Walk, Climb, Dance, Play! | This West Coast Mommy
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Walk, Climb, Dance, Play!

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This post was written for inclusion in the February Carnival of Natural Mothering. This month’s theme is about making time for movement and exercise.

It is so important for us moms to be physically active and to cultivate that in our kids. Important, but not easy! How do you make time for movement or exercise? How do you encourage it for your kids?

 

I absolutely believe that physical activity is crucial for me and for my children. I know that the habits my kids form right now can impact them for a lifetime. In my experience, kids are naturally busy, active little beings, and they develop a sedentary lifestyle from habits like watching TV and computer use, school demands (“Stay in your seat and work quietly!”), and from us. Leading by example is not the easiest thing to do, but it is the most powerful tool at our disposal.

Our non-negotiable exercise is the walk to and from school, even on cold, rainy days. I remind myself there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing, so we dress warmly, put on our rain boots, and make the walk to school. Twenty-five minutes there and back, twice a day.

I think it’s important to role model that walk to and from school. My 3 year old has already asked why we don’t drive to school like the rest of her classmates. I remind her that school isn’t that far away, and that walking is fun as well as good for you. We’ve been following the exploits of a family of squirrels living in some bushes on the way to school, and I remind Tee of the things like that we’d miss if we didn’t make the walk to school. I know she won’t always attend a school within walking distance, so I’m taking advantage of it while we can.

We’re fortunate enough to live on the West Coast where it may rain 6 months out of the year, but at least the temperature rarely drops below freezing. So even in the winter we can go play outside on our occasional sunny days. Tee loves riding her bike around with her friends in the neighbourhood, and Kay does her best to keep up with the older kids.

We’ve also set up a play area in our basement with an amazing set of monkey bars that Tee likes to climb on and hang all over. “Uncle Aman” (better know as Adam) gave Tee an indoor hockey set for her birthday last year, and she loves to play with that in the basement too, though her hockey game may not quite be NHL regulation. Another nice thing about playing down there is the girls can be as loud as they want to be!

monkey bars

Right now Kay’s in a climbing phase of her own. I’m constantly catching her on top of the toy box, pulling herself up on the dining room chairs, and even on top of the kitchen table a few times. But her favourite form of movement is dance. All she needs is some music, any music, and away she goes. I love dancing with my girls, especially on those days when it’s too wet and cold to play outside. We have some Disney playlists and a personalized CD that they love singing and bouncing along to. I only wish I could recapture that sense of joy and complete abandon that little kids possess when they dance.

Keira dancing

What about your kids? What is their favourite indoor exercise when they can’t go outside?
 

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13 Comments

  • My kids would love those climbing bars!

    We’re struggling with being active this winter with all the snow and sickness we’ve been dealing with. I try to send them outside as much possible. It’s tough when it’s only 10 degrees out. ๐Ÿ™

  • Those climbing bars are awesome!!

    Our favorite is to dance to a song called “animal action” where we have to pretend to be different animals. My preschooler and I crack each other-and the baby-up!

    We are planning to walk to school too. We don’t live on the west coast, but my Babywearing coat should be enough for all but the coldest days!

  • What an important post this is. Too many parents don’t give this enough thought, but its a very real issue today. When I was a kid, MANY years ago, this was not an issue, we all played outside, in all kinds of weather…… I was lucky enough to grow up on the edge of the woods, right beside a huge ravine. In spring, it would fill with water, we’d build rafts and paddle around, and swing across the ravine hanging on ropes, in winter it would freeze, and we’d skate on it. Summer we’d hike in there. So many outdoor games. We didn’t have TV, and internet and video games didn’t exist. Very little sitting, except to read or play board games maybe.
    Those monkey bars look like fun! – and I love watching little kids dance!!

    • When I was a kid, we played outside after breakfast until just before dinner time. I lived next to a wooded area too, and we’d build dams and forts and bridges, dig up clay to make dishes, etc. I wish we had something similar to that around here, but we don’t. There seems to be a lot more fear these days too of letting your kids play outside along. Of course Tee is still a little young for that, but I can’t wait for the day when I can send her out to play with her friends and get a little quiet time for me!

  • We try to get outside for a walk everyday too, although here in Montana we get some really cold temps. Right now is 1 degree outside so no matter how good we bundle up, it is a little too cold to go for a walk! I love the indoor monkey bars, what a great indoor active toy if you have the space!

  • Our favorite indoor activities are dancing or obstacle courses. How awesome that you walk to school with your kiddos! Those will surely be cherished memories as they look back on their childhood.

  • I am so jealous of your basement. We had one as a kid growing up and it was so much fun to skate, ride bikes, or whatever down there. We don’t even have a play room so it really limits physical activities in the house. Thank goodness for my toddler trampoline.