Winter Outdoor Fun Bucket List

Disclosure: I am currently serving as a “Play Ambassador” for Let’s Play. This is a sponsored post, however, the opinions expressed are my own.

This is such a busy time of year. Between buying gifts, attending holiday parties, and traveling to visit out-of-town family members, making time to stay active is easily forgotten. A few years ago I created a holiday bucket list for our family so this year I wanted to share a bucket list of ideas for active winter fun!

Take a walk around the neighborhood to see the Christmas lights. If you don’t live in a neighborhood you can search for places in your town that have great light displays and walk around those areas. Make some hot cocoa before you leave and put on some extra layers to stay warm and toasty as you walk.

Have a snowball fight. Whether you play as teams or every man for themselves, having a snowball fight is a fun way to let out all the stress of the holidays while burning some calories as you run around.

Go ice skating. Ice skating and hockey are great winter sports to get involved in. Many ice rinks offer skating lessons if you have family members who don’t know how to skate.

Sled down the biggest hill in town. Sledding is a winter activity that my family looks forward to every year. It’s a long climb to the top of the biggest hill but that just means it’s more exciting to sled down!

Make snow angels. Whenever there is fresh snow on the ground, kids love to plop down in it and make beautiful snow angels. When they are laying in the snow remind them to stretch out their arms to make the biggest angel possible.

Go on a nature walk. Look for pinecones on your walk and then when you come home you can spend the afternoon making bird feeders. Here are some tutorials on how to make them.

Build a snowman. Remember how fun it is to make a snowman? Join your kids as they play in the snow and challenge them to build the biggest snowman ever. They’ll need your help!

What is your family’s favorite way to enjoy the outdoors in the winter? Join me and make active play a daily priority in the lives of your kids and take the Let’s Play pledge here. Follow along on Social Media, too! Find Let’s Play on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.

 

 

Celebrate Play in the Windy City this Saturday with Let’s Play!

As many of you know, I’ve been working to help share the importance of play in the lives of children as a Play Ambassador for Let’s Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple to get kids and families active by providing them with the tools, places and inspiration to make physical activity a daily priority

Play is important to children’s physical, emotional, social and intellectual development. It is more important than ever for kids and families to get outside and play, especially in Chicago, where playgrounds are often lacking at public elementary and middle schools, according to research shared by the Chicago Tribune.

That’s why I’m so excited to announce that Let’s Play is helping bring play to Chicago this Saturday, August 9 and we want you and your family to join the fun! In the morning, Let’s Play will be working with its partners KaBOOM! and Good Sports and a team of volunteers to build a playground from the ground up at O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy and donate nearly 2,000 pieces of new sports equipment valued at $68,000 to eight youth organizations in Chicago.

In the afternoon, you can come on down to #LetsPlayChicago, a FREE community event for families and kids of all ages, featuring fun play activities like bouncy houses, obstacle courses, face painting and snacks. The #LetsPlayChicago community event is from 12:30 p.m. 4:00 p.m. at O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy (6024 W Warwick Ave., Chicago, IL 60634). It will be a fun time for all and a great way to get active with your family!

For more information and to register to join the fun, visit LetsPlay.com.

Disclosure: I am currently serving as a “Play Ambassador” for Let’s Play. This is a sponsored post, however, the opinions expressed are my own.

 

Four Benefits Of Team Sports

(Disclosure: I am currently serving as a “Play Ambassador” for Let’s Play. This is a sponsored post, however, the opinions expressed are my own.)

One of my favorite places to be is on the sidelines cheering for my boys as they play sports. This summer Jacob was in baseball and both Jacob and Lucas were in soccer. Fall brings Jacob’s first football season.

Sports offer many benefits including teamwork, responsibility, exercise and friendship. I hope that the boys continue playing sports for years to come. All of the great things that come from playing sports will become even more important as they head into elementary school and then into the teenage years.

Since sports are not a solo activity, one of the main things the boys learn from being on a team is team work and how to get along with others. They can probably kick a ball down the field and score a goal themselves but it’s much more meaningful when they can share the win with a friend. On the baseball field, one person can’t cover all of the bases themselves, they have to throw the ball to a teammate.

Another thing that the boys learn while playing sports is responsibility. They have to practice to get better and they have to make sure they are at practices and games. This is mostly the parents’ job right now but as the boys get older they will have to become more disciplined in making sure that they practice and arrive places on time so they don’t let their teammates down.

Sports are a fun way to get exercise. Running is not something either of my boys enjoy doing but they have to do it when they play sports and then they don’t mind because it’s made to be fun. Running the bases while people in the stands cheer, running down the field after a player who has the soccer ball or running, football under the arm, gives the activity a purpose. As kids get older they tend to become more sedentary in front of video games and tv so it’s good that by their teen years they will already be used to regular exercise.

Best of all, friendships develop while playing team sports. All those hours spent practicing and on the sidelines help the boys develop bonds with other kids. With delayed language and being on the Autism Spectrum, Lucas has not always formed friendships easily as he tends to sometimes be in his own world. This past season of soccer though, I really saw him come out of his shell talking with the kids on his team and laughing with them. This is the greatest thing that has come out of sports and I hope that as they get older they will continue to make new friends through the different teams they’re on.

What benefits have you seen from your children playing sports? If you want more ideas of how to keep children active from childhood to their teen years visit Let’s Play.com. You can also find Let’s Play on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Join Me In Taking The “Let’s Play” Pledge

(Disclosure: I am currently serving as a “Play Ambassador” for Let’s Play. This is a sponsored post, however, the opinions expressed are my own.)

I’m excited to share that I’ve recently been chosen to be a Play Ambassador for Let’s Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active by providing the tools, places and inspiration to make play a daily priority. I first realized the importance of play when I taught pre-k years ago. I saw first-hand how children learned through play more so than they did through any other way.

As a mom, I continue to believe in the importance of play but it is not so easy to integrate into life outside of the classroom. After a long day of work and driving the boys to their activities, I often just want to head home to eat dinner and relax. We have a backyard but the boys would rather sit inside and play legos or watch TV. I don’t want them to grow up and be couch potatoes so it’s my responsibility, as their mom, to get them outside playing.

With summer just around the corner I’m looking forward to warmer weather and more time outside. I decided that as tired as I am at the end of the day, it doesn’t take much more energy to sit at the park while they play on the playground than it does to sit on my couch. I figured we could spend 30 minutes to an hour at least a few times a week at the park. I recently heard about the “Let’s Play” pledge and signed it, pledging to engage my children in 120 hours of active play each week.

Along with playing on the playground, here are 5 other fun active ideas for kids this summer:

  • Go on a nature walk and make a nature collage with items they find
  • Have a toy wash. Grab a bucket of soapy water and a sponge and kids can have fun while they are cleaning their toys
  • Pull out the sprinkler and the slip n’ slide and cool off on a hot day
  • Play ball! Baseball, soccer, football, and other sports are great activities
  • Ride tricycles or scooters on the sidewalk

Want to join me and make active play a daily priority in the lives of your kids? You can sign the pledge here. Follow along on Social Media, too! Find Let’s Play on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.