Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Taking Initiative: How to keep the Playgrounds Clean?

Summary: The dirt stained, weather beaten play structures can be commonly observed in our cities. Every time you drive past a playground with less-than-appropriate playing gear, you can’t help but wonder: who’s going to check it? Isn’t this the responsibility of our parks and recreation department? It is, but you cannot just sit around and wait for them to respond to your calls and complaints. It’s time to take the initiative.

The ‘Clean Parks’ Project

So what if your parks and recreation department doesn’t care about the filthy parks, you can always put together your own little project for cleaning up your neighboring parks. And you never know, it can actually be fun. So how do you do that? All you have to do is find the time to make this happen. Playground cleanup can take time, so make sure that you have a couple of weekends free. You do not necessarily have to do this alone; you can involve your kids and neighbors in the project and a have a fun-oriented activity for the weekend. Here is a list of things that you can do:
  • First of all decide about the playground that you wish to clean. Depending on the type of help you have for the project, you can choose to clean different parks. If you can get a large number of volunteers, then you can get a lot of work done.
  • You will need to approach your local government to make sure that your local council will help you with the removal of the trash.There is a pretty good chance that your local city council will assist you with the various park cleaning activities, including waste disposal. However,if due to tight budget, the council fails to provide the needed assistance, you can always work out your own strategy for waste disposal. The most effective way to dispose waste is the use of recycling containers.
  • Plan for waste reduction and recycling. If you cannot get your hands on the recycling containers, arrange for the disposable plastic bags.
  • Publicize your project to get more volunteers. If your community has a neighborhood newsletter, publish the park cleanup news in advance.
  • If your park has a rusty, old outdoor playground equipment, make sure that you have the right supplies for the cleanup.
  • Advise your neighbors or volunteers to bring their safety gear, such as gloves and goggles, for the cleanup process.
  • If it’s cold, you might want to arrange for coffee, tea and hot chocolate. If it’s hot, you might need water coolers and disposable cups. You do not have to do this all on your own; ask the volunteers to pitch in.
  • Determine what kind of cleaning equipment you will need and ask your volunteers to help you with the equipment. Your home cleaning supplies and gardening tools can be of great assistance. You can ask the volunteers to bring some tools along so there is a less need for borrowing them. In addition, understand what type of commercial playground equipment your park has and bring the tools accordingly.
  • If You wish to trim the grass and shrubbery, you will need to have special gardening tools such as a lawn mower. In addition, for hard core gardening work, bring your boots and hat and ask your volunteers to bring their gardening gear as well.
The above-mentioned steps can help you implement your park cleanup project successfully. So grab a spade and get to work!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Where the Wild Things are…

Summary: There is always some Godforsaken piece of barren land that the parents never wish for their kids to find. But do we really need to keep our children tucked inside the four walls? What if our children have better chances to grow and develop in the outside environment that is presumed to be dangerous for their health. This article will explore why you should let your kids hang around near dangerous places.

This Sounds Preposterous

I know how it sounds and I know what most parents reading this must be thinking “let our child near danger? That sounds preposterous!” Maybe you are right, but what are we gaining by keeping our children safe and sound indoors? Our children are becoming a victim of sedentary habits at home and we need to do something about it. If children want to discover the less-than-safe zones near your house or in the neighborhood, then maybe let them. Exploring the no-go-zones can offer various benefits that include, but are not limited to:
· Children learn to take risks and make decisions according to the situation.
· New locations give children the opportunity to expand their mental horizon.
· Dangerous activities and places, strengthen kids’ confidence and ability of self-reliance.

Things that you should Absolutely Allow Your Kids Here is a well-sorted list of things that you should absolutely allow your kids.

Climb trees:
Climbing trees can allow your kids to develop strong motor skills and help them have the ability to take on risky endeavors. This may not be a great idea for toddlers, but preschoolers can enjoy tree climbing in close supervision (of course).

Lift heavy objects:
By allowing your child to lift heavy objects, you are not giving them the license to lift objects that are beyond their strength and control. You are simply letting them pick heavy things like a garden spade or a chair. So, do not worry about the injuries.

Walk around barefoot:
Growing body of research shows that soil and dirt contain good bacteria that offer myriad benefits for the overall health. So, let your kids walk around in the backyard without their comfy shoes.

Stand on unsteady objects:
Some commercial playground equipment gives children the freedom to play with unsteady areas that help them learn body balance.

Carry a small pocket knife:
OK, maybe this one crosses the line, but think about it; if your children have the chance to explore the forsaken garden, there is a good chance that they would want to cut up some flowers and stuff. There are a hundred things that a pocket knife can be used for and children need to learn that. A blunt pocket knife cannot do much harm to kids, so let them have it.

Explore the pool with a floating device:
Seriously? Yes, really, let them dive in the pool or the lake without a floating device, but (of course) with close supervision. Don’t let the your younger children go any deeper, but older kids or high schoolers can definitely survey the deeper end of a lake.
What if my kid gets injured? There is usually a 50/50 chance that your kid will get injured or stay unharmed while around an outdoor playground equipment or any other play structure. So, why limit their activity?

