Posts filed under ‘Chipper Exercise’

The Rainbow Connection


IMG_8135“Mom, if we’re Irish how come I can’t see Leprechauns?” Hmmm, I had to ponder this question last year as I walked with my daughter from school on a rainy day. Our path was under dark clouds streaked with little cracks allowing just enough sunshine to peak through and make for a magical skyline.

2015-03-11 16.46.09I opted for the easy out: “Leprechauns are magical like fairies so you can feel their spirit around you but you can’t always see them.” It didn’t work. We’re at the tail end of “Do you believes” and the Leprechaun answer wasn’t buying me any time. She challenged me on how I can believe things I don’t see or have proof of.

How do we exercise the magical little spirit born from a clear conscience that fades at an age far to young for my liking? Make believe and “Let’s Pretend” games have lost out to apps that distort your voice or change your face into a circus character. We aren’t relying on our imagination when the device is directing us, and many parents feel pressured to push their kids to perform over free play.

I’m never one to give up and continued on about how there is much around us we cannot see but if we just take a moment and wonder, the feeling of hope and faith will win over our mindset and the need for intellectualizing the matter at hand. I explained to my daughter that we don’t always need an explanation when we feel a certain way. The ability to believe in ourselves is important; our thoughts, feelings, actions, and attitude toward the world around us should be enough sometimes. We don’t always need proof.

It was a simple conversation but the base of it was “self doubt.” I knew my daughter was feeling doubt with herself so she was having doubt in everything else around her.

Last PhotoWe continued on and looked up at the sky marveling at how it can change in an instant. The clouds had parted even more which made a beaming of light lead straight to a large painted map on the blacktop. It sparked excitement in my daughter and just as she looked ahead ready to race to the playground she stopped. She grabbed my hand firmly. I looked at her concerned and she just pointed ahead without a comment.

Literally the beam of light lead right to a man crouched over the giant map painted on the blacktop. He wore a black old-fashioned suit with big black boots. He slowly stood up and turned slowly as if realizing he had been found. My daughter and I stared at the man – astonished – it was a Leprechaun! No kidding, the man wore a suit too short we could see his boots and ankles. He even had a rounded top hat and a full beard.

Let's Go Chipper_Irish Soda Bread RecipeWe approached slowly; my daughter never let go of my hand. The man stood silently as we neared. I felt the pull of my daughter so I walked away from the map and eased us toward the swings. He watched us and then gave me a wry smile and walked on across the blacktop to the grass.

My daughter and I stopped and turned, both of us silent. Then she looked at me with wonder.

“It’s what you believe, that matters.” … I gave her a smile and she released my hand from hers and bolted to the swings.

March 17, 2015 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

A Presidential Pooch


I'm a Chipper Mom | Expert Advice for Moms and ParentsThe ads in the papers, TV, and push notifications on our apps all say “Presidential Savings” to capitalize on a day meant for celebrating our US leaders whom have lead this country to where it is today. You might not like where we are today as a nation but if you turn off the noise and focus in on family you’ll quickly realize the most important guidance starts in the home and empowers the core character of our children. And feel lucky that you only have to guide your family and not the many layers of government that help the President run a country of billions.

My own parents instilled in us the understanding that we are all a part of what makes a home, community, country and world, good. Treat your neighbor with respect, care for the environment around you, and never shy away from lending a helping hand.

There are many ways to instill a sense of giving in your children. The basic assigning of age-appropriate tasks like making the bed to taking out the trash teach responsibility which is at the core of self-discipline. Introducing your children to experiences, which include people or animals in need, will activate their hearts and emotions allowing everyone to tap intoPresidential Puppy empathy. It’s empathy that drives our compassion to help others and perhaps that is why so many presidents had dogs in the White House. Sure, it makes for incredible photo ops but research shows caring for an animal or having an animal in the home reduces stress and increases compassion.

Schools across the nation are beginning to welcome pets into the classroom to help teach responsibility and care for others. This tail-wagging program is helping reduce the stress of bullying cases for these participating schools. I’ve often wondered why we need a pet to teach us this when human-to-human interaction should excite these emotions. After years of working with animals through 4-H and now as a foster family for Rocket Dog rescue I realize it is the innate understanding of Adopting dogs as family petsunconditional love. Dogs and most pets don’t hold anything against us. They will give love, be an enthusiastic participant in play and stand by your side no matter what you choose to do. They won’t judge. They lift you up when you feel down.

