Tag Archive for growing

25 Benefits of Active Outside Play

You won’t believe what my kids are learning through simple outside play. Being outdoors has positive effects for physical and mental health in all ages of people. We need more time outside!

outside play, learning

Look at this picture of my kids playing outside, and let’s talk about all the things that are being learned here. There is so much learning going on, and these are all things we are pressured for our kids to learn, things they are tested on, things they are drilled in school. These kids are getting all of these benefits without feeling pressure or anxiety, they are HAVING FUN!


Get the kids outside.

Let’s start with the two kids in the front on the teeter totter, what are they learning? Teeter tottering teaches kids how to balance their weight against another child’s weight which is a math skill. It also teaches them balance in their physical bodies as well as multiple other physical development skills they need. In addition, the back and forth motion the kids experience as they go up and down fires synapses in their brains which form brain connections for them that lay the foundation for further learning such as reading, math, and science.

Okay, now let’s look at the next group of children on the swings, what are they learning? They are developing large motor skills like the two kids on the teeter totter, as well as learning balance. They are learning how to make the swing go back and forth which is simple physics. They are learning gravity. They are learning coordination. Their brains are firing synapses that will form pathways for later information to travel on as well. Physical activity teaches children SO much!

Now let’s check out the kids at the back table. They are scooping gravel and filling the top of the table with it. What could be learned from scooping gravel? They are developing fine and gross motor skills as they scoop up gravel and pack it into their prescribed areas on the table. They are learning math skills such as volume and measurements. They are using their imaginations and building critical thinking and problem solving skills as a group. They are also learning social skills. The scope of what is happening in this picture is immeasurable and what I have mentioned here only scratches the surface.

These kids are having a great time, doing healthy things, and their brains are exploding with learning and pathway formation for future learning. This is a miracle to watch every day. They are developing balance, muscles, control, coordination, critical thinking, problem solving, math, science, colors, language, social skills, and the list goes on and on. And guess what? They are LOVING what they are doing!

Active play makes kids smarter! It just does. Where did we come up with the idea that learning is supposed to be miserable? Learning is supposed to be fun! Let them play!

Let them play, inside and OUTSIDE. There are so many extra benefits to active play outside. When the kids are super crazy active outside it saves wear and tear on my house and furniture. My house is small and if they are flipping and running inside the house, someone always gets hurt. Outside there is room to run and play actively without risk of slamming into a wall or a piece of furniture.

kids playing and learning outside

There are other great benefits to being outside. There is so much more to explore and learn about outside. There is sensory stimulation from the breeze, grass, trees, animals, bugs, rocks, dirt, and so many other things that are full of learning opportunities. There is so much to see and do. There is so much to find out. Check out the amazing benefits of gardening outside with kids. Click here to read about it or here to watch a video on the benefits of getting kids in the garden.

kids learning outside

Outside there is plenty of fresh air and sunshine which gives kids vitamin D, a vital nutrient for health. There is also immunity boosting power in the outdoors. There are mental health benefits from soil touching the skin. I don’t know how it works but somehow, the beneficial microbes that naturally occur in the soil, make the chemicals in our bodies work more like they are supposed to and helps keep our mental health on track. Also, getting dirty outside may actually strengthen a child’s immunity and overall health. Talk about wow! Click here to learn more about it.

 

In the past twenty years, we have become and inside society. The average child in the US spends as few as 30 minutes of outdoor play each day and more than seven hours in front of an electronic screen. EVERY. DAY. What’s even worse, some children get even less time for active play, as little as 15 minutes.

learning outside with free play

Active play is vital for children’s academic success. Kids cannot learn if they are not moving. Why? Children are unable to blow off steam without playground time. Behavior problems arise in children who don’t get enough recess. In addition, children must engage in active play for optimal brain function. Physical activity sharpens their minds. Extra homework does not help children advance in school, the brain-body connection is stronger than we realize. Children who are allowed to run for more than an hour a day, have increased cognitive skills including focus and multitasking.

People were made to move, but today most of us are sedentary. We were created to work to get food or travel, and historically had to perform physical tasks for our own survival. Movement, or lack thereof, is shaping children’s brains.

Physical activity boosts overall health, strengthens muscles (the heart is one of those muscles) improves brain function and thinking skills. We must exercise our bodies in order to exercise our intellectual potential.

Regular participation in physical activity helps cognitive skills because of increased blood and oxygen to the brain. Increased growth factors that help create nerve cells and keep our brain synapses plastic, (or flexible) which strengthens interconnections and protects them from damage. Physical activity, also increases endorphins and norepinephrine which improves our mood and reduces stress.

