Monday, August 1, 2016

Outdoors, You Make It Fun!

We always lament how kids our kids are glued to their electronic screens, in air-conditioned rooms no less. But as parents, we really can do our part in active parenting by not letting these devices take over our responsibilities. It is definitely a big difference these days, as compared to my own childhood. Perhaps it was because I am the 4th child in the family of all boys – my parents were more relaxed with me going out to play all day long after school. I could go down the canals to catch longkang fishes or roam the forests of Mount Faber in search of that elusive spider or snake with my neighborhood friends. I would be fine, as long as I came back in time for dinner! And all that happened, while I was in lower primary.

How often does one allow the kiddos to dip into a stream or canal these days? We do!
Fast forward to present, where I now have my own children. Society has changed and I can almost imagine the weird looks I’d get from others if I were to allow my kiddos to do the same. I am apprehensive of allowing the kiddos to roam the streets on their own as well. I used to live near Mount Faber last time, it was more of exploring nature and playing with friends but it is all shopping malls and concrete jungles now. Leaving the kiddos to their own (electronic) devices after school may benefit them, in terms of perhaps word recognition, general knowledge or basically just whiling away time. But I really wouldn't want the kiddos to only have dexterous fingers, while the rest of their muscles waste away! Besides, have you noticed how kids these days are so reliant on the aircon? It is almost as if they will melt under the sun like butter! I know, because even though I my kiddos out on a regular basis, they still request to turn on the aircon in the living room at times. Maybe global warming made a difference too?

We make it a point to bring the kiddos out whenever we can, even though the mind usually tell the body to rest over the weekends but the heart says otherwise. We bring our kiddos swimming since they were mere babies, and believe that the earlier we expose the babies to water, the easier it would be for them to adapt and be water-confident. There’s no need to be living in a condo with a swimming pool or an expensive gym membership to swim regularly. In fact all Singaporeans get $100 credit once you sign up for ActiveSG that you can use for the pools, even for the kiddos and that is $600 for my whole family! Now imagine how long it will take for us to fully utilize the credit, by going to our favorite Ang Mo Kio public swimming pool, which also happens to be within a short walking distance!

My kiddos were all “thrown” into the waters since they were babies. Here’s Leroy in the waters at 6mths.
We also live near Ang Mo Kio - Bishan Park, which makes it a great (and free) place for the family to visit, whether planned or impromptu! The place is huge and has quite a number of playgrounds, including a wet play area! Besides getting a good dose of vitamin D from the sun, the kiddos also  get to learn a lot about the different varieties of plants and animals found there! Take a slow walk and discover butterflies and beautiful bugs amongst the foliage, or the kids can zoom about in their scooters too. Spot the squirrel or even get to meet the famous otter family if you are in luck. The walk to the park provides the much needed exercise for the whole family, and the thought of getting to the playgrounds usually keeps the kiddos going without too much of a complaint. Except when it gets too hot during mid-day of course, for which they would all get a little cranky!

Get the kiddos exposed to sand play. I don’t know about you but it gets a little getting used to for my younger kiddos. I think they were terrified actually!
Getting a dip in the wet play area is simply refreshing, after a whole day of play in the sand and sun
Outdoor play benefits the kiddos much, as they learn so much more about our surroundings through real contact, as compared to via a screen. Every visit is a different learning experience for them, and you can even make it more fun! Just check out how you can do so here!

Note: This blog post is in collaboration with Friso. Kids learn from experiences whether big or small, good or bad. That’s why Friso provides the right nutrition for your child to be strong inside to take on challenges. For more information on Friso, follow them on their Website, Facebook or Instagram.

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