Research shows having a companion beaming with unconditional love and attentiveness strengthens our own emotions and helps us with relationships. Our four-legged friends keep us physically fit; they stop to say hello to neighbors which helps strengthen our awareness of our community. They help us think beyond ourselves. As we celebrate President’s Day – remember: to lead is to guide others with decisiveness based on realizing what is best for all and with compassion for everyone.

Imagine if our world leaders met at dog parks instead of windowless rooms with hardback chairs. I imagine we would treat each other differently. Like Harry S. Truman once said

Children and dogs are as necessary to the welfare of the country as Wall Street and the railroads.

February 16, 2015 at 9:07 am Leave a comment

Have a Chipper New Year!


It’s that time of the year again.

Happy New Year! A few days in and I’m already asking myself why I resolved to eliminate sugar from my diet.  Many researchers state that most individuals whom set New Year’s resolutions are successful for the first two weeks – about 71% according to the University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology, and barely 50% of us are still committed by the sixth month. The biggest reason we abandon our resolutions is because there isn’t a clearly defined strategy to help us achieve the goal. Kind of like parenting! Most of us say “I want to be a better parent” …or I want my child to achieve ____, but what we need to do first is stop and assess the needs of our children and ourselves then create a clear path to success.

For example, my resolution (daily) is always: “I want to raise an emotionally fit, capable and conscientious child.” The results of this goal would be an independent, productive adult thriving within the life they choose to lead.  I’ve got a ways to go but I try to practice an approach steeped in behaviors I learned as a child, and ideas studied and proven by various behaviorist around the world.

The basic strategy for our family is: Provide a safe and stable environment, Ground Rules, based on mutual respect and contribution; and encouragement to reach the stars. My childhood was choc full of responsibilities “chores” which needed to be completed before free time. Now it’s the same with my children. This simple strategy teaches everyone to participate in the operating of the home both physically and emotionally. Adopting this strategy alone will help your child grow up to take care of themselves; while also infusing a collaborative spirit necessary for them to grow in a business environment.

My daily action items are exercises in patience, creativity, motivation, support, and resolve. Allowing my children to see this gives them a better understanding that life takes work and the rewards are loving and joyful. I resolve to continue these daily actions.

As you set your own resolutions for 2014 how about adding in your strategy, and make it inclusive. Research shows sharing your resolutions and goals with others builds a support system so start with your spouse or partner at home.

For example, instead of saying “I want to lose ten pounds,” how about: “This year I will take a daily walk with my child or partner and always have fresh fruit in a bowl on the counter.” Hmmmm, sounds easy. Did you roll your eyes? Well, instinct might just send you reaching for that apple next time you come home starving from a day full of “to do’s” rather than foraging through the cupboard and opening up a bag of chips.  And that walk you schedule will become routine; research shows repetition is what reinforces a behavior so let’s add some physical activity for the entire family. Don’t let inclement weather deter you – a little music in the living room will get your heart rate up and awaken all the senses when you’ve got a little one to boogie with.

So back to me and my big resolution to eliminate sugar from my diet – well, three days in and I’ve adopted a long-standing Chipper mantra “Healthy before sweet, can’t be beat.” We’ve said it many times but I was reminded by my own child today when I squirmed at the taste of coffee without any sugar. I’ll keep a healthy eating outlook and fresh veggies at-the-ready but my little spoonful of sugar to help start my day is back in the daily grind and it’s a Happy New Year once again.

