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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Category: Exercise & Food

Lunch isn’t Leo’s favorite meal of the day. To be truthful, Leo isn’t a voracious eater at any meal and he is a self-proclaimed “plant eater.” If Leo had his choice, I think he’d eat snacks all day long. I am sure you all know his type: a fly-by eater, small bites, and minimal meat. I don’t think of him as a “picky” eater but he does like to eat “pickies.”
Pickies is our family name for appetizers or finger foods. I often set out Pickies for dinner on family movie night or big sports events. We all pile on the couch and stuff our faces. I usually serve crackers and cheese, some sort of chip and dip, veggies and ranch, fruit kabobs, and chicken bites. Of course I get fancier depending on the event. I basically clean out the fridge and make it all look nice on platters. Pickies is Leo’s favorite dinner — and his requested birthday dinner.
When it came time to pack lunch for preschool, I was worried about Leo. He tends to eat slowly and hardly ever finishes a full sandwich. He likes to chat, use the potty, and stare into space while eating a meal. It takes a while. I had to come up with some creative ideas to get food in his tummy at school. I began making Pickies for lunch:
Here are some of the lunches we came up with:
Homemade Lunchables: My kids love these pre-made lunches, but they are full of salt, sugar and other fillers. I buy them every once in a while for a treat or while traveling, but we prefer to make our own. I save the real lunchable containers and fill it with crackers, turkey, and shredded cheese. I seal it up with plastic wrap.
Chicken Fingers: Leo has a thermos that he loves. I discovered that I can fit 3 or 4 hot chicken fingers in the thermos and they stay warm all day! (Duh.) I put ketchup in a small container and voila! It becomes a very special lunch. With fruit on the side, it makes the perfect meal.
**A Special Note About Ketchup: I have spent a lot of the last year researching the processed sugar content in foods because Henry is very sensitive to sugar. I had no idea how much sugar was in ketchup!! And ketchup is practically a food group in my house. I am not able to eliminate it completely, but I do buy organic ketchup because the sugar is less processed. And it isn’t that much more expensive. I buy the Trader Joe’s brand.
Fruit and Cheese Plate: Fancy, right? This meal is so very simple and Leo loves it. I pack a big bowl of fruit, a cheese stick, and crackers. For protein I send cashews. (Leo’s school was peanut free, but cashews were okay.)
Cheesy Roll-ups: Leo isn’t crazy about sandwiches, but he is willing to eat the inside of a sandwich. I roll up cheese and turkey or ham into long logs. Sometimes I cut them into wheels or I just leave them. As a treat, I sometimes add a soft sweet Hawaiian roll.
Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese: Leo will eat tomato soup and grilled cheese for any meal on any day. I love packing this lunch on a rainy day when I know they will be playing inside and this have more time to eat lunch. Soup goes in the thermos and I make a grilled cheese sandwich, chop it into little squares and wrap it in foil. It isn’t hot at lunch, but he doesn’t seem to care.
I don’t have time every day to make special lunches but I try. Never underestimate the power of the cookie cutter. Cookie cutters transform sandwiches from blah to WOW! For drinks, I tend to pack water. Sometimes, I send a juice box, but not every day. I fill a bigger sized cup and he can sip on it at lunch and then on the playground.
I love lunch containers, don’t you? I am always searching for the perfect little sectioned containers. I try and find containers the boys can open on their own, but I also know they have help from teachers and aids. I can’t say enough about our SnackTaxis. If you haven’t seen these before, you will love them. It is a snack bag made out of fabric, coated on the inside for easy cleaning. I have seen online tutorials for making them and I know there are several companies you can buy them from. I found SnackTaxi when Henry was a toddler.
Don’t forget about the power of a good breakfast! I love that Sid the Science Kid often shows the family sitting down to a hearty breakfast before school. I have to be purposeful about breakfast and make sure the boys load up before heading out. I could write a complete blog about breakfast alone!!
