Kids, Parenting

Fun and Physical Backyard Activities for Kids

We all couldn’t wait for winter to pass so we could enjoy the nice weather and outdoor backyard activities. However, it looks like our winter isolation will now be extended due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), which has forced families around the globe to self-isolate for their own safety. 

Though a lot of us are having to spend more time indoors, that doesn’t mean our health should suffer. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, children that are older than six need at least one hour of physical activity daily. And for a child’s optimal development of physical and mental health, three days of vigorous exercise weekly is needed.

So, if you are wondering how to achieve this but remain safe, we have the answers! Here are some of the most interesting and imaginative physical activities you can get your kids stuck into in the safeness of your backyard.

Fun and Physical Backyard Activities for Kids
Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash
  1. Get green fingers!

Spring is a time where everything blossoms, so why not get gardening with your children? They will feel mature when you trust them with digging, watering or raking the earth and you can teach them that with love and patience they can cultivate their own garden!

  1. Play soccer

Incorporating physical activity gives a foundation for a healthy life. Your backyard soccer does not have to be all discipline and strict rules. You can just relax and let your children enjoy themselves while practicing how to dribble, pass or make a shot!

  1. Make a treehouse or playhouse

Investigate your basement or garage for useful supplies (that’s you – not the kids)! Anything from screws, planks, ribbons, blankets and hardware materials can come in handy while making a treehouse with your children. Once built, they can enjoy tea parties, play hide and seek or even have a sleepover during the summer. Of course, if this sounds like too much effort – and mess! – there are some lovely outdoor playhouses available online too. Everyone will enjoy it, and your children will be the most popular kids in the neighborhood! 

  1. Make a sandpit 

A couple of clicks on Amazon and you can order some sand to make a sandbox! Choose one corner of your backyard for this activity and let your children be led by imagination as they discover and mold like little sculptors. They can make sand sculptures, castles, battlefields, or even recreate the surface of the moon. 

Photo by Ostap Senyuk on Unsplash
  1. Play catch

Play as old as time and yet so simple and with so many possibilities! From football to frisbees and boomerangs, the whole backyard is yours to cover! Why not get the pets involved too? They’re likely also feeling a little unsettled in the current climate, so engaging them both physically and mentally in a game of catch or tug-of-war will do wonders for their mental health.

  1. Put pedal to metal

If you have a lot of land, now is the time to use it! Motorized bikes, such as kids ATVs, are great for children who want to have fun and be free! There are many sizes according to the age of your child, and all that is left to do is to provide them with protective gear such as helmets and pads!

  1. Make a theater stage

Kids love to play out things, and when we say love, we mean they ADORE it! So, make a small improvised stage and let your children come up with a play or a musical and act it out for you! 

  1. Outdoor easel

Kids love to draw with chalk and will go wild if they see they can draw in their backyard on a board with no rules. You can make your own chalkboard or if you have an old one, even better! The children will be happy, and you do not have to clean the chalk dust afterward! 

Related: What You Should Know About The Most Fun Trampolines

Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash
  1. Put skates into action

Including wheels into children’s playing routine is always an appealing idea! If you have protective gear for your kids and flat ground, why not whip out the inline skates, roller blades or their bike? And if you want to get into some physical activity yourself, you can also put on some skates and ride next to them! Being involved with children’s play is just as important as the act itself!

Being physically active is important for everyone, especially children. Even in times like these, you can easily keep your little ones off their phones, tablets, and computers. Being isolated is no reason to be bored and helpless. Use your imagination and our ideas for activities to keep you and your loved ones entertained! 

Education, Parenting

Try These Tricks to Encourage Your Kids to Love Music

Studies indicate that learning music improves your child’s cognitive skills and academic performance. However, getting your child to learn how to play a musical instrument or enroll in a music class isn’t always a walk in the park. 

Don’t get me wrong- there are days that your little one will be extremely excited to attend their piano lessons. But on other days, it will be a nightmare to convince them to practice for even ten minutes. So, how can you encourage your child to love music without endless fights?  

Here are some expert tips that can help encourage your kids to love music positively.  But, before we get right into it, let’s look at why music is so essential for children.

Photo by Paige Cody on Unsplash

Benefits of Music to Children

Your child is most likely a big fan of music, which is good as it is beneficial to them in the following ways:

Music helps in auditory and speech recognition – Listening to music helps your child develop language skills. Music Groupies state that music mirrors the tempo, timbre, and pitch of our daily speech, which gives your child the practice they need to comprehend speech and language.

Improves their communication skills – When your child is listening to music, they learn how to pick out notes and rhythms, making it easier for them to read and identify sounds. Children who are encouraged to sing and repeat simple songs gain skills that are necessary for language development and effective communication. Your child also learns the art of communication by observing your facial expression as you sing to them.