January 4, 2014 at 1:23 pm Leave a comment

Chipper Activity: Fun Winter Activities and Exercises for You and the Kids


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During the Holidays and cold winter months, it’s easy to want to hibernate like Peabody the Bear! But with all the extra feasts and sweets, it’s important to stay active and keep your body healthy and strong. Don’t let the cold keep you inside all winter. Bundle up in your winter coats, hats, gloves and ear muffs and go enjoy the snow! Here’s a list of fun outdoor and indoor activities to try this winter and stay active with the kiddos while connecting with nature:mom-ice-skating-with-kids

  • Have a snowball fight or “contest” of who can roll the biggest ball
  • Build a snowman: get creative and make some snow animals or a hand-stand snow man!
  • Go sledding. Who can go the farthest?
  • Watch the snow fall and catch snowflakes on your tongue, there are no two alike!
  • Make a snow angel!
  • Make snow paint. Simply add food coloring to water and put in a spray bottle, then go out and paint your yard!
  • Build a snow fort or maze.
  • Shoveling snow is hard work. It’s also awesome exercise — even for kids. Pick up a kid-sized shovel and have them help out by clearing a path in the snow, or digging to make fun patterns. Afterwards, they can have fun following their winding snow paths!
  • Go ice skating at a local ring or lake.
  • Blow bubbles on freezing days and watching them turn into ice bubbles — they look amazing!
  • Hit the slopes with skis or snowboards!
  • Go snowshoeing! Rent them or make your own.
  • Head to the playground. It will be transformed by snow and ice, and more likely than not, you’ll have it all to yourselves!
  • Play a game of winter horseshoe by burying a wide-mouthed water bottle in the snow so that the mouth is flush with the snow’s surface, then gathering sticks or small stones to toss into it from a few yards back. You can create your own version with a can or bowl in a backyard or park.
  • Break out the binoculars and look for winter critters. They are easier to spot with the leaves all gone. How many animals can you and you little one’s spot?
  • Try tracking some animals in the snow! Here’s a guide to recognizing animal tracks.
  • Collect pine cones and make a craft!
  • Make paper snowflake cut-outs.
  • Reread a favorite book and check out Chipper’s Eco-Ecucational Series!
  • Complete a jigsaw puzzle or play a game with the whole family.
  • Take a winter hike and breathe in the smell of pine. How many different pine trees can you spot and name?
  • Find pine branches to make and hang a wreath.
  • Take a walk around the block to admire your neighbors’ holiday lights
  • Go caroling and bring some Christmas cheer to your friends and neighbors!UpsidedownSnowman

What winter activities keep you moving? Let Chipper know!

December 22, 2013 at 9:45 am Leave a comment

Chipper Activities: Autumn Obstacle Course + Pumpkin Patch Fun


Chipper is Feeling Funny for Fall! Don’t let the cold keep you inside. Bundle up and lets go play outside this Autumn season! Research has shown that children who play outdoors regularly are happier, healthier, and stronger. It also boosts immunity and lowers stress levels. Outdoor play not only benefits their physical and mental health, it gives children a chance to explore the mysteries of nature. Plus it’s a ton of fun!

Chipper Activities: Fun Fall Outdoor Activities for Kids

Autumn Obstacle Course

Don’t let those leaves in the yard seem daunting! Chipper is here to help parents and educators make “work” and “learning” seem fun. Make a game out of raking up your fall leaves (this can work for shoveling snow if you live in a northern climate!) by forming an obstacle course. You can even have a “prize” to motivate your little one(s) to participate. Check out these yummy yet Healthy Halloween Snacks as a treat for your little helpers once they complete the course.

Chipper Activities: Fun Fall Outdoor Activities for Kids

WHAT YOUR NEED:

  • Bags
  • 3 bean bags (optional)
  • A yard full of leaves
  • Rakes

WHAT YOU DO:

1. Design Your Course
Decide where you will build your course, what shape it will take, and what obstacles you will include. Here are some obstacle ideas to get you started:

  • Pile of leaves to crawl through
  • Bags of leaves to leap over
  • Paper grocery bags that must be filled with leaves before continuing on
  • Stations where your child must find three bean bags (or other objects) that are buried in a leaf pile
  • A huge pile of leaves to dive into as the grand finale
2. Rake Leaves
To make an obstacle course, you’ll need leaves, lots of them. Give your child a small rake so he or she can help collect the leaves you’ll need. Then arrange the leaves into the obstacle course you designed earlier. If you have two kids who want to race, make two identical courses!

Chipper Activities: Fun Fall Outdoor Activities for Kids

3. Race Through Your Course
Ready, set, go! Now it’s time to have fun. Race with your child or referee two kids racing. Or time your child as he or she runs the course. Change the obstacles to keep the fun going.