Finally, I try and remember the sage advice of my favorite family pediatrician: Children eat when they are hungry. If Leo comes home with an uneaten lunch, I don’t make a big deal out of it. I simply sit him down at 2pm and we eat. It doesn’t matter if he eats at 11am or 2pm, as long as he eats when he’s hungry. This was a hard lesson for me learn. I can always offer Leo a healthy snack and send him on his merry way.
Happy lunch packing! I would love to hear your lunch ideas! I am taking all my tricks up to Kindergarten, but I would love to have a few more! What kind of lunch makes your kids happy?

The two weeks of school at Leo’s preschool are akin to Senior Week in high school. They are up to silly antics and theme oriented days. The agenda includes, pajama day, water day, teddy bear picnic, mobile marine lab, and a hot dog lunch. The highlight for Leo, however, is Wacky Hair Day. We poofed out his golden locks and I spray painted his hair green. He was giddy with excitement. Henry got to come too, as the elementary school is already done for the year.
Wacky hair day also coincided with my last visit to Leo’s class as the “Science Mom.” I soon learned that ALL the kids were giddy with excitement. Thank goodness I had the perfect activity planned. I decided to modify the Move It activity and have the kids listen to their heartbeats.
First, I had the children try and find their heartbeats while at rest. We checked pulses, wrists, and chests. Partners used their hands to find a heartbeat. They took this job very seriously.
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We had a very interesting discussion about why a heart beats and the import job the heart has in your body. I love how they combine the literal and the figurative as we talked about blood, muscles, love, and friendship. A heart is a busy organ.
Then we did some stretching before I began the official dance party. I let my boys choose the song so I cranked up “I Got A Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas. Then we all started jumping and dancing and laughing and silliness ensued. (The pictures are blurry, but I love how they capture the joy of the dance.)
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When the music stopped, I can tell you, ALL of our hearts were beating fast. The kids had no problem at all finding their heart beats. As we caught our breath, I explained the importance of exercise and how good it is to get our hearts pumping and our bodies moving. The kids agreed whole-heartedly. So much so that we waited until our hearts had slowed down a bit and started the dance party all over again. They had such a blast. It was so funny to see them dance like crazy and stop to check their hearts and then ramp it up again. And most of them were singing at the top of their lungs too.
After the second round, the whole class decided to take a rest. The room was quiet for about 15 seconds.
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It was bittersweet to do this activity with Leo’s class. I love that I could adapt a Sid activity to meet the need of this group on a very exciting day. I would have loved to expand it and include the Bones investigation with the splints, but there wasn’t enough time. As the kids bounced around it struck me how much they resembled our friends on Sid the Science Kid: wacky hair, fun science learning, and children who cooperate together. I will miss this bunch!
Have you ever adapted a Sid activity or changed the way you do an investigation? I would love to hear about your ideas!

My little Leo turned 5 last week. I feel like we have stepped from babyhood to boyhood. Although he’s been out of diapers for over two years and he no longer asks me to pick him up, I could still squeeze his chunky legs and cuddle him at bedtime. This week Leo looks taller to me and not as squishy. We still have lots of cuddles (thank goodness) but I see the Kindergartener in him. Tall, confident, talkative, and a little more defiant than the 4 year old I knew. It is all good news, it is all natural, and I am proud of him.
But I couldn’t resist the urge to throw him a good, old-fashioned birthday party. Leo requested a pool party at our community pool and I was more than happy to plan it. I love planning birthday parties. I spent hours on Pinterest, on birthday websites, in party stores, and at Target (of course.) We invited Leo’s buddies from school and planned it all for a Friday afternoon. Siblings were welcome. We invited 16 children in all. Then I thought about it: 16 kids swimming in a pool, under my supervision. Uh oh.