Helps in regulating emotions – Music helps your child relax, and it’s even used to soothe babies to sleep. For children who have experienced trauma, music can help regulate their emotions. Besides, the different sounds that we make as we sing helps children learn about different emotions.

Helps build the brain of babies born prematurely – Music that is specifically composed for preemies helps them form essential brain connections. Moreover, such music improves the babies’ health by enhancing their oxygen saturation, heartbeat regulation, increased weight gain, and improving their sleep. It also strengthens the bond you have with your child, which can reduce your anxiety as a mother.

Improves your child’s cognitive skills – studies indicate that music improves your child’s logical reasoning, allows them to gain complex problem-solving skills, and also develops their memory systems. 

Notably, even toddlers do recognize parts of a song if they hear that particular song repeatedly.

Improves your child’s mood – Music can lift a child’s spirit. From ancient times, music has been used to soothe babies to sleep due to its calming effect. 

Improves your child’s coordination – You’ll notice that your little one who may not understand a song’s lyrics can move to the rhythm of a beat. Music encourages your child to move and develops their motor skills. If your child loves a particular song, you may notice that they jump up and down when the song is played. This movement enhances their balance, strength, and develops their muscles.

Read More: The Musical Adventures of Grace – Children’s Book to Appreciate Music

Ways You Can Use To Encourage Your Child to Love Music

Now that you know why music is so important for your kids, let’s look at ways you can use to motivate them to take that musical instrument and practice.

Listen To Music with Them

Listening to music with your kids is the first step towards nurturing their interest in music. Most celebrated musicians today admit that they grew up listening to some music at home. 

Ensure you listen to music with your child even when doing house chores, driving, or doing other routine activities. You can also use music to refocus your child’s energy. For instance, playing a certain song may alert your child that it’s dinner time or time for an afternoon nap. While at it, let your child know the instruments playing or the genre of music they are listening to. 

Photo by Felix Koutchinski on Unsplash

Enroll Your Kid in a Music Class

If your child shows interest in music or wants to learn to play a certain instrument, enroll them in a music class. If you’re in quarantine, there are some great online music classes available too. Music classes help develop your child’s artistic abilities. Further, music teachers have a unique way of ensuring that your child develops a meaningful relationship with music.

While looking for the right lessons, ensure you get the right teacher for your child. One who connects with them and understands their learning style as such a teacher can be their mentor and help nurture their talent. 

Sing To Your Child

Singing with or to your child is a great way to increase their motivation and interest. Becoming part of the music process helps your child gain an interest in music.

If you sing or play a musical instrument, do it while your child is watching and listening. Your child will want to imitate you, and you can help them learn to play the instrument.

Incorporate Music in Play

Making music part of your child’s play helps them learn that music can be fun. It also allows them to experiment. Here are a few ways you can make music part of playtime:

  • Get creative and make simple musical instruments and have a jam session with your kids
  • Have each person write a song on a strip of paper and put the papers in a basket, let each person draw a paper and sing the song written on it
  • Let your child tap a simple beat, and the others guess the song that matches this beat
  • Choose a familiar song and let the children come up with new words to the song
  • Let children sing a song or play an instrument and record them while doing it
Photo by Will Francis on Unsplash

Have a Goal for Each Practice SessionWill Francis (@willfrancis)

For older kids who may be learning to play an instrument, having a goal for every practice session is important. Having a goal makes them accountable and installs self-discipline in them. 

Moreover, having a goal helps your child maximize their practice time such that they don’t practice aimlessly.

Remember to make practice fun by letting your child play their favorite music once in a while. You can also incorporate challenges, rewards, and games in your child’s practice sessions to motivate them to remain focused.

Celebrate Your Child’s Achievements

Celebrate your child’s musical accomplishments, however small they may seem. Don’t just verbalize it. You can create a journal or short videos that showcase your child’s accomplishments. You can also make a chart or board showing how far your child has come in their musical journey. When your child knows you are their biggest cheerleader, they will maintain a positive attitude and share with you the difficulties they are facing.

You now have some tips you can use to help your child develop a love for music. Use them and make music practice less painful and more fun.

Healthy Living, Pets Products

Springtime Health Hazards Your Dog Needs To Avoid

For most of us, spring is our favorite season. We can’t get enough of the warm days, spending time in the garden, not to mention the barbecues. But for your dog, the spring season poses many hazards. To help keep your four-legged friend safe, healthy and happy, here are ten things to look out for and your dog needs to avoid as you enjoy this year’s warmer season.

