The BODY SMART Blog http://bodysmartblog.org From Head Start Body Start National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play Tue, 16 Oct 2012 15:01:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Take it Outside Week Causes a BUZZ! http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/10/16/take-it-outside-week-causes-a-buzz/ http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/10/16/take-it-outside-week-causes-a-buzz/#comments Tue, 16 Oct 2012 15:01:23 +0000 http://bodysmartblog.org/?p=1672

We’re so excited to be celebrating the 4th Annual Take it Outside Week! Four years already. Time flies when you are having #playoutdoors fun!

But we’re not the only ones celebrating. Take it Outside Week is causing quite a buzz across the interwebs — and of course in yards, parks, and play grounds across the country.

Here are just a few of the Take it Outside Week stories popping up:

Mom was Right, After All: Go Outside and Play!

* Adventures in Drool: ‘Tis the season to be outside

* Head Start Body Start Take it Outside Week (from Children and Nature Network)

No Child Left Inside! Extend Your Classroom Outdoors

* Green Tip — Take it Outside

 And I could go on…

A few things you can do: 

* Visit the Take it Outside Week page for resources and ideas

* Visit the HSBS Facebook page all week for your chance to win prizes!

* Go to Nature Find to locate a trail, park, or nature center near you (they have a great zip code search!)

* Visit eNature to see what local wildlife you can spot (they also have a great zip code search!)

* Try a new outdoor activity each day this week!  Try the ones listed below.

—> Go on a Fall Color Hike. Look for items that are orange, red, and yellow/gold. Count the items as you go and make up a movement for each. Do the following each time see an fall colored item:
o  Orange = hop on one foot four times
o  Yellow/Gold = stretch your arms over your head and jump up high two times
o  Red = spin around three times

—> Let’s hear it for leaf play! Rake leaves into piles and jump in them and then try making a leaf maze or spiral. Rake leaves (or have kids help you rake or make the shape by hand) into simple maze or spiral paths. Children can walk, run, gallop, and sidestep through your leafy creations.

But don’t let the fun stop on the 20th. Outdoor play and time in nature is important all year round. It’s good for the body, mind and spirit!

See ya outside! ~ Bethe

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Active Play is a 21st Century Solution http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/07/18/active-play-is-a-21st-century-solution/ http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/07/18/active-play-is-a-21st-century-solution/#comments Wed, 18 Jul 2012 13:04:27 +0000 http://bodysmartblog.org/?p=1650

“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.”

– Kay Redfield Jamison

Since starting our center in 2009, Head Start Body Start (HSBS) has worked with tens of thousands of Head Start programs, early childhood educators, young children, and families. It’s been an amazing few years, and we are very proud of  the resources and technical assistance we have provided free of cost to individuals across the country and even across the globe.

As we move forward in planning for our future here at HSBS, I took a few minutes to put together this promo slide show. As you can see, active play has been critical to the success of our program and re-energizing classrooms, outdoor play spaces, and teaching strategies across the country. 

I hope you will take a look, share it far and wide, and let me know what you think.

Playfully yours, Bethe

 

Blogger Bio: Bethe Almeras, MS, is the Center Director for Head Start Body Start. A long time educator and play advocate, she is passionate about outdoor play and connecting children with nature. In her free time Bethe writes a blog, The Grass Stain Guru, and can often be found playing outside. She is particularly fond of squirrels. And turtles. And sandpipers. And…

photo by: epSos.de

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Host a Water Olympics: 5 Activities to Get Kids Moving http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/07/06/host-a-water-olympics-5-activities-to-get-kids-moving/ http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/07/06/host-a-water-olympics-5-activities-to-get-kids-moving/#comments Fri, 06 Jul 2012 12:40:55 +0000 http://bodysmartblog.org/?p=1613

We’ve officially entered the dog days of summer, but that’s no reason to keep the kids inside — and sometimes a trip to the pool or a water park is not in the cards. But that’s OK, we’ve got some fun ideas that you can do in your backyard or driveway with just a few simple tools and one MAGIC ingredient — WATER! 

You can do this as a family event or invite other children and/or families from around the neighborhood.

What you’ll need:

  • buckets
  • sponges
  • cups
  • sprinkler and music (optional)

Water Olympics Events:

  1. The Great Wall Whack:  Work on throwing overhand for force – throw the wet sponges at the wall – the result will be wet tattoos all over the building surface.Work on making the tattoos high and low.
  2. Jumping Over Me:  Begin by getting your entire body wet. Lay down on the sidewalk or driveway to create a print of your body, before it dries practice jumping over yourself. How many times can you jump over yourself before your print dries?!
  3. The Great Water Run:  This game requires that the players each have a small plastic or paper cup full of water. The goal is to move as quickly as you can around the house (or a tree or the shed etc) while carrying the cup of water such that you end with some water still in the cup . For added fun, put a small hole in the cup so that water drips out . This will increase the need for moving quickly and heighten the fun factor!
  4. Sponge Balancing:  The player must stand on one foot and then the other while keeping the sponge in place. Try balancing the sponge on different boy parts – back, elbow, knee, foot. Be ready for the giggles!
  5. Sponge Obstacle Course:  Set up (or have the children set up!) an obstacle course. The object is to make it through the obstacle course with a wet sponge on your head. If the sponge falls off, the player has to stop and jump five (5) times before putting the sponge back on their head and continuing.