Chipper Activities: Fun Fall Outdoor Activities for Kids

4. Talk About Autumn and Leaves

  • Fall into the season. Tell your child that autumn has another name – Fall! Ask if he or she can guess where the name came from. Explain that it refers to the time of year when the leaves on some trees turn color and “fall” off.
  • Why do leaves change color? Explain to your child that leaves are green because they contain chlorophyll, a substance that helps plants make food. In fall, leaves stop making chlorophyll, and their green color fades. That’s when other colors that were underneath—the beautiful yellows, reds and oranges of fall—can show through. Ask your child to guess the most common leaf color (Answer: yellow.) Learn/teach more details for older kids!
  • Fall recycling. Help your child discover ways that nature reuses old leaves. Overturn a bunch of leaves that have been on the ground for a while. You’re likely to find insects and other creatures. That’s because leaves provide these animals with food and shelter. Look for leaves from last year, and show your child how the old leaves have begun to decay. Explain that these old, rotten leaves enrich the soil, supplying food so other plants can grow.

Pumpkin Patch Fun

Chipper Activities: Fun Fall Outdoor Activities for Kids

Try these fun pumpkin games to make Halloween EXTRA fun! Not only do they get you and your little one moving outdoors, they are a great way to spend time and connect with family! Early childhood connections are important and shape your child’s outlook for the rest of their lives. So take the time to play! Check out these cute Halloween Recycle Crafts for some indoor fun too.

WHAT YOUR NEED:

  • Pennies
  • 10 plastic bottles
  • 1 large pumpkin
  • Several small pumpkins (some may break during play)

WHAT YOU DO:

1. Go On a Pumpkin Scavenger Hunt
Pumpkins come in different shapes and sizes. While you’re at the pumpkin patch, see if you can find the roundest, the tallest, the funniest looking, the one with the curliest stem, the one with the longest stem, and one with no stem at all.

2. Bowl With Pumpkins
Partially fill your plastic bottles with water or any other material you can use for pins. Cut the stems off the pumpkins so they roll easier. Then set your “pins” on a flat, grassy surface, and start bowling with your pumpkin balls. The scoring system—or whether you score at all—is up to you!

3. Pitch Pennies Into Your Pumpkin
Carve a pumpkin and leave a wide hole in the top. Take five steps away from the pumpkin and try to pitch pennies into the pumpkin. If it’s too hard, step closer. If it’s too easy, step farther away. The person who gets the most pennies in the pumpkin wins!
4. Give Your Pumpkin to Wildlife

After Halloween, put your jack-o’-lantern and pumpkin bowling balls in your yard for local wildlife to enjoy. Squirrels like Chipper, raccoons, deer, and even many dogs will chow down with gusto on all parts of the pumpkin!

What other Fall activities do you and your family enjoy? Let Chipper know!

October 30, 2013 at 11:27 am Leave a comment

I’m Chipper for Feeling Chipper!


positive-1
“I don’t want to get up…” “I’m tired…” We hear it every morning and probably agree but the day has to begin so rise and shine and help infuse a positive attitude before you pour that bowl of cereal for breakfast. Research shows setting a positive mood is possible and something we can teach ourselves and children.
The benefits of a positive mood are numerous; from approaching problems with a “Can Do” attitude and greater consideration for others to embracing compromise for the betterment of the group, a positive mood gives us emotional stamina to be productive each day. And though there are many proven strategies we find one particularly beneficial as it is good for our body and minds. Exercise!
John J. Ratey, M.D., Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain shares that we evolved to move, and the health of our brains—and the moods our brains experience—rely on physical activity to stay healthy.
Most of us feel like we are mentally running around before we even tie our shoes in the morning so let’s start with focusing on the first steps the minute you get out of bed and wake up your kids. Yes, Rise and Shine:
Spending-Time-with-Your-Kids
1. Wiggle your hands, circle your feet, and point your toes: this is a great snuggle-to-stretch exercise as you are still warm in bed. Hop in and snuggle and stretch if there is room. First, reach for the headboard while pointing your toes to the foot of the bed; second, wiggle your fingers and toes then move in a clockwise position then a counterclockwise position (count the number of hours on a clock and then count backwards); third, squeeze your knees to your chest and press your chin to your chest like a cocoon.
2. Rise out of bed like a butterfly or bat: slowly come out of your cocoon and stand up. Reach your arms as wide open as they can go then place your feet wider than your hips. Stretch hand to opposite foot and count to ten. Repeat on the other side.
3. Stretch up and get ready: bring legs together then relax over and try and touch your toes. Slowly come up, give a hug to start the day, get dressed and off you go to breakfast.
Chipper Group_Helping Hands Race
The exercise allows you to wake up every part of your body and mind, and engage each other with a positive feeling of being together. Now you’ve already accomplished something great; talking, stretching, and planning your day together even if you might spend some time a part will help send your child into the world confident and ready to learn and participate with others. The exercise is about five minutes – which we all have so practice giving yourself this moment …it will come back to you in so many ways.
Find more wonderful activities to try with your little one(s) at Chipper’s Website!

