Hiking with the Kids

School is almost over, summer is fast approaching, and the season of family get togethers, reunions, vacations and barbeques is close at hand. Quite a few of these events may take place in a park, where there will be the chance to take the kids out for a family hike.

Hiking is a great way to spend some quality time together as a family, and is a terrific form of exercise. Getting out in nature, and maybe leaving behind all the instant communication technologies, can be quite liberating too.

hiking

Now, before you get up and hit those trails, there are some simple and important rules you should keep in mind. Remember, you want this to be a fun experience, for both you and your kids.

You can always hike more, but never less.

So, start out with a short hike in mind. If it is going well, you can simply add to it as you go along. Go too far, for too long, and you may be carrying the little ones back to the car.

Safety first.

Bug bites, sunburn and skinned knees are the most common safety issues you want to make sure you can take care of on the trail.

• Sunscreen and bug-spray all exposed skin before setting out on the trail.

• Long pants are better than shorts in protecting the legs from bug bites.

• For the skinned knee, or hand, some anti-biotic cream and band-aids are a good idea to have on hand.

Stay hydrated!

Make sure you bring along plenty of water. There is no such thing as too much water, and the best place to carry your water is inside you. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. Stop every 20-30 minutes and take a few swigs of water. Stay away from sugary drinks, straight water is more than good enough.

Keep up your strength.

Have some good energy snacks with you too. Depending on the length of the hike, you may want to stop, perhaps at a scenic viewpoint, and take a little break with something to eat.

Have a plan if…

The last simple rule needs a whistle Make sure each child has a whistle attached to them. I don’t mean in their pocket, I mean around their neck, or looped into their belt, so they cannot lose the whistle. If, they should ever become separated from the group, they can blow the whistle loud and clear, while staying put. Make sure this is explained to them before, and reviewed during, the hike.

Have fun!

These rules, if followed, will go a long way in making that family walk in the woods a good one. Having it be a good time, a good memory, that is the key to getting the kids – and you – to want to do it again. Hiking is a great exercise that can take your kids to great places as part of a life-long activity.

Some helpful websites for making the family hike fun and safe:

Hiking with Kids – American Hiking Society http://www.americanhiking.org/resources/hiking-with-kids/

• A short list of ideas to keep the hike “kid-friendly.”

Helpful Tips on Hiking – American Hiking Society

http://www.americanhiking.org/gear-resources/tips-for-your-next-hike/

• An excellent resource on everything you may need to know about getting started with hiking. From boots to bug-spray, rain gear to snacks, and safety and first-aide on the trail.

hiking

Kids and Hiking – REI

http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/kids-hiking.html

Just Jeff’s Hiking Page

http://www.tothewoods.net/HikingWithKids.html

Tips for Hiking with Kids

http://www.wta.org/hiking-info/children/resources-for-families/how-to/tips-for-hiking-with-kids

 

Article by: Ned M Campbell is the head coach of James Madison High School’s wrestling team in Brooklyn, NY, and is a USA Wrestling nationally certified coach. He is a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army Officer, who also teaches history at James Madison teamHigh School.  Prior to teaching, Ned M Campbell worked with children and adults with disabilities during summer programs with IAHD and Southeast Consortium,  and volunteered time supporting a therapeutic horseback riding program for youth and adults with disabilities.

Campbell is a published writer, and a contributing writer to the “Can Do” Street blog for kids and parents. In addition, he is the voice of Coach Campbell in “Can Do” Street programs.

Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out Coach Campbell’s co-article for kids, on this subject, featured on the “Can Do” Kids blog at http://candostreet.com/blog-kids/

 

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Do Preschoolers Really Need Structured Exercise Every Day?

If you are the parent or grandparent of a preschooler you’ve got to be thinking no way does my preschooler need structured exercise!

But…the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asks us to consider the rise in overweight children between the ages of two and five years of age. In the late 1970s, about 5% of children between 2 and 5 years old were overweight. Just recently that figure reached nearly 14%,

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education(NASPE) suggests that preschoolers (ages 3 to 5) spend at least 60 minutes a day in total on structured physical exercise that help a preschooler develop motor skills. Children need daily practice to develop motor skills. Preschoolers need an additional 60 minutes on unstructured physical activities. They should not be engaging in more than 60 minutes at a time in sedentary activities unless they are asleep.

The guidelines for toddlers, 12 to 36 months old, are similar with the exception of structured physical activity adding up to 30 minutes a day rather than 60 minutes.