The best money I spent for Leo’s party was on a certified lifeguard. I found her through a friend and it was well worth the expense. Her only job was to watch the kids in the water and it allowed me to throw the party and the other moms to relax a bit and enjoy what I put together. The lifeguard is also a swim instructor and she happily agreed to talk with the kids about pool safety.
Water safety is a big deal out here in California year-round. Many homes and communities have pools, there are plenty of vacation areas with lakes, and of course, the Pacific Ocean is in our backyard. Drowning is a huge concern for children’s safety out and it is imperative to me that Henry and Leo learned how to swim. We took lessons last summer and the focus was on floating and treading water. More money well spent.
For Leo’s pool party, the lifeguard waited until all the guests had arrived and the kids were in the pool to give them her talk.
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She had three main rules:
1. No running and jumping into the pool.
2. No pushing or jumping on your friends.
3. No swimming in the deep end.
It was hard to keep the swimmers’ attention but Leo did offer to demonstrate a dead man’s float to illustrate drowning. I have to admit, I did not enjoy watching my little man float around on his belly. I prefer the new term for that kind of float: the jellyfish float.
Surprisingly, there were no mishaps that afternoon. Everyone got along and no injuries were reported. The lifeguard sat on the steps of the pool for two hours and then we all had cake. It was wonderful. We all felt safe and relaxed. Summer has arrived! One look at Leo at the end of the afternoon confirms it:
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What rules do you have in your family for swimming safety? Do you children take swimming lessons?

I really shouldn’t be too surprised anymore when the Sid the Science Sid weekly topic parallels my life as a mom. I think we can all relate to teaching our children about the functions of our lungs, heart, bones, and stomach. As parents, we see those body parts as the heart, breath, limbs, and health of our children. And I mean that literally and metaphorically. I want Henry and Leo to understand how precious their organs and body systems are. I want them to make the connections between exercise and nutrition to their hearts, lungs, bones, and bodies. We’ve begun learning by watching Sid the Science Kid and completing all of the investigations in this cycle. As always, the activities are fun and informative.
But it’s not enough. I believe that it is my job as a parent to model the behaviors I want Henry and Leo to carry through life. Believe me, I am a work in progress. But I have made some recent changes that I hope will be positive. And they happen to fall in line with this week’s topics about the body…just in time for Mother’s Day!
Lungs
I bought a new pair of sneakers. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but I had Henry with me. We went on a “date” to buy him new sneakers. Henry blows through sneakers faster than his feet grow, but I don’t mind. He is in constant motion. Leo is the runner in the family, with dreams of taking off on his own someday to “have a run around the neighborhood.” I haven’t bought a new pair of sneakers in six years. And one of my favorite phrases has always been “I only run when I am being chased.” But when Henry and I were at the New Balance outlet (love these shoes for kids) I decided to do some positive modeling and get myself a pair of sneakers. Pink ones.
The next day I found myself at the park with the boys in my new pink kicks. And I wanted to run. I ran all around with the boys until I thought my lungs would burst. Henry and Leo laughed and laughed. That night when we talked about the day, my boys were grateful for ME and for playing at the park. Totally worth the price of a pair of sneakers.
Muscles
So, now I have a new pair of sneakers and lungs that are out of shape. In search of help I called a friend who is an EMT and a firefighter. Basically, I called a friend who is in shape. She asked me to think of one form of exercise from my life that I enjoyed. No matter what age. That was easy…I like to swim. I used to swim at the community pool on a team from ages 10 to 14. I swam a lot and I loved it. With that revelation, I got a membership at the gym with a big pool. Just like that.
I have been swimming 3 times. It is quiet and cool and totally alone. Afterwards my muscles ache. My muscles ache in a way that they haven’t in many many years. It is a familiar pain that doesn’t bother me. I want to feel stronger and I want to make my muscles work. The payoff comes with the boys. Henry and Leo are impressed by the gym and the Olympic sized pool. They like my new goggles and ask when I am going again. I am modeling for them and it feels good.