Numerous studies have been done on children, adults, and animals and they all come up with these same results, we need to move and we need to get OUTSIDE!

Click here to learn more.

Play is important in the lives of every person, young or old. We should spend time every day doing something we enjoy and the more of it that is done outside the better. The benefits that help children develop, help us adults to function better as well. We get positive mental health benefits, enhanced mood, better ability to concentrate and focus on the tasks we have at hand, and a plethora of other benefits for our bodies, minds, and spirits.

Get outside and get moving today, you’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel when your lungs and pores are full of fresh air!

Next week is EARTH DAY! Here are some great Earth Day activities to get you playing outside from Ever Change Productions: 12 Outdoor Activities to Celebrate Earth Day

 

How to LIVE Your PASSION!-and a celebration of 20 years of doing just that!

 

I am very fortunate to have found my passion and what I am supposed to do with my life at a very early age. I started doing daycare at the age of 24 and I have never wavered from knowing that I know it’s what I’m supposed to do with my life. The majority of people flounder around looking for their purpose in life and trying to find what they are meant to do. When you are not doing something you love and care about, burnout is always on the horizon. Do you dread Mondays? Do you hate getting up each day when you think about what faces you at your job? We are not meant to live that way. You should look forward to your work, at least some of the time.

passion for loving kids

How do you go about figuring it out? Well, first of all, I believe we were not just meant to do one thing only. There could be many variations of what we were meant for that could all fit into God’s plan. I also think when you are reaching for your goals in life, you need to focus on an area of meaning and try to make what you spend your time doing, further that goal. In addition, many times we are meant to do certain things for a season and then meant to do something else at another time. And, I don’t think our calling is always our main 9-5 job. It could be something you participate in outside of work.

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When I was a girl, I wanted to be, well, first, Wonder Woman. I would put on my skates and go down in the basement in my bathing suit (as a third grader, I thought that’s what Lynda Carter was wearing in the show) and put on my homemade bullet deflecting bracelets and tiara, get my little gold belt from my fairy costume mom made me for Halloween for my lasso of truth, and skate around pretending to be her catching all the bad guys.

I also had a passion for writing. My first grade teacher encouraged me to pursue that dream because I was good at it. I lost touch with it when it was discouraged later, but I always loved writing.

Later in my growing up years, when my career goals as a super hero fell through, I wanted to run a big company and be a strong, powerful, woman CEO. I wanted to make lots of money and have lots of power. So I went to business school to learn all I could about business.

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Your life will not go as planned, no one’s does! You don’t just map out all your goals and just check them off one by one, you have to take a path to get there. It’s never a straight one. Have you heard the expression life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans? It is true. I never dreamed in a million years that I would work with children, but here I am having done it for 20 years!

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When I think back on my life, dreams, and passions, I can see every single thing I have been through in my life has prepared me for where I am today. Think about the course of your life and see if you can see it too. I believe God brings us on a path that is best for us, but not always what we expect. Being a childcare provider IS a lot like being a super hero. There is so much expected of this position and not a lot of resources to get you there. Believe me, to do this job, you HAVE to be born to do it. It takes a unique individual to work very long hours for very little profit, balance a family with a business in the same space, open your home to complete strangers and trust them there, run the business side with professionalism and the daycare side with heart, and be rigorously dependable. You also have to support parents and guide them while being their partner in caring for their child, and be able to give the kids what they need for success as well.

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Going to business school was immensely helpful to owning my own business from everything to accounting principles to typing and computer skills. This job involves A LOT of paperwork! The computer is an invaluable tool for that.

celebrating 20 years of childcare

 

Video produced by Ever Change Productions. To check them out, click here.
If you are struggling to find your meaning in life, how do you find YOUR calling?

Step 1-Think about your passions.

What do you LOVE doing? What did you always love as a child that you have given up enjoying now? When you look forward to something, what is it? If it’s traveling, why? What about it do you love? If it’s gardening, is there a way you could turn that into more of a full time part of your life? Do you love being with children? Could you incorporate that into a career? Do you love helping people? There are so many jobs where you can do that. Do you love to create things? Organize? What do you wish you were spending your time on? What do you long to do? What makes you feel complete or relaxes you?

Step 2-Think about what steps you would need to get there.

Do you need to take some classes or get a higher degree to reach your goals? Do you just need to spend more of your free time doing what you love on the side? Do you need to adjust your lifestyle and pay off your debt so you can take a lower paying job? Don’t worry about the big picture and fret about how far away you are from your goals, focus on the tiny steps you need to take to get there, what can you do TODAY to change your future?

Step 3-Take the first step.