Top off your Water Olympics with a Sprinkler Dance Party! Don’t just run the sprinkler for the kids to run through – add some music to the mix and really get them moving. How would a whale dance? What about a monkey or a pelican? Bust out your best dance moves while everyone cools off!

Have fun! We would love to see pictures if you try this event. You can post them to our Facebook page. :-)

Playfully yours, Bethe

photo by: the paessels

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Wordless Wednesday: Meant to Be! http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/06/27/wordless-wednesday-meant-to-be/ http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/06/27/wordless-wednesday-meant-to-be/#comments Wed, 27 Jun 2012 13:17:25 +0000 http://bodysmartblog.org/?p=1615

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Wordless Wednesday: Take Me Outside! http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/05/30/wordless-wednesday-take-me-outside/ http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/05/30/wordless-wednesday-take-me-outside/#comments Wed, 30 May 2012 11:53:13 +0000 http://bodysmartblog.org/?p=1601

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Outdoor Play and Learning Get the Official Thumbs Up! http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/05/24/outdoor-play-and-learning-get-the-official-thumbs-up/ http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/05/24/outdoor-play-and-learning-get-the-official-thumbs-up/#comments Thu, 24 May 2012 13:40:10 +0000 http://bodysmartblog.org/?p=1589

Health benefits and opportunities for academic and social development are associated with well designed outdoor play spaces which promote play and interaction with natural elements. 

I’ve been of proponent of  nature-based education and play for twenty years, and for almost three years I have been bringing  nature to our programming and resources here at Head Start Body Start.

In this time I have seen firsthand many Head Start and Early Head Start programs start naturalizing their play spaces and make an effort to spend more time outdoors and really look at it as “the other classroom”. I can’t tell you how exciting that is!

But sometimes you need something a bit more official to spark change — to give people the feeling that they have permission to change the way they have been doing things. And I am happy to say, recently the Office of Head Start did just that.

“Teaching children about the natural world should be treated as one of the most important events in their lives.” – Thomas Berry

In April, the Nature Based Learning and Development (NBLD) work group that I am a part of had an amazing opportunity. We presented an entire NBLD track at the National Head Start Association (NHSA) Annual Conference, which included a half-day workshop and 15 sessions. We were so encouraged that NHSA recognized the importance of the topic, and were thrilled by the turnout for all the sessions.

We were also thrilled when the Office of Head Start Director, Yvette Sanchez Fuentes, made a video speaking about the importance of the topic. I cannot say enough about the official endorsement. It matters. A lot.

Having the need recognized and the benefits understood and celebrated from the very top is so powerful. To all of us in the trenches. To the parents and families. To the monitors and potential funders. To the children. Take a few minutes and watch the video. And please, share it

For more information and resources, visit the Nature Based Learning and Development page, which I have been lucky enough to work on over the past year.

And remember — Take it outside! 

Playfully yours ~ Bethe

 

Blogger Bio: Bethe Almeras, MS, is the Center Director for Head Start Body Start. A long time educator and play advocate, she is passionate about outdoor play and connecting children with nature. In her free time Bethe writes a blog, The Grass Stain Guru, and can often be found playing outside. She is particularly fond of squirrels. And turtles. And sandpipers. And…

 

 

photo by: HENRY SCOTT

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A Banner Week to Get Kids Active! http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/05/02/a-banner-week-to-get-kids-active/ http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/05/02/a-banner-week-to-get-kids-active/#comments Wed, 02 May 2012 13:15:19 +0000 http://bodysmartblog.org/?p=1564

Head Start children work on their throwing skills with HSBS Physical Activity Consultant, Terri Braun.

It’s official. It’s THE PERFECT TIME to rededicate yourself to getting the children in your world physically active!

Why this week

It’s Screen Free Week and National Physical Education Week!

What does physical activity and physical education look like in the early years? Active play, of course!

Through active play, young children learn the fundamental movement skills while also learning to enjoy moving their bodies. Focusing on active play versus screen time and other sedentary activities in the early years can help children develop the love of movement and set them on the path to a healthy lifestyle.

Visit HSBS for a variety of resources to help you incorporate movement across the curriculum. Educators will also find free online courses and webinars. Parents can download our Healthy Homes Activity Sheets and monthly Get Moving Today! Activity Calendars.

Work with or have older children? Visit the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) for activity ideas and resources.

So what are you waiting for?! It’s time to move, play, and learn!

To keep up on related news and events, look for the hashtags #ScreenFreeWk and #NatPEWeek across social media platforms. And don’t forget to let us know how you are celebrating.

