Sunday, May 29, 2011

Family Fitness

We went to a great Pack Night about Family Fitness and Melanie Douglass gave us some fun ideas to do as a family.  Here are these simple fun games you can incorporate in your family night activities, or during the day when your kids don't know what to do.  These would make great birthday party games as well!
Obstacle Course
Create any course you want using garden hoses, wagons, bikes, balls trampolines, swing set, or anything else in your yard.
2.  Let your kids help design the course.
3.  Incorporate at least 3 different movements:  run, walk, crawl, hop, run backwards, plank-walk, drop for 10 pushups..go for it!
4.  Either allow two kids to race against each other, or use a stopwatch to time each participant.

Candy Drop
1.  Group two big spoons and 5-6 pieces of wrapped candy or pennies.
2.  Kids race against each otehr holding the spoonful of candy.  If they drop a piece of candy from the spoon, they have to stop, pick it up, and then continue the race.
3.  First kid to cross the finish line with al the candy/money in the spoon wins.

Sit-up and Toss
1.  Use a hula hoop or garden hose to make a circle for a target.
2.  Kids sit on the ground 4-6 feet away from the target, holding a ball overhead.
3.  With bent knees and feet flat on the ground, have kids roll back, come up to a sit up then toss the ball into the target.
4.  Every target hit equals a point!

Band-aid Tag
1.  Parents should be "it".  Chase kids around and "tag" them on the shoulder, knee, ankle, hand, hair, etc.
2.  Wherever the "it" person touches, become injured and have to hold your shoulder or knee or hop on one foot if it was their leg.
3.  Once a player has 3 injuries, they become it.

Freeze Dance
1.  Play music and encourage kids to dance..any style they want!
2.  Randomly stop the music during the danceing
3.  When the music stops, all freeze, the last person to strike a pose or freeze is out.
4.  The winner is the last one dancing

Crazy Jumps
1.  Use a garden hose to form a jump line.
2.  Kids run to the line and then try to jump the farthest like the long jump track even.
3.  Kids can do any creative form of jump they want-strike a pose, do a carwheel, run backwards

"Physical activity isn't just for weight loss...It saves lives, provides a mental and physical boost, and helps us find our happiest, healthiest self."  Melanie Douglass, R.D., NASM

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer Activities

So our summer starts on Wednesday!  I'm excited but also know that I need to be sure to have some constructive, fun, and educational activities planned to keep my older kids happy and thus the whole family happy.  I decided to put together a weekly activity that we can all look forward to and break up the week.  So once a week that we are not on vacation we have planned a fun "field trip" for the kids and I.  Here are  things we have planned:

Wednesday June 1st, Stokes Nature Center invites all ages to Nature Night on Wed, June 1st from 4p.m. to 7p.m. The theme for June is “Bugs”! Participants will play bug games, make bug crafts, learn bug facts, and go on a bug hunt. This program is free. All are welcome to drop-in; activities are ongoing. For more information: (435-755-3239) or visit
Saturday, June 4th, come join us for music, fun activities, and learn about water conservation, water quality, wildlife, recycling, energy, the environment, and the Bear River Watershed. Teens and children are invited with their parents to participate in the TENTH annual Bear River Celebration and Free Fishing day from 10 am to 2 pm Saturday June 4th at Logan’s Willow Park West pond area. Pack a water bottle and sun block and enjoy free fishing, booths, activities, giveaways and prizes. T-shirts will be given out to the first 200 youth who complete the booth activities
Wednesday June 8th, Fry Street Quartet—Logan Tabernacle Concert at Noon—Think Cub Scout requirements, and amazing musical experience for FREE! (Every weekday they have Free concerts at the tabernacle at noon)

Family Information and Resource Center- 1:00-2:00 Around the World in 80 days-- The Logan Family Center is a small white building on the playground at Wilson Elementary School, 2 doors south of the Island Market, a half block from the bus stop at Center Street and 400 East. 

Providence Splash Pad-- 310 West 250 North in Providence

Logan Fire Department—think Cub Scout requirements!

