If your kids are anything like ours, they always want to move. We try to encourage it as much as possible. This being Calgary and it being “only” May, it ended up snowing and then raining and then snowing and being miserable all day yesterday. (Today the sun is out, because, Canada.) Of course, that was the night Hunter wanted to go for an after-dinner walk. Although none of us were up for it, we did set up an impromptu floor hockey match in the basement. We live in a townhouse where the levels are split up by stairs and it has four levels. In the bottom level, the basement, we have split the area in to two and one side is the TV area and computer desk, the other side is where we left the floor as bare as possible and this is where we play games that take up a bit of space or do our workouts.
The floor hockey game was full of shouting and the kids being put in the “penalty box” (the stairs) for things like high sticking. It was fun. Tonight, since the weather has cleared, we may go for the walk after dinner. Or, if we can convince him it’s safe, take Hunter out biking with his sister.
We don’t have a yard, so I can’t kick the kids out to play like my parents used to, or set up permanent forts in our backyard. We have a bit of green space in the front, but I would rather set up games in the basement or take the kids to a park. Our family is fortunate to live next to a huge green space called “Nose Hill Park” that helps out wildlife and is a great place to go and explore or fly a kite. It’s a great expanse of small rolling hills, rocks to climb, paths and small patches of trees. When I go there I feel as if I have escaped the city and could roam forever. I have seen deer there and the kids love to identify the flowers that grow there. It is where we used to go for walks to ease the pain in my legs when I was pregnant and where I got engaged. It should be boring, as it is flat and not thick forest, but it doesn’t. I feel relaxed there. I have seen deer in the park on evenings I am driving past it and have even heard a couple of coyotes howl in the deepest parts of it. Once we even spotted a porcupine hiding in the low branches of a tree. We are always left alone during the day when we walk there and I have never heard of anyone; dog, human or child, being attacked or approached there. It is safe but wild and it is a great benefit to the city. There is a lot of room, so it is a great place to take the kids exploring there. We let them choose the path and they pretend they are adventurers. Simplest kind of exercise, and yet they learn so much.
There are so many good parks and spaces here in Calgary, Alberta. I love so many of them. There is a lot of space in Heritage Park as well, which allows the kids to explore the past and also to run and play their little hearts out.
Lately, Isabella has been very interested in becoming stronger and fitness. She is doing the physio stretches the doctor gave her after her buckle fracture in her arm healed. Izzy is always climbing and running. She has discovered Milla Bizzotto on the internet and now has added push-ups, sit-ups and burpees to her daily routine. Isabella, ever since she was born but especially now at 7 years old, has a very tenacious spirit and is obsessive in her interests (in a good way), so I am sure this healthy interest in the very strong 9 year old, Milla, will only do her good. Sometimes the kids do my workouts with me and we do arm curls, sumo squats and burpees together. It’s fun to show them new moves and, as I teach them, it is a good reminder what proper posture should be during each exercise. Are your hips square? Back straight? They find it interesting and fun. Sometimes, we do my workout DVDs together. My Kathy Smith Belly Dance routine or Tara Stiles Yoga.
Here in Calgary, the school system has set up an account with Go Noodle, which is an online exercise program for kids (although parents can join in and my kids always want us to), and features yoga, aerobics, dance, meditation, coordination movements and Zumba. My kids adore it, especially the silly rhymes and dances, the sillier the better. You may be able to set up a free account without having to go through your school and I recommend it. I often put it on during days when we are snowed in and going stir crazy, or even if I just need my kids occupied while I make dinner. They take turns choosing and Izzy does all the clicking with the mouse. That kid is going to be WAY better at computers than me by the time she hits Grade 4.
This summer we purposefully planned very few road trips. I want to discover my city in summer. Normally, we are gone for a large part of it. This year the kids and I are going to fall in love with our city all over again. Izzy wants to master two consecutive rounds on the monkey bars, and I want to be able to do four pull-ups on the playground equipment. Hunter wants to play soccer with his dad in the field. So we plan to be out a lot, exercising as play. There is also gardening with a friend, a sort of workout in itself. Another goal is to rediscover all of the great parks here. We have so many and it’s been a long time since we have gone to a few of them! So stay tuned for posts on all of that.
Dreaming of summer nights…..have a good weekend!