Put the first step into action, have faith in yourself and the dreams God placed in your heart and trust Him to help you get there. Pray about what needs to happen. Trust Him to lead you on the path you need to take and let Him ignite the passion for it even more in you.

I have been living my purpose for the past 20 years. It has nothing to do with any of my career goals as a child, but I could not have found a more perfect fit for my life. I love giving kids a great place to be. Growing their self-esteem and helping them succeed is so satisfying to me. Is there anything better than catching the eye of a child and watching their face light up and that big smile come over them as they realize you SEE them? Not to me. No, I don’t love cleaning up poopy diapers and barf, and I don’t love when parents pick up late or forget to pay, but I DO love being someone a child can trust as they learn to care for themselves and encouraging them along the way that they can do it. I also love giving parents a chance to work without worry and being a person they can trust and count on.

Today is my 20th anniversary in childcare. A couple of weeks ago we had a party to celebrate it. I invited all 75 of my past kids and their families to come and spend some time remembering things we had done. Many didn’t come, of course. People are busy and have lives to live, but the ones that came were a blessing and I really enjoyed seeing them. I have learned so much over the past 20 years about myself, children, relationships, and people. People always say, you teach the kids so much and give them so much, but I always say, they’re the ones that teach and give to me. My heart is blessed when I pour it into children. My life is changed. My soul is complete.

Here are a few things we did to celebrate and the reasons why we did them. It was a very special day. I hope you enjoy taking a peek into our celebration, and I hope you can take steps toward living the life you were meant to live. If you are there, GREAT! If you need to get there, take one step today in the right direction. We were meant to flourish in our life not just survive every day!

20 years of childcare celebration

We had a greeting table set up with seeds to take home the kids had harvested from our garden last year, some pens for the parents, and Easter eggs for the kids to take home. Those were a nod to one of the favorite family activities we have annually. If you want to check out our garden story, click here.

Over to the left, you can see the poster from our 10 year anniversary party along side our new growth chart for the second ten years. I have a chart in my closet that I have measured all the children on and even teenagers and young adults ask to measure first thing when they come in my house to visit. It’s a lifetime memory for a lot of them. Since our first one was full and overflowing onto the door in the closet, I bought this new one and we broke it in at the party. The kid’s faces lit up when they saw it there.

20 year childcare celebration

childcare celebration 20 years

We had yummy snacks and some fun door prizes to give away. People won lunch boxes, loaves of homemade bread, and packages of cookies from the cookie bar. I have several “world famous” cookie recipes that have been favorites over the years, so I baked some of each of them up for the occasion. To see the recipe for Monster cookies, click here.

gingerbread at childcare celebration

gingerbread

reliving old memories in childcare passion for loving kids

Decorating gingerbread is another parent involvement activity we do annually. Parents come and hang out with their kids and spend time getting to know each other and being creative. Many kids tell me years later how much fun this was and it’s one of my daughter’s favorites. That’s her at 22 in the last gingerbread picture. We’ve been doing this since she was 4. To see more about our gingerbread parties, click here.

memory table, passion for your job

scrapbooks childcare reunion, finding your passion

The memory book table was a favorite among the parents and the kids. We recreated a few of our old photos with the kids now. I had a scrapbook for the first 10 years and one for the second as well as yearly cookbooks we’ve made, garden journals and newspaper clippings. To check out what the cookbooks are all about, click here. I also had the photos from the scrapbooks printed up so families could take a copy of whatever photo they loved.

childcare celebration refreshments

childcare reunion refreshments

kids who still come to childcare

kids who are not so little anymore

Yummy snacks were enjoyed by everyone and people had a great time catching up or meeting other families.

childcare trivia game

The Little Sprouts trivia game was a big hit, here is a family working hard to win. The prize was 20 flowers made of dollar bills for 20 years of fun and learning. We had a tie, so each person got 10 flowers to keep. Some of the answers were a real hoot, but I think everyone had fun trying to figure them out.

So for 20 years, 75 kids, 36 families served, I have been growing and learning along side these kids. I am blessed beyond measure. I am grateful to have been a part of each memory we celebrated. I don’t know what I did to deserve this life, but I do know I am unique, special, and loved. I was born for this. I couldn’t be happier to be staring down the chance at more years like these. My gifts, my talents and my passions are being developed even still as I celebrate my life. I am praying that YOU would find your passion if you aren’t already living it too.

These are a few of the kids who came to the party, some of them had already left when we got a group shot, but there are so many blessings in these faces. I’m amazed every day that I have the privilege of doing this job.

How to Live Your PASSION!

I am blessed!

 

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