Bones
I am in my 40s and I need to think about my bones. The boys are both having “growing pains” that keep them up at night in tears. I feel awful for them but I am also in awe of the way the human body is constructed. They are literally growing right before my eyes. Yesterday Leo asked me “Mommy, how tall will you be when you are finished growing?” The question took me aback with its simplicity. I explained that my bones were done growing but that someday he would be taller than me. Leo was astounded. Then, I explained that even though my bones weren’t growing, I needed to care for my bones and my joints by eating the right kinds of foods and exercising. I also told Leo that we never ever stop growing in our hearts, even if our bones don’t get longer. My wise boy seemed to get that.
Digestion
I have written a lot about nutrition on this blog but I haven’t shared our latest challenge as a family. I believe, based on observation, charting, and dietary tracking, that Henry is highly sensitive to processed sugar. Sugar deeply affects Henry’s mood, ability to focus, and impulse control. So, I am committed to eliminating as much sugar as I can from his diet. Or should I say OUR FAMILY’S diet. It can only benefit us all if we work together to help Henry and model the behavior we want him to learn. Some of us really like sweets (DAD) and chocolate (MOM). It is a sacrifice to give a lot of it up. But Henry understands how the body uses the foods we put into our digestive system. I have a concrete way to explain our lifestyle change via Sid and he seems to be okay with it … for now. But as a mom, I have never felt more sure about something I can do to help my child be successful.
The least I can do in honor of Mother’s Day is to take better care of my children’s only mom: ME. I am blessed with two amazing boys and every day they model for me the kind of person I want to be when I grow up.
Happy Mother’s Day!
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For years I have wanted to plant a vegetable garden. I have romantic notions about seedlings, planting, growing, and picking my own salad. Back in Massachusetts I tried a couple of times to grow herbs and lettuce but it was a disaster, to say the least. It seems so easy in my mind, but once I get to the garden center I am overwhelmed and leave with my hands empty.
This year, I have resolved to try again. First of all, I live in a region of California where food actually comes from and farmer’s markets abound. My friend and neighbor Jennifer grew beautiful tomatoes in pots last summer. She was generous with her bounty but I was envious. (Full disclosure: Jennifer can make anything grow and her garden is stunning.) Seriously, I surely should be able to manage container gardening, right?
Another reason is for the boys. Not only is gardening a fun activity to do as a family, but the nutritional rewards are huge. Henry doesn’t like tomatoes in their true form (he is a huge fan of ketchup) but maybe he will change his mind if he grows and picks his own tomatoes. Over the past few months I have been intrigued by the clean eating movement. Basically, the idea is to only eat foods that you make yourself from real food. No packages, no processing. I love the idea but I am scared by the commitment. It would be better for the boys but more work for me. Just writing that sentence makes me feel like a slacker…but a food garden should get me going in the right direction!
So, this weekend I dove into the world of container tomato gardening. And it was easy! Leo and I went over to the local garden center. He picked out three kinds of organic tomatoes: cherry, big boy golden, and purple heirloom. Leo loves tomatoes and he is totally on board. In fact, I believe Leo is on his way to becoming a vegetarian so I am truly giving him a valuable life skill. We made our purchases, bought pots and drove home.
The next day, Leo, Henry, and I began our project. (Dad was out at an e-cycling event getting rid of an old TV.) Just like on Sid the Science Kid we talked about what plants need to grow. We designated a sunny spot in the side yard, near a water hose. Then we got dirty. We dumped a whole bag of dirt into the pot. Leo and I dug a hole and put the first plant in. Leo got the coveted job of watering the first plant.
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Then, we were stumped. No more dirt! Thank goodness for good neighbors. Jennifer came to our rescue with dirt and tomato cages. (Who knew?!) After a detour across the street Henry watered the second plant.
