Friday, February 28, 2014

Go Inside and Play

David Epstein, author of The blog Weather Wisdom wrote this week, "For us here in New England this has been the coldest winter since the winter of 2002/2003, but ranks only in the top 65 of all-time. So if you are in your early 30s, this is the coldest winter since back in your college days."[1] Speaking to me, Mr. Epstein? With the exception of a two-day warm-up last weekend, it snowed, rained, sleeted or the high temperature was below freezing 12 of the past 14 days.[2] This means only two days in the past two weeks were viable for taking our toddler outside for any sustained period, let alone our newborn. Of course our toddler caught a virus and missed out on enjoying those two days.

This means we have been bonding with our home. If you read regularly you know we love our home.We love it so much we talk about turning our dining room into a third bedroom at some point when our co-ed children are too old to share a room. The word "relocate" is taboo in our family. Though speaking of moving, we have had to be very creative about ways to get moving lately, as virtually all of our time is indoor time.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines recommend a minimum of 60 minutes of activity on most, if not all, days for children and teenagers. Adults should do a minimum of 30 minutes of activity five days per week and ideally 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity most days of the week to avoid weight gain.[3] The National Association for Sport and Physical Education further stipulates that toddlers should have 30 minutes of structured physical activity and preschoolers ought to have 60 minutes of structured physical activity daily, each in addition to 60 minutes of unstructured activity.[4] Here is a run-down of our (mostly) indoor active play the past week.

Day 1: Wednesday, January 19

We walked (brrr) to and from Music and Movement at the Children's Museum where our daughter jumped to Five Little Monkeys, danced under the parachute, beat the drum and shook maracas for 45 minutes. In the evening we had a dance party at home. Our daughter loves pop music and I love that Kidz Bop (download via iTunes) has rated G versions of all the pop songs. Her favorite jam of the moment is B.o.B.'s Airplanes, Kidz Bop version. Since she was about one-year-old she has also loved Justin Bieber's "Baby." Bet that would drive him nuts to know he appeals so much to toddlers.

Day 2: Thursday, January 20

We exercised and played at an hour long Terrific Tots class at My Gym in the morning. I cannot recommend this place highly enough. Our daughter loves the classes and all the teachers, especially Mr. Cooper and Miss Kelly. In addition to having unique and fun ideas during the class that help children build strength and flexibility, they teach the kids and parents practice skills to take home; perfect for these indoor days. Bonus: they offer parents' night out drop-offs the second Friday each month.

In the afternoon, we went to a playgroup we participate in through the South Boston Mom's Club. Another organization I think everyone in the area should know about. Coincidentally, in the morning we ran into twins at My Gym from our playgroup, as well as another South Boston Mom's Club member on her way to a class after ours. The Mom's Club also has Brookline and Cambridge chapters.

Day 3: Friday, January 21

Husband and daughter walked to daycare, where she had dance and movement time in the playroom dedicated for days when weather prohibits outdoor play. I picked her up early because she wanted to play with her friends who live in our building. The kids rode tricycles, ran around chasing each other and played Ring-Around-the-Rosie, falling on the ground and laughing in our building's common space for an hour and a half before dinner. Simon Says, Tag, Hide-and-Seek are other favorites to wear them out. At home we do more movement songs like "If You're Happy and You Know It", "The Hokey-Pokey", and "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes".

Day 4: Saturday, January 22

Husband took daughter to the Children's Museum to play in the climbing structure, formally known as the New Balance Climb in the morning from 10:30-12. She woke up from her afternoon nap congested and with a slight fever and enjoyed a rare evening of hanging on the couch watching Disney's The Aristocats.

Day 5: Sunday, January 23

We planned to visit friends in NH (a good opportunity to play in the yard or go for a walk with their dogs) but since they have an infant who was premature, we decided we better not visit them with daughter being sick. Husband and daughter wrestled after her nap. "Mommy we're fighting," she laughed. Husband and daughter did push-ups and squats together as he worked out at home. Later in the day - the second in a row of the two good weather days - we took a walk with the kids for our first spin in our new Orbit Double Helix stroller (we bought the upgrade kit for our single stroller) to downtown crossing to stock up on tissues for daughter's runny nose and run a few other errands. We would have loved for our daughter to get some exercise since it was relatively nice out but she was too wiped out from being sick. At least all four of us were able to have some fresh air and be outside for a bit.

Day 6: Monday, January 24

Our daughter is a natural yogi and lucky for her, daycare occasionally has a toddler yoga instructor come teach a class. When at home, she frequently pulls out a yoga mat and does one-legged downward dog and table poses. Monday, I still did not want to bring her around other kids just yet with her cold and she was still not 100% so we looked at yoga videos on Amazon Mom/Prime for such occasions when we need something structured and active to do at home without being too vigorous. LiveStrong recommends DVDs for kids yoga. I will update when Once Upon a Mat arrives and we try it out.

Day 7: Tuesday, January 25

Tuesday is daycare for daughter again. The kids went outside to the play yard for 20 minutes then spent more time in the indoor play area dancing and exercising. At home we had another evening dance party before bed time.

When the weather is better than awful (not necessarily good) we spend more time outdoors walking to our activities and the buses and trains to get there. Still over the past week, my husband walked to and from work most days. I also have had my fair share of exercise with baby boy who wants to walk, bounce and rock the day away being held. Though technically spring is less than one month away, we all know in New England spring arrives later than the actual equinox. So for now when we cannot go outside and play, we just think instead about how to go inside and play. Please share your favorite ideas for active, energetic play inside.

[1] Epstein, David. "More snow and cold on the way in the seemingly never ending winter," Weather Wisdom, February 27, 2014.
[2] Boston Past Observations Summary, intellicast. Accessed February 28, 2014.
[3] 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008.
[4] "Active Start: A Statement of Physical Activity Guidelines for Children from Birth to Age 5, 2nd Edition," National Association for Sport and Physical Education. Accessed February 28, 2014.

1 comment:

  1. Love your blog, Ashley! We, too, love a good dance party--often before dn to get the last of our sillies out. Building forts or tunnels can also serve as a quasi-active indoor activity. Building the tunnels would likely make it more active. And then you can also create a mini-indoor obstacle course for any age. I have also been tempted to pick up one of those FitBit gadgets that measures the number of steps you take each day because although I do not ave the time now to actually work out, we have to remember that running around with kids is a work out. Cheers to you from Seattle, a place where we get darn creative with our indoor spaces!


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