by Karen Sibal
Editorial comments: Parenting in todays world is tough, as busy parents in a fast paced society, we don't always spend the time with our kids and family that we should. Karens previous two articles, Family Time and Indoor Family Fun give ideas to help us make that most of that time. This last article in the series give us ideas on how to make the must of our outdoor time with our children. With child obesity on the raise, a topic for another article, getting outside and getting moving is perhaps more important than ever.
Play at the Park
You can have a great time outdoor with your gang by simply taking a trip to your neighbourhood park. Put your baby in a jogging stroller, or maybe you want to try riding bikes (with your helmets, of course) and your wee one can ride along in a bike trailer. Once you’re there, you can have fun kicking a soccer ball, playing Frisbee, taking a hike or flying a kite. If you’re looking for a workout, strap on some rollerblades and get your kids moving along with you too. And, if it’s a really great day, pack along a picnic for the entire family to enjoy under a tree. You’re sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.
Fun at Home
There’s a lot you can do together at home – maybe wash to car together, or fill up the wading pool for the kids to splash around in. For those of you who are a true kid at heart, why not join the kids in the pool for some good old-fashioned fun? Another family favourite is creating a garden – a vegetable garden or one with seasonal flowers are popular choices. Kids love learning about the earth and how plants grow. Pick out plants with your kids and help them learn about their characteristics and growth patterns. Not only is working in a garden relaxing, it’s a great way for kids to learn more about their environment – and we adults may also pick up some insights along the way.
Hit the Beach
Nothing beats the beach on a really hot day. The trick to having a fantastic experience as a family is planning. Start by packing the essentials that you will need for the day. In addition to the basics – bathing suits, towels, sandals, shorts and cover-ups, and the ever-important sunscreen, consider packing beach balls, shovels, pails, and other inflatable toys that your kids will enjoy. For older children, consider bringing along a beach volleyball set and some snorkelling gear. While there’s a lot to do at the beach, you might just want to do nothing but relax, so pack your umbrella, lounge chairs, and a good book or two – and don’t forget the cooler with the chilled drinks and snacks! The best family memories are often created when you’re all just hanging out together and the beach can provide the perfect setting.
Talk with Your Kids
Sometimes, quality family time doesn’t have to involve doing a lot of things together. Connecting with each other can occur simply by sitting down and taking the time to talk with your kids and hearing about their day – listening to their point of view, understanding their problems, learning about their friends, offering words of encouragement and motivating them to fulfill their dreams. Quite often, it’s these precious moments together that will be the ones that kids will remember and cherish for years to come.
Karen Sibal is a freelance writer, researcher and communications consultant. She is the owner of Sibal Writing and Consulting, a firm that specializes in public policy research and effective communications and web solutions for all types of organizations. Over the past 15 years, Karen has done work for local and provincial governments and several not-for-profit organizations. Karen has written extensively on children’s issues and has recently helped with launching an association for mothers and children in her community. She is a member of the Halton-Peel Communications Association and has also served as the managing editor of a government child welfare journal. Karen is currently authoring a children’s book series for preschool children and keeps busy with various community projects.Karen lives with her husband and two girls, ages 2 and 8 years, in Oakville, Ontario Canada. For more information about Karen, please visit her web site at www.sibal.ca or call 416-580-9097.
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