October 27, 2013 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

Chipper Activities: 3 Stretches and 3 Exercises to Try with your Kids!


Regardless of what age your child is, some form of physical activity is more important than you can possibly imagine! With all the video games, television, computers, etc., it’s no surprise children are becoming overweight and inactive. It is important to educate younger children about the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle. What is the best workout for children? How can you motivate children to workout? Chipper is here to help answer these kinds of questions!
To prevent injury, it is important for your child to warm up and stretch before exercising. This should include about five to ten minutes of light activity, such as walking, calisthenics (jumping jacks, bending, knee lifts), and stretching.
Stretches for kids
STRETCH 1: Child’s Pose
This aptly named yoga pose (called balasana in Sanskrit) is a good way for kids to begin and/or end a stretching session; many yoga sequences start with this pose. It’s very relaxing!Kneel with toes touching and knees spread apart. (Some people prefer to have the knees together. Try both ways to see which is more comfortable.) Slowly bend over and touch the forehead to the floor or mat. Arms can be at the sides, along the legs, palms facing up; or extended in front of the head with palms on the floor. Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply in this pose; hold child’s pose for 3 to 5 breaths.
STRETCH 2: Cat-Cow Pose
This yoga-influenced stretch is good for the spine and also strengthens the abdominal muscles. Start on all fours with the spine and neck in a neutral position (not shown). The back should be flat like a tabletop. Eyes should look straight down to the ground. As you inhale, drop the belly down and slowly lift the neck and head up. This is the cow half of the pose—picture a cow’s swayed back with bony hips.
Next, on an exhale, lift the belly and spine so the back is arched like a cat’s. Eyes should look toward the bellybutton. Alternate cat-cow stretches for 5 to 10 breaths. After the last cat pose, return to the neutral hands-and-knees position.
STRETCH 3: Tree Pose
This simple, yet very effective overhead arm stretch works the upper body, shoulders, and arms. Stand up straight with feet together (not all of our models complied, but they still benefit from the upper-body moves!). With back straight, reach arms straight up and overhead, without locking elbows.Hands can be touching, as the girls demonstrate on the right, or apart, as the boys show on the left. You can also do a very gentle back bend here. If you choose to bend backwards, keep your chin and neck lifted.
Make sure to stretch each part of your body and follow the guide below:

stretches for kids

Once you’ve stretched and loosened your muscles, it’s time to exercise! You may modify the exercises below if necessary to suit your particular circumstances. Increase or decrease the number of repetitions according to the children’s particular needs and physical ability. When you first start these exercises, correct form is more important than speed. After you become familiar with them, you may increase the speed at which you perform them. Check out some Chipper songs to get motivated to MOVE! Dance is another great way to workout with the kids while having fun!

Most of them are considered cardiovascular (aerobic) exercises as well as strength building (anaerobic) exercises. They will also help you develop balance, coordination and agility. These exercises can be performed just about anywhere with little effort. Correct supervision is a NECESSITY, and SAFETY is the primary concern. Just take it slow and increase speed as you go!

EXERCISE 1: Jumping Jacks

Straighten body with arms at sides, then jump while spreading legs and arms apart. Then