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Our cherry tomatoes came prepotted with a cage and there are even some tomatoes ripening on the vine. I am hoping that this plant yields first and gets the excitement building as we wait for the other two plants. We also have two strawberry buckets (gifted from Jennifer) and a little lemon tree. Jennifer had a great idea about planting a salsa garden with peppers and cilantro or a pasta sauce garden with herbs to compliment the tomatoes. I think the boys would love that. Maybe I can plant my salad garden after all.
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I like it when Sid activities connect with all kinds of science concepts from the show. This planting activity is from the Environment and Habitat cycle but I easily made connections to the Health cycle with nutrition. I even reminded the boys about germs and hand washing from the activity about dirt and germs. We have enjoyed so many investigations from our time with Sid and it feels great to connect to the boys’ prior knowledge as we conduct new investigations.
I will keep you updated on our little garden. How does your garden grow? Do you have any gardening advice for me? Believe me, I would love to hear it!

I can’t help but notice a shift happening as we head towards the spring season. There are flowers on the trees and the wet mornings a little less chilly. We are definitely feeling the effects of the time change over the weekend. At seven in the evening the boys observed the twilight sky from the car windows with wonder. “Is it night or day?” they asked. I love that question because it is neither night nor day. It is the magical time of the day that harkens to evening baseball games and picnics on the beach in July. Spring makes summer feel closer, right?
Henry and Leo were chatting in their beds well past nine o’clock on last night. Another time change side effect. I tried to be stern about quiet in the bedroom but it is so sweet to hear them chatting away in whispers. It fulfills a dream I have for them as brothers and best friends. But this morning was decidedly groggy.
Little league season has started. Morning games are chilly and afternoon games are hot. What a happy sign of spring! Baseball is full of science learning around physics, speed, and nutrition. Yes, nutrition. I am trying to teach Henry and Leo about correctly fueling their little bodies for sports. We are learning how to read labels and count our sugar intake. We are drinking lots of water and eating protein before practice and games. Henry, especially, needs to fuel up or he crashes (literally) mid-game and plops down on the grass in the infield. Both boys love baseball (so far) and the exercise is much needed after a quiet winter.
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The season of birthday parties has also begun. Outside birthday parties are a clear sign to me that folks are willing to risk the elements in the hopes that spring provides sunny and clear days for celebrating. We got lucky this weekend! And the party was a science party! We were treated to a reptile show in the backyard of Leo’s school buddy. It was so much fun! In the hour-long show the kids were introduced to scorpions, spiders, snakes, lizards, and frogs of all sizes. While the show was entertaining, it was also full of great science facts about the animals: what they eat, where they are from, how they hunt, how the protect themselves from predators. The kids were riveted and I was impressed. And what 4-year-old boy wouldn’t be thrilled by a ride on a tortoise?
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On a Sid note: I overheard Leo talking with his friend Devon about friction the other morning. He said, “These socks have friction. I need to change.” And then Leo charged upstairs to change his treaded socks to ones without treads on the bottom. He also brought down a pair of socks for his barefoot friend. And then they started sliding all over the place. I love that for Leo, friction is a noun. Things have friction or they don’t. I couldn’t resist jumping into their fun and asking all sorts of questions about friction. I was informed that the sliding wouldn’t work on the carpet (duh mom!) or without shoes or with socks that have bumps on them. I tried to take a clear action shot of the sliding…but the boys were just too fast!
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Spring inspires me to plan new science activities and explorations for us. In April we have new Sid the Science Kid Easter episode to look forward to. I am excited to explore a new science museum on our trip to San Francisco over spring break in a couple of weeks. There is something to be said for spring cleaning: open the windows, put on some shorts, and start adventuring!
Do you have any spring activities planned? How can you bring more science into your springtime?

Last week we had a string of rainy days with lower than usual temps. Henry’s elementary school held recess inside and Leo couldn’t play on the playground at preschool. We spent the afternoons inside playing with toys and watching TV. I love a rainy afternoon every once in a while. The weather here is so wonderful on a regular basis that I often feel guilty staying inside instead of going to the park or taking a bike ride. But, after two or three days in a row cabin fever sets in, the sparks between brothers fly, and tensions flair.
