotes active play at school recess and lunch breaks: a soccer ball, skipping rope, chalk, Frisbee, basketball, etc.
  3. AT LUNCH & AFTER SCHOOL: Encourage your kids to play active games with friends and to join school teams. Click here for our After School Tips & Recommendations.
  4. SWIMMING LESSONS: Register for swimming lessons and stick with them until your kids are competent swimmers. Swimming is a life skill and making a splash at the local community centre pool is a terrific way for kids to play.
  5. BE A MODEL: Be a role model for your child. Active parents tend to have more active children. Introduce your child to some of the activities you enjoy and participate in some of the active games and activities they enjoy too.
  6. END OF DAY PLAY: Don’t let your child sit in front of the TV or computer after school. Instead, register them for active programs, have them invite a friend over for active outdoor play, or better yet, get active with them.
  7. EVENING, WEEKEND & HOLIDAY FUN: Make evenings, weekends and holidays active. Plan your activities as a family, write them on the calendar, and anticipate the fun!
  8. LIMIT SCREEN TIME: Set rules and limit daily screen time or have your children earn it. For example, your child might earn 20 minutes of screen time for every hour they’re active.
  9. EDUCATE OTHERS ABOUT INACTIVITY: Make sure your child’s daycare and school knows that physical activity is a priority for you and draw their attention to Canada’s physical inactivity crisis. Ask them what they’ll be doing to address inactivity.
  10. TRACK IT: Buy your child a pedometer to wear and encourage them to strive for at least 10,000 steps a day. You might also equip your child’s bicycle with an odometer to help them track the distance they bike in a day, week, month, or throughout the year.

Watch our new Bring Back Play TV spot!


Kids in the Kitchen – Simple Snacks

Here is a great video from Together is Better BC - two simple snacks that you and your kids can make together.


It Only Takes 15 Minutes

Taking time every day to read or do a learning activity with children is crucial to a child’s development. Even just 15 minutes a day can improve a child’s literacy skills dramatically, and can help a parent improve their skills as well.

This Saturday (January 26) is Family Literacy Day. To find out what is happening in Abbotsford click here.

ABC Life Literacy Canada has some fantastic, simple tips that will encourage healthy development for your children:

In honour of Family Literacy Day’s 15th year, ABC Life Literacy Canada is encouraging Canadian families to have “15 Minutes of Fun” learning together. Learning can happen at any time. Practicing literacy together for just 15 minutes a day has tremendous benefits for both children and parents. Here are some great ways to get started:

  1. Create your own comic strip about your family.
  2. Invent two new endings to your favourite book.
  3. Make up a new recipe together and post it online.small girl coloring
  4. Tell knock-knock jokes together while doing the dishes.
  5. Sing five songs really, really loud!
  6. Invent a new game while playing at the park.
  7. Read a story to your pet (or favourite toy).
  8. Make a paper fortune teller with eight fortunes.
  9. Write a silly poem and tell it to your family at dinner.
  10. Log on to your favourite word game – can you beat your best score?
  11. Create your family tree.
  12. Play rhyming “I Spy” – “I spy something that rhymes with…”
  13. Play a board game together.
  14. Text your friend and tell them about your holiday.
  15. Find 15 things that begin with the letter “S”.

For more information, or more ideas, visit ABC Life Literacy Canada.


The Most Fun Sandwich Ever!

This healthy lunch idea comes from

Another day, another sandwich. You look in the fridge and decide what to slap together. Bread, spread, fillings. Lunch by rote. But have you ever tried putting a sandwich on a stick? For starters, all of the ingredients stay much more fresh that way because they’re not sitting right on the sandwich spread and, come on, isn’t everything just better when it comes on a stick?

picture of a lunch box meal

Click here to read the rest of the article.