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Supporting Your Children: Why You must Encourage Atheltic Activities?

So your kid prefers barreling in the school playground instead of sitting in a classroom. Kids can have different preferences when it comes to recreational activity and study choices. Generally, parents prefer to have their kids enroll in academic endeavors that will guarantee acceptance in the Ivy league colleges. Not every child can have the same potential for the same kinds of activities, and by forcing them to choose something that does not go well with their talent, you are only stifling their true potential.

Why Encourage Athletic Activities?

If your child has chosen to be more athletic than a science lab geek, appreciate and encourage him instead of lecturing him about the importance of academic competence. Sports can enhance your child’s overall development and help him do better at academic tasks. Below, we have put together a list of benefits that can be garnered through athletic activities. Sports can:

  • Build confidence
  • Reduce the risk of obesity
  • Enhance cardiovascular fitness
  • Improve the growth of tendons,  bones, ligaments and muscles
  • Improve muscle coordination and balance
  • Provide relaxation,
  • Reduce chronic muscular tension
  • Improve sleep
  • Enhance cognitive health
  • Improve interpersonal skills

Sports are not just for the Boys

Most parents believe that girls belong to a ballet class instead of a sports field. This is just a wrong assumption that sport activities are a guy thing. Girls can be just as much participative in athletic endeavors as boys.

Some of the most influential women on the planet include sport champions like Maria Sharapova and Laila Ali. “I don’t think my little girl has what it takes to be something like Laila Ali.” Parents make a devastating mistake when they make up their minds that their child simply does not have the capability to compete for hard core sports activities. Even if you believe that your little girl is not competitive enough for the various athletic activities, you have to let her have the opportunity to explore her potential.

As a parent, it is your responsibility to allow your child to explore the various options; you never know, your girl might be the next Zara Philips. One way to encourage physical activity is by allowing your children (both boys and girls) to enjoy the natural goodness of school playground equipment or any other play structure for that matter. The higher the physical activity, the higher the chances of success in both the classroom and field.

Watching Sports Can Do a Lot

Many People would beg to differ, but watching sports activities can have a positive influence on your child’s mind. All the energy in the playground evokes inspiration in the kids and encourages them to participate in athletic activities. So if you say no to every time your child asks permission for attending a basketball match, reconsider your decision (you might be taking away the purest source of inspiration).

Do not underestimate the power of outdoor playground equipment or playground; even if your children are not participating, they are watching and learning.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Making the Most out of Recess: How to structure the Recess Activities?

If there is anything that can help children develop more focus in class, it’s recess. But due to increased academic pressure, many schools are keen on cutting down the recess time and increasing the classroom time, which might significantly affect our children’s physiological and physical health. Lack of recess is one of primary reasons why obesity prevails in our society.

Why Children need more Recess?

Recess is the most component of overall child development, but unfortunately many scholastic institutions seem to ignore that fact. Many school practice recess punishments where children are forced to skip their break time. This is not healthy for children and can seriously alter their brain activity that can ultimately impact their academic performance. Here are some of the major reasons why our children need more recess time at school:

Sunlight Improves Overall Wellness

Sunlight offers more than just vitamin D. Research shows that children who spend 45-50 minutes out in the sun have better bone development than children who miss the sun on a daily basis. Going to the beach once a month cannot cover your child’s need for sunlight.

Recess Time Increases Focus

Recess can help children improve their focus that can ultimately help them achieve high success in academic endeavors.

Outdoor Playground Equipment Social Skills

This is one of the biggest benefits of recess; it allows children to enhance their interpersonal skills and grow their relationships with their classmates.

Physical Activity Enhances the Brain’s Cognitive Ability

All the sweat and augmented heartbeat during a recess does not go to waste. Research shows that physical activity during the recess time can aid in enhanced cognitive ability.

 How Can We Structure a Recess Activity?

Most parents believe that controlling the structure of a recess is beyond their control. It is simply not true. That’s why we have parent teacher meetings so parents and the school staff can get together to find ways for better child maturity. Below are some of the ways that can help you structure the recess activities in a productive manner.

Ways to Structure the Recess Activities:

  • The first and the foremost thing is to get in touch with the school staff and promote ample recess time.
  • Make sure that your child’s school supports movement-based learning activities.
  • Make sure that the school offers creative school playground structures; modern play structures are designed with quest-oriented designs that allow children to take their imagination to the next level.
  • Ask the teachers and the physical education instructors to help kids engage with both structured and unstructured activities during the recess time.
  • Raise voice against nixing recess and make sure that the children get their break during the school hours. If we do not put an end to this silly punishment today, there is a possibility that this will take a form of a tradition.
  • Recess should not be the only way to give kids a chance to participate in physical activities; outdoor playground equipment is a great way to let children ride their imagination freely.