Tag Archives: active living

Discover the Best Nature Play Spaces near Washington, D.C.

Did you know elementary-aged kids have about half the core strength kids had only a decade ago? Overall creativity has also taken a hit. The way we use technology gives us more reasons than ever to sit down. Like us, kids don’t move around as much and have less free time to use their imaginations. What’s the solution for more healthy and durable young bodies and minds? Plenty of free play outdoors in the sunshine and breeze!

For year-round adventure, these amazing parks in the Washington, D.C. area don’t have swings, slides, or other typical playground equipment, but guarantee a healthy whole-child workout.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA is a gorgeous destination for the whole family whereamid hundreds of ornamental and native plants and the occasional nosy goosethere’s a garden just for kids, perfect for little ones to touch and smell the herbs and flowers, stow away in hidden spaces, and host imaginary tea parties.

Hidden Oaks Nature Center in Annandale, VA features Nature Playce, a free-play utopia where kids use hay bales, sticks, and rounds of wood to build forts and castles they can knock right down when they are finished if they want to. Here, kids use all their muscle groups and build skills they can’t in the classroom.

Constitution Gardens Park in Gaithersburg, MD is a completely accessible urban hideaway with tons of sand, a water play area, and whimsical structures to climb, all made from local sycamore wood. Kids of all ages have plenty of space to explore and move to their own playtime agenda.

Where’s a nature play space where you live?

For more ideas on helping your whole family to be healthy and balanced, sign up for Durable Human News and read How To Be a Durable Human: Revive and Thrive in the Digital Age Through the Power of Self-Design.

This post was written by Jenifer Joy Madden, tech hygienist, digital journalism professor, and author of the practical handbook for living in harmony with technology: How To Be a Durable Human: Revive and Thrive in the Digital Age Through the Power of Self-Design.

Kid-Friendly Video All About Walking

from "Pedestrian Safer Journey"A clever new video is speaking kids’ language about how to walk safely to school, in the neighborhood or on city streets. The stars are cartoon characters just snarky enough for real kids to relate to.

Safe Routes to School posted the 5-minute animation just in time for International Walk to School Day, this year on October 8.

Way back when you might have walked or bike to school.  But do you know today’s rules of the road?

Walk with or against car traffic?

How old is old enough for a kid to walk to school alone?

Those answers and more are here in English or Spanish:

Walking and biking is a fun and easy way for kids to be outdoors, get exercise and learn durable skills they can’t in the classroom, like how to navigate without a GPS.

Even if your school doesn’t have Walk to School Day,  you can always help them out and plan it yourself.

Want inspiration for parenting active, creative kids? Read The Durable Human  Manifesto (it only takes 10 minutes, plus it’s mostly pictures!) 

Learn more about the author on Google+.

Helping your Child Walk or Bike to School

A good way for kids to be durable in the long run is by learning how to get themselves around. Riding the bus certainly helps them to become more self-reliant, but if they walk or bike they also get a good workout, fresh air and a healthy dose of freedom.

Unlike how it was when you were growing up, only 1 in 10 kids today walk or bike to school. To improve those odds, the national Safe Routes to School program sponsors International Bike to School Day in the spring and Walk to School Day in October.

More and more, school systems in the U.S. and around the world are endorsing the Days, as we have recently here in Fairfax County, Virginia. Some of our schools have expanded to Bike and Walk Week and are even challenging each other to friendly competitions. Others schools encourage students to walk or bike on a particular day each week.

If you want your child give it a try, check out these suggestions: Continue reading