Water Games in the park and making boats for the river, 

Tour of a local Grocery Store

Logan Aquatic Center

Some other ideas we had were:  
Take a bus ride adventure
Go to the zoo
Daughters of the Utah Pioneer Museum
Tour the post Office
Any others you have done or are planning on doing?  Please share in comments.
If you would like to join us on any of these adventures, please let me know and I'll give you more details.
A great resource to check out is:  The Summer Activity Guide 2011
This guide has lots of fun camps that teach kids a variety of things.  
Happy Planning and Doing!  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Tiger Mother

I really haven't had time to post to this blog for a long time.  Today I really wanted to share some thoughts I had while reading a book I recently finished reading called "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother."  If anyone else has read this book, I would love to have a discussion about it because I found it so interesting and so different from any other books about parenting then I have ever read.  This book is by Amy Chua.  I bought it on Amazon since our library didn't carry it-which they really ought to.
Chinese Parenting vs. Western or American Parenting.  Amy gives lots of examples of stereotypical parenting from both cultures which are not always true but generally pretty close to accurate.
She wanted to raise her children the "Chinese Way" even though she lived in America.  The book tells of her journey of parenting in America and how her perspectives change when one of her daughters didn't quite respond the way she planned.
What makes a Chinese mother?  This is what Amy said are believes of Chinese Mothers: 1)schoolwork always comes first; 2) an A-minus is a bad grade; 3) your children must be two years ahead of their classmates in math; 4)you must never compliment your children in public; 5)if your child ever disagrees with a teacher or coach, you must always take the side of the teacher or coach; 6) the only activities your children should be permitted to do are those in which they can eventually win a medal; and 7) that medal must be gold.
How do they keep this much focus all the time and have such great success.  These are things Amy's daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:  Attend a sleepover, have a play date, be in a school play, complain about not being in a school play, watch TV or play computer games, choose their own extracurricular activities, get any grade less than a A, not be in the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama, play any instrument other than the piano or violin, not play the piano or violin. (She talked a lot about her children's music studies in the book which I found fascinating!)
Reading these lists you may think she is absolutely crazy. I kind of did too.   But, after reading the book, I don't think she was.  She really  loved her children and they knew that, and she wanted to give her children a good childhood where they learned skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence.  I do believe you can instill these very things in your children and not be quite as extreme as Amy was.  Reading the book made me really think about my parenting style.  I am not a Tiger Mother but in somethings I have a few stripes that I could identify with.
Here is a couple quotes from the book I liked, "Chinese parenting is one of the most difficult things I can think of.  You have to be hated sometimes by someone you love and who hopefully loves you, and theirs just no letting up, no point at which it suddenly becomes easy.  Just the opposite, Chinese parenting--at least if you're trying to do it in America, all odds are against you--is a never ending uphill battle, requiring a 24-7 time commitment, resilience, and guile.  You have to be able to swallow pride and change tactics at any moment.  And you have to be creative.  pg 161-162
My thought is---That is why Chinese parents only seem to have 1 or 2 children.  How could you keep of this resilience through 4 or more children.
"That's one difference between a dog and a daughter, I thought to myself later.  A dog can do something every dog can do--dog paddle, for example--and we applaud with pride and joy.  Imagine how much easier it would be if we could do the same with daughters!  But we can't; that would be negligence.  pg 119-120
Birthday for Amy--"At Jed's urging, Lulu handed me her 'surprise,' which turned out to be a card. More accurately, it was a piece of paper folded crookedly in half, with a big happy face on the front.  Inside, "Happy Birthday, Mommy!  Love, Lulu"  was scrawled in crayon about another happy face.  The card couldn't have taken Lulu more than twenty seconds to make.  I gave the card back to Lulu.  "I don't want this," I said. I want a better one--one that you've put some thought and effort into.  I have a special box where I keep all my cards from you and Sophia, and this one can't go in there."  Then Amy explains later that It's too idealistic to expect children to do the right things on their own.  pg 103-104

I really appreciated the things I learned from this book.  The thing I learned for myself is that I can do better as a parent.  I can make the sacrifices of my own time to spend helping them with their homework so they can be better students. I won't begrudge the hours spent at music lessons, and music practicing because I know that time is quality time spent with me.  I think we can expect more from our children.  They are smart, they are capable of so many good things.  By not expecting the best from them is not believing in them.  By letting them just turn on the TV or video games day in and day out is not letting them live up to their potential.  I would highly recommend picking this book up to read, I think you will like it.