Parents and grandparents make the best teachers of physical exercise and activities. Try playing the following games to make sure your preschooler or toddle meets his or her daily requirements for physical activities:

  • Any kind of tag game
  • Catch with balls that are the proper size and weight for size and age
  • Water activities such as swimming, water exercises and games
  • Riding a tricycle or a scooter
  • Crawling activities
  • Doing jumping jacks
  • Music games and dancing to music
  • Playground jungle gym

NASPE offers a  word of caution… it is best to make these daily activities fun or, as our preschoolers get older structured physical activities may become a turnoff.

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Has Your Child Tried the Digital Coloring Game?

coloringHas you child tried…My Mouse Can Color? This coloring game allows kids to use their mouse to color characters and scenes from the programs on “Can Do” Street.

My Mouse Can Color is a great game for practicing eye hand coordination.

In addition to the games on “Can Do” Street, there are 12 interactive programs your child can try that stress decision making for safety, sharing, friendship, nutrition, appropriate behavior, good eating habits and personal hygiene.

Downloads include coloring sheets and activity sheets that reinforce the program decision making content.

For teachers and parents there are activity guides ( lesson plans) for use with the programs. All “Can Do” Street games and programs are Smart Board Compatible.

Your child can start coloring by going to http://www.candostreet.com/coloring.php.

 

 

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Scooter Safety

scooter

Scooters have stood the test of time, with each generation enjoying scooters in one form or another. A scooter can be great fun…a speedy way to get around. Today, there are even scooters for toddlers!

Kids need to practice scooter safety; accidents are on the rise. Over one third of all scooter accidents occur in children under eight years of age.

With the promise of fun comes the reminder that scooter safety is a very important consideration.

 Scooter safety for young children is best summed up as follows:

  • A helmet, knee pads and elbow pads must be worn whenever a child rides a scooter. No matter if it is summer and hot or they are just going a short distance
  • Children under eight must be supervised when riding a scooter.
  • Scooters need to be ridden on smooth, paved surfaces schoolyards, parks and sidewalks
  • Riders must remember that the street is not a safe place to ride.
  • If they ride on sidewalks, people walking on the sidewalk have the right of way.

To insure scooter safety, children need to learn how to scoot from an adult, just as they do for bike riding and skateboarding.

 

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Making Braid Fabric Wreaths…Fun for Ma n’ Me

wreaths

For as long as I can remember I have been making and gifting braided fabric wreaths. When my child was in the early years in grade school, he would enjoy helping stuff the fabric tubes and braiding the tubes for the wreaths. Most of all, he enjoyed talking about the role he played in its creation!

For friends who celebrated Christmas there were wreaths made of Christmas scene patterns braided with a solid red or green. Friends who didn’t celebrate Christmas were happy to receive wreaths that were suitable for hanging year round.

You will need to sew up the fabric tubes and the bows for the wreaths on a sewing machine, but children can help with the other parts of the wreath making.

Materials for One Wreath:

3 strips of Fabric (assorted/solid colors) cut 72 inches long by 10 inches wide

1 strip of a solid color/print for the bow cut 60 inches long by 10 inches wide

1 circular wire ring 12 inches in diameter (a large clothing hanger will do – bend to shape* )

Thread to match the color of the fabric

Sewing needles for hand sewing

Use of a sewing machine to make the strips into tubes for stuffing

2 bag of 100% Poly-fil for stuffing -20 ounces

1 long stick about 1 and ½ inches wide to use for pushing the fiber-fil into the tubing

Cutting Directions:

Cut 3 strips of fabric 72“long by 10” wide

Cut one strip of cloth for the bow – 60” long by 10“wide

Sewing Directions:

Wreath

  • Turn 3 strips (tubes) to be used for the wreath to the wrong side, pin or baste stitch one ½ inch from the edge. Leave openings every 12 inches to make stuffing easier. Machine stitch to openings (every 12 inches, leaving 4 inches open for stuffing, machine stitch for 12 inches, leave 4’ open…repeat until finished.
  • Turn tubes right side out, begin stuffing, use stick to help position stuffing in the tube, stuff each open section then hand stitch closed until you finish each tube.
  • Secure 3 tubes with a pin or stitch together at one end. Begin to braid until the 3 tubes have only 4 inches to the end ( use this to join with that part of the wreath that is held together with a pin or stitching)
  • Shape into a circle, join beginning and end of wreath together, hand sew.
  • Mount on wire ring by sewing wreath tubes to the wire at a few inch intervals

Bow

  • Turn bow fabric wrong side out, baste ½ inch from the edge, machine stitch the long side and one short side, turn inside out, press, hand stitch or machine stitch the open end closed.
  • Tie bow around the wreath at the point where you joined the top and bottom of the wreath , be sure to include the wire

Note: You can purchase wire rings for your wreaths at a hardware store or online.*

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