Thursday, 30 July 2015

Getting outdoors


I am probably more aware than most parents of the importance of getting children outside. Having struggled for so long to get my older son out of the front door, I really appreciate the fact that he is now able to go out again. However, being indoors so much has undoubtedly taken its toll on his health and it's going to take time for him to rebuild his stamina and his stores of vitamin D.

This summer, my focus is on making sure the children have plenty of opportunities for outdoor play. It is important that Tom continues to go out regularly, so that he keeps practising overcoming his anxieties and for the general benefits of getting outside, including exercise and reduced stress. It's hard work, but I have been able to get the boys out most days, either on walks to our local playground or park, or further afield if my husband is around to take us in the car. We are mostly meeting the guidelines that children get at least one hour a day of physical exercise.

Our local playground is invaluable. I enjoy seeing how well Tom and Charlie get on together when they are messing around on the equipment or chasing each other.

There are lots of opportunities there for different kinds of exercise, such as climbing...


... balancing...

...and, of course, playing chase. Together, these provide aerobic and strength-building exercises, as well as improving flexibility. Children need this exercise to build strong muscles and bones.

The playground is also a sociable place:

Chatting with a friend on the swings

At least once a week, when the weather allows, we go on a trip further afield. So far, we have been on a walk to the Long Man of Wilmington and on to Alfriston for a pub lunch and also to the beach at Tidemills near Newhaven.

Skimming stones at the beach
Today, we went to Ashdown Forest, the place that inspired the tales of 'Winnie the Pooh' by A.A. Milne. We parked the car at Gill's Place and followed the walk that took us past Pooh's Enchanted Place. Charlie insisted on carrying a large stick with him for the entire walk. Perhaps it was Pooh's North Pole.

We ended up at the memorial stone commemorating A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard.

We had a lovely walk, with lots of opportunities to wander off the beaten track and explore the woods. Charlie was especially struck by the beautiful landscapes and stood for ages, admiring the view. He reminded me of Gandalf with his staff.

As the weather promises to be good for the next few days, we are looking forward to many more of these trips.

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