I was so happy on the third day to see the sun peeking though the clouds after school. I had a pile of work to do in my office and another pile in the laundry room and the boys were bickering over something silly. Time to change the dynamic. So I made a decree:
“We are going out to get some air. We are taking a walk. NOW!”
The boys seemed surprised but happily put on coats and sneakers. We tromped outside and stood in the driveway. After a short discussion we decided to take the “long” way to the park and explore along the way.
As we set out, Henry immediately jumped into the beautifully landscaped area that runs alongside the sidewalks in our community. I tried calling him out but when he said “But mom, I am exploring! You never know what I will find,” I didn’t have the heart to follow through. He was making up his own nature walk in the middle of our tame, planned, manicured neighborhood. I have to admire that.
Henry was tracking along a cinderblock wall and came upon a huge root. It was growing from an enormous tree on the opposite side of the wall. We stopped to talk about the root and how it managed to thrive, despite the man made wall in its way. Leo was particularly impressed and examined the big root for long time.
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Further down the sidewalk, we noticed that the landscapers had been cutting back bushes. Henry and Leo were very interested in the trunks and smooth planes left behind. We talked about how the cuts looked fresh and new. I explained that sometimes we cut bushes to help them grow better. It was fun for them to touch and see the results.
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Then Henry found this specimen and he was really really excited. Where did the holes come from? I really have no idea but we hypothesized that perhaps it was bugs in the tree. I tend to agree.
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Leo started collecting interesting seedpods as we wandered along. There were so many different varieties. Whenever we picked something interesting up, we would look above our heads to figure out which tree had dropped the treasure. Each specimen has it’s own features and cool details. Some were fuzzy, other spiky, one looked like corn in a soft pod. The seeds gave us a chance to talk about how trees deliver their seeds and how the seeds are often protected by a hard shell or husk.
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Both boys made unforgettable observations. First, Henry stated wisely that we were on a Nature Walk Walk and that we did not have the proper tools.
“Next time, mom,” he said, “we need a magnifying glass, a bucket, and a picker up thing. Let’s do this every week and see how the walk changes.”
I swear to you, he actually said that. I have a science kid!!!
Leo’s thoughts were more abstract. When we were examining a hole in the sidewalk Leo put his fingers in the dirt and said:
“Now I know what it looks like under the sidewalk.”
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I smiled and smiled that afternoon. I felt really good about my decision to get outside for some air. I loved that the boys led the expedition and they were the science observers. I just went along for the walk.

The most challenging time of day for me as a mom is the very end of the day. Fondly know around here as “the witching hour.” At our house, the witching hour is that short span of time between dinner and bedtime. I am usually at wits ends, waiting for my husband to get home, with my tank of patience running on fumes. Henry and Leo are more combative, whiney, and contentious this time of day. And I tend to handle it less than maturely. However, on the days when I can gather enough brainpower to be proactive instead reactive, there is one activity that always seems to bring happiness and joy to our wilted troops.
Dance party! We dance wildly around the living room and the dining room. The boys bust out their signature moves and we always end up on the floor laughing. Leo is famous for his break dancing and Henry does a spot-on robot. The joy is infectious and it is impossible to be cranky. Sometimes I turn on the music and get the “Oh, mom…” looks from the boys but they always end up dancing right along with me. I’m never self conscious with them and I think it’s wonderful for them to see me letting loose. It’s our happy time.
Over time I have created a play list on the iPad specifically designed to get my boys moving and shaking. A lot of the songs come from music we hear on the radio as we drive around town. (Am I the only one who still listens to the radio?) Leo really likes classic rock and 80’s music while Henry enjoys current techno-pop (is it called that anymore?) music. Last week in the car Leo asked me to get the Bee Gees on my iPad. Yes! The boy knows a good tune when he hears them. Wait until I unleash ABBA on them. And never underestimate the power of Kid Bopz. There, I said it.