Unplug and go play outdoors! ~ Bethe :-)  

Blogger Bio: Bethe Almeras, MS, is the Center Director for Head Start Body Start. A long time educator and play advocate, she is passionate about outdoor play and connecting children with nature. In her free time Bethe writes a blog, The Grass Stain Guru, and can often be found playing outside. She is particularly fond of squirrels. And turtles. And sandpipers. And…


 

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5 Reasons You Should Participate in Screen Free Week http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/04/04/5-reasons-you-should-participate-in-screen-free-week/ http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/04/04/5-reasons-you-should-participate-in-screen-free-week/#comments Wed, 04 Apr 2012 12:47:41 +0000 http://bodysmartblog.org/?p=1548

7.5 = number of hours of screen time school aged children experience daily

32 = number of hours of television preschoolers watch weekly

19 = percentage of infants one year and under with televisions in their rooms

25,000 = average number of television commercials a preschooler sees

Sometimes when you mention Screen Free Week to adults they get a little freaked out. But there is no need to freak out, folks. Screen Free in this case dose not mean you can’t work or attend to emails. Or that children cannot do schoolwork that requires a screen.

What this week and all of us that celebrate it want folks to do is take a step back from all recreational or leisure screen use for a week — TV, video games, iPhone apps, etc. If it doesn’t need to get done, we’re asking you to take it off the table for a week.

Why, you ask?

Good question! Here are a few reasons to ponder:

  1.  It’s no secret that most of us — and certainly children — spend too much time in front of screens. Screen time is associated with a host of health problems and behavior issues, including obesity, attention span issues, and sleep disturbances.
  2. For children, screen time is a barrier to creative, self-directed play.
  3. It’s indoors and predominantly inactive.  Today only 10% of children get outside on a daily basis. Outdoor play is associated with many health and learning benefits.
  4. It will give you the opportunity to connect more as a family. Try game night, a cookout, family walks, etc. Unplug and get connected!
  5. It will also give you time to really assess how much screen time you are spending and experience the benefits of a life less tethered to devices. How do you feel? Do you notice any difference in your child’s mood, behavior, or energy level?

So, join us and people across the globe April 30th – May 6th, 2012 for Screen Free Week! Visit the Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood to download your free Organizer’s Kit and get more information.

Good luck, and let us know what you have planned!

Unplug and go play outdoors! ~ Bethe

Blogger Bio: Bethe Almeras, MS, is the Center Director for Head Start Body Start. A long time educator and play advocate, she is passionate about outdoor play and connecting children with nature. In her free time Bethe writes a blog, The Grass Stain Guru, and can often be found playing outside. She is particularly fond of squirrels. And turtles. And sandpipers. And…

photo by: treehouse1977

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Waxing Creative with the Save Play Movement http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/03/15/waxing-creative-with-the-save-play-movement/ http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/03/15/waxing-creative-with-the-save-play-movement/#comments Thu, 15 Mar 2012 13:23:42 +0000 http://bodysmartblog.org/?p=1509

The movement to save play and return childhood to its magical, less harried roots continues to gain momentum. We’ve been so excited by the creativity that play advocates are using to spread the word!

Here are just a few of our favorites from around the web:

 

From Marghanita at the Let’s Go Outside Revolution .

From Peekaboo Beans™.

From Kari at Active Kids Club.

 

From Explorations Early Learning LLC.

From Jenny Kable at Let the Children Play.

From STIHL®.

From The Grass Stain Guru.

From Head Start Body Start.

Fun. Thought provoking. Colorful. Powerful. Everything a movement needs to gain speed and get people on board.

Don’t see your favorite here? Post the link in the comments section below! We love discovering more gems like the ones above.

Get involved. Speak up. Join the Save Play Movement.

Playfully yours, Bethe

Blogger Bio: Bethe Almeras, MS, is the Center Director for Head Start Body Start. A long time educator and play advocate, she is passionate about outdoor play and connecting children with nature. In her free time Bethe writes a blog, The Grass Stain Guru, and can often be found playing outside. She is particularly fond of squirrels. And turtles. And sandpipers. And…

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Bust a Move with Curious George! http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/03/07/bust-a-move-with-curious-george/ http://bodysmartblog.org/2012/03/07/bust-a-move-with-curious-george/#comments Wed, 07 Mar 2012 08:15:48 +0000 http://bodysmartblog.org/?p=1498

"Dance is the song of the body." ~ Martha Graham

We’re not monkeying around, the entry period for the Curious George Dance Contest has arrived! :-)

This season on PBS KIDS® Curious George is learning all about the arts, including dance. Dance is a great way for young children to express themselves, and a fun way to be physically active! Educators and parents are invited to enter a video of children dancing to the Curious George theme song for a chance to appear on a Curious George DVD and other great prizes!

How fun is that?!

Head Start Body Start is excited to partner with Curious George on this contest to encourage little movers nationwide! In fact, I get to be one of the judges. Sometimes I really love my job!



Click here to learn more about the contest and how you and your child can enter. You can also find lots of activities from Curious George and his friends at PBS KIDS®.

 

Have fun and happy dancing!

Playfully yours,  Bethe

Blogger Bio: Bethe Almeras, MS, is the HSBS Education & Outreach Director. A long time educator and play advocate, she is passionate about outdoor play and connecting children with nature. In her free time Bethe writes a blog, The Grass Stain Guru, and can often be found playing outside. She is particularly fond of squirrels. And turtles. And sandpipers. And…

Top photo credit: Michele Mojher Reyzer

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