When I was growing up, we played outside for hours. We would play from sunrise until dinner time. It didn’t matter — if it was sunny, we were riding our bikes. If it was rainy, we were splashing in puddles. If it was snowing, we were building snow forts. We would play outside. I remember I would actually get upset if I couldn’t go outside and play.
Children are not playing outside like they used to. Video games and television have taken over as the chosen form of entertainment for many children, and that makes me sad.
So when I had my son, pictured above, I made a commitment to myself that I was going to make sure he was active and participates in some physical activities at an early age. I think it’s important for many reasons.
One, it helps them socialize. My son is shy and I want to get him used to participating in group activities and sports at an early age. Hopefully, this will help him learn to play with other kids he doesn’t know and listen to adults who aren’t his parents or teachers.
Also, kids have a lot of energy and they need to burn it somehow. This can be hard in the winter. When the temperatures are freezing and there is no snow, being outside isn’t a whole lot of fun.
I have done swimming lessons twice for my son, so I was looking for something new. I came across a toddler gymnastics class through our local parks and recreation department. It is eight weeks long, once a week for 30 minutes.
We have been to two classes, and it has been just what he needed. I wouldn’t say it’s teaching him actual technique, but he is learning a lot of other important lessons, like how to listen to others, how to share, how to wait his turn, etc. Most of all, he’s playing, being active and having fun!
What ways have you found to encourage your children to be more active, particularly in the winter?
Photo Credit: Heidi Watson