Dance party is quite a work out for all of us. We literally dance the last of the day’s yayas out. My kids need that last burst of energy at the end of the day and I find that our bedtime routine is smoother on dance party nights. That goes the same for the nights we have family walks or Friday night swim night. The exercise is so important as way for the boys to get out emotions and settle down for the night. It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s true for us.
I also think that there’s a bonding component too. Sometimes I start up dance party in the middle of washing dishes or folding clothes. There is a spontaneity to it that delights Henry and Leo. They will ask, “Mommy, you want to dance right now?” And I joyfully reply, “Yes!” I think they feel like we are breaking some sort of norm or behaving out of routine. My boys love it. And I love feeling like I am creating memories — joyful ones at that.
And yes, I need the workout too. Sid tells us to “Get Up and Move!” What are some of the exercise secrets in your house? How do your kids get their yayas out?

Happy 2012! I have been reading a lot of blogs this week all about New Years resolutions. As a concept, I have nothing against resolutions. I think it’s a good idea to “clean house” and set some goals for the future. My goals don’t change much year to year. Be healthy, move more, work on being a better mom, and eat a few more green leafy veggies. These are things I always work on and I don’t need the turning of a year to remind me. Usually.
This year, however, I realized that once again, I have an opportunity to model some healthy behaviors for Henry and Leo. I decided to voice a healthy resolution and the get the kids on board with helping the family make it happen. It’s simple, it’s affordable, it’s fun, and it’s something we all like to do: bicycle riding!
When I was a preteen my bike was my constant companion in the summertime. My bike afforded me freedom, exploration, and solitude. Our house was near an enormous reservoir and I loved riding along the shore road. It had huge hills, rambling orchards, horse stables, and few cars. I dreamed a lot on those bike rides…mostly about owning a horse and writing novels someday. It was quiet and flying down the steep hills was thrilling. I was young and strong…exercise was a bonus I never thought about. It was splendid.
Somewhere along the line, I stopped riding my bike. Who knows why, but we all have our stories about leaving childhood behind. When I turned 30 I lived in Boston and my parents bought me a wonderful city bike. I rediscovered the joy of biking, this time along the Charles River. But it wasn’t as easy or as freeing…exercise hurt more and I was somewhat resentful of my bike. I was tired and felt far from free. I lent the bike away and only got it back when we moved to California a few years later.
And here I am, with two active boys who want to be outside all the time. They want to explore and be free. Henry and Leo just want to move. They are naturally healthy and naturally strong. It is time for me to find the bicycle mojo again. There’s no excuse because I actually like being on a bike. That feeling of freedom as you fly down the road does not disappear with age. And I want my kids to know that freedom.
Over the past 10 years many communities around the United States have invested in creating safe family bike trails along old railway lines, beach paths, and scenic town roads. From Cape Cod to Ventura Beach there are thousands of choices. Of course, the boys can’t go off on their own to explore the town, but we can find new places together. But I can let them ride ahead a little bit and experience the feeling of an empty road ahead with the ocean at their side. The wind, the air, and the views are enough to make anyone, child or adult, feel free.
And of course, we will be exercising as a family. As I said above, and have written about many times, modeling is the best kind of education for my preschoolers. Henry and Leo want to be with Gerry and I all the time and they look to us for tool to how to live a healthy life. Someday, they will be preteens and, just like me, they will search for some solitude along with their freedom. Until then, I will hop on my bike and ride the adventures with them. And we call all feel healthy and free together.
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What healthy resolutions have you made? What tips can you share about modeling healthy behaviors for your preschoolers?

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    The Benefits of Gardening With Kids

    Don’t let the idea overwhelm you. A few containers and soil in a sunny spot will do.


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