Five fun ways to get kids moving
Physical activity is essential for a healthy lifestyle. And now, more than ever, it’s important to get kids engaged in physical activity for their long-term health.
Decreased opportunities for exercise and increased consumption of calories are just part of the problem. Recent studies have shown that eight to 18-year-olds average 7 ½ hours a day using entertainment media such as TV, computers, cell phones, and video games. All of that has added up to 17 percent of all children in this country being obese. That obesity rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), has tripled since just one generation ago.
Obese children and adolescents are at what the CDC calls an “alarmingly high risk” for elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and for becoming obese adults.
Fortunately, there are things parents and caregivers can do to help reduce the risk of obesity for the children they love. One of the most important is to get them moving.
Most kids won’t do something if it’s not enjoyable, so here are five fun ways to get your kids moving and on their way to a healthier life:
- Family go time: Doing things together sets a good example for the kids and creates some healthy family bonding. Put “Go Time” on the family calendar, and let everyone come up with fun things do to such as bike riding, a neighborhood hike, family tag, jumping rope, dancing, or Hula-hoop sessions.
- Feet first: Instead of driving them everywhere, let them walk whenever possible—to school, to the library, or to a friend’s house. When you do drive, park at the far end of the parking lot, furthest from your destination. Encourage them to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Give them an inexpensive pedometer to help them track their steps each day.
- Move for a cause: There are many local charity events that involve physical activity. Walks, runs, bike rides, and even jumping rope for charity are fun ways that kids can help others while helping themselves. Make sure they have plenty of time to train before the event and have the proper equipment they need.
- Cool competition: Whether it’s soccer, volleyball, martial arts, dance, or swimming, working with and competing against others develops good social skills, along with physical ones. Don’t have a league or a team in your area? You can always start one.
- Go natural: Kids don’t need expensive equipment or a formal playing field to get moving. Let them run around the backyard and create their own fun. Encourage them to climb trees, use playground equipment, or just play kick the can. Take advantage of the natural beauty of your area to go hiking, biking, or rock climbing.
To help kids get more active and enjoy physical fitness, Sports Authority, Inc. has launched a national contest that taps kids’ natural energy and creativity. The Sports Authority Move It Challenge is a national invention competition designed to uncover exciting new youth-created sporting and backyard games. A grand prize of $10,000 will be awarded to the winner, with four finalists each receiving $1,000.
The contest runs through January 3, 2011 and is free to enter. To learn more, get inspiration and helpful tips at www.moveitchallenge.com.
Juggling, music, and, of course, reading
There is something of interest for both children and adults this month at your local Placitas library.
Do you want to learn to juggle? Free lessons are being donated by local juggler, Chris Enright, beginning on Tuesday, November 9 from 4:30-5:30 and every Tuesday thereafter (November 16, 23, and 30). Join in the fun!
On Tuesday, November 16 at 3:00 p.m., the Kids’ Book Club will meet, and on Thursday, November 18 is the Pre-K Story Hour at 10:00 a.m. The Bilingual Story Hour has been rescheduled from November 9 to Tuesday the 30th at 3:00 p.m.
Finally, the library will be hosting a special event, We the People Day, on Saturday, November 13, from 10:30 a.m.-12:00p.m. This occasion has been inspired by the library’s We the People Bookshelf, a set of classic books for young readers from kindergarten through high school. Each year the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) identifies a theme important to the nation’s heritage and selects books that embody that theme. We have been fortunate to have been awarded these outstanding collections for the past five years.
Besides introducing young readers to good literature, the bookshelf promotes understanding of abstract or general ideas through the power of particular stories. The themes for the past five years have been “Becoming American,” “Pursuit of Happiness,” “Created Equal,” “Picturing America,” and this year’s theme, “A More Perfect Union.”
Our celebration of the We the People Bookshelf will be through the readings of selected books and passages for adults as well as children. We will have adult readers from the community reading passages from such books as Carver: A Life in Poems by Marilyn Nelson to Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck. Young people will be entertained by young readers from the community with such books as That All People May Be One People by Nez Perce Chief Joseph and Tico and the Golden Wings by Leo Lionni.
Along with the readings, Tim O’Rourke, a local musician, will entertain all with his guitar, sharing Americana songs.
In addition to the entertainment, there will be a drawing for two Culture Passes, which provide free admission to 14 New Mexico monuments and museums. You must be present to win, so we hope to see you at the library for our We the People Day.
Remember to check our Web site (www.placitaslibrary.com) for downloadable flyers and more information on each event.
Calling all community members; local children in need
Sandoval County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is in need of donations for our annual holiday party for foster children. The party will be held December, 11 for all children currently in foster care in Sandoval County and their foster families. Each year, CASA provides approximately 50 children with gifts, a luncheon, and a visit from Santa. This year, we could use donated new, unwrapped, and age-appropriate toys for children ages 1-13 and gift cards (Target, Walmart, Best Buy, etc.) for teenagers. Grocery store gift cards are also needed for the foster families, and all donations are tax deductible.
Donations can be dropped off at our offices at 4011 Barbara Loop SE, Suite 107 in Rio Rancho before December 1, or please contact Executive Director Tammy L. Hanks, Ph.D. at (505) 720-7030 for further information or pickup.
The Sandoval County CASA program is a volunteer-driven, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization committed to serving abused and neglected foster children in the Rio Rancho, Bernalillo, Placitas, and greater Sandoval County area. We train, support, and supervise volunteers from Sandoval County to watch over and advocate for these children, making sure that their needs don’t get lost in the overburdened legal system. Active in our community since 1998, Sandoval County CASA works with the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD), the 13th Judicial District Court, and numerous service providers to ensure the safety and well being of all Sandoval County children.