Springtime Health Hazards Your Dog Needs To Avoid
Photo by Joe Caione on Unsplash
  • Holiday treats

Easter and Passover are some of the holidays we celebrate during spring. You may be tempted to give your dog a slice of ham, a shank bone or other human foods during such celebrations – especially if you have lots of leftovers. But unknown to many pet owners, ham, among other fatty meat and cooked bones are all harmful to your furbaby.

Additionally, foods that contain grapes, raisins or sultanas can lead to kidney failure in your dog. You should also be cautious of Easter treats such as candies, chocolate eggs or anything with dark chocolate. Chocolate is fatal to your pup. So is xylitol – an artificial sweetener found in gum which can cause seizure and death.

  • Allergies

Seasonal allergies are common to dogs. Some of the common triggers of such allergies during the spring season include:

  • Pollen
  • Grass
  • Dust
  • Mould
  • Plants

You may notice your dog has a skin itch, runny eyes, inflamed skin, hair loss, ear problems, sneezing or sniffling due to a springtime allergy. Itchiness is also a sign of food allergies in dogs, so make sure to take your pooch to the veterinarian if he or she exhibits any of these symptoms so you can get to the root of the problem. 

  • Heatstroke

Warm weather means more time spent outdoors or in the garden. Make sure your dog doesn’t suffer from heatstroke by giving him or her plenty of water and ensuring rest in shady spots when outdoors. Even animals who spend most of their time indoors may be overexposed to heat and UV rays. This can be a concern to animals who love to sleep by the window. Overexposure to UV rays can also cause skin cancer, so ensure you keep your pet safe from too much exposure to sunlight.

Moreover, don’t be tempted to leave your dog in the car at any time as the car can heat quickly which can lead to serious health issues.

  • Spring flowers

Cats and dogs spend a lot of time in the garden during spring. Watch out for certain spring flowers that may be poisonous to your pet. Some of these flowers include:

  • Lilies which are poisonous to both dogs and cats
  • Azaleas which are toxic to dogs and cats
  • Daffodils especially the bulbs have lycorine which is poisonous to your pet
  • Sango palms which cause liver failure and death if ingested by your pet
  • Tulips that have most of their toxin in the bulbs
  • Rhododendrons
  • Begonias which can cause burning and irritation of the mouth

Dogs that ingest any of these poisonous flowers may develop drooling, diarrhoea or vomiting signs immediately or a few minutes after ingestion. Take your pet to the vet if you notice these symptoms or if you’re worried that your dog may have ingested any of the named flowers.

dog safety
Photo by Pope Moysuh on Unsplash
  • Wild animals

During spring, many of the wild animals that were hibernating come out to enjoy some warmth. If you need to take a walk with your dog, ensure he or she is always on a safe leash or harness. 

Furthermore, don’t leave your pooch outside unmonitored even if you live in urban areas as he may wander off. Some of the wild animals you need to be on the lookout for include:

  • Hawks
  • Foxes
  • Coyote
  • Venomous snakes
  • Bugs
  • Cleaning chemicals

If you intend to do spring cleaning this season, be careful not to expose your dog to harmful chemicals such as chlorine, bleach, and ammonia. Such chemicals, if ingested by your pup, can cause stomach problems. 

Ensure you keep the cleaning supplies in a separate room where your pet can’t access them. You also need to dispose of all the trash in a timely manner.

  • Weekend warriors injuries

Your dog may not have had a huge amount of outdoor exercise during the colder months.  During spring season ensure you don’t subject him to too much exercise and outdoor activities at once, as this can result in weekend warrior injuries! Reintroduce your dog to his outdoor activities gradually until he or she gets used to a high level of activity and can handle it.

  • Open windows

Open windows bring in fresh warm air during this season. However, ensure that your high-up windows have secure screens to protect your pet from a fatal fall. Open windows also present an exit opportunity for your pup. Thus, ensure that your pet has an identification tag just in case he chooses to use your unscreened window to get away and gets lost.

dogs outside safety
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  • Insect bites and stings

Pets are also susceptible to insect bites and stings during spring as they may be outdoors more often. Besides, insects and other bugs are all over during this season. If you’ve got a bad flea problem, then you’ll want to know what kills fleas on dogs instantly. In this case, you’ll need a flea and tick preventative that kills adult fleas, kills flea eggs and stunts the growth of the larvae and pupae stage fleas.

Insect bites and stings can be fatal to your dog as they can cause anaphylactic shock. If you suspect your pet has an insect sting or bite, take them to the vet immediately.

  • Fertilizers and insecticides

Spring is a great time to do some gardening. However, fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides can prove harmful to your pet.  Some of these fertilizers have coffee grounds, cocoa shell, or snail and slug pellets which are all toxic to your pet if accidentally ingested. If you notice your dog has muscle spasms, incoordination, twitching, seizures and tremors, they may have ingested a harmful chemical, and you will need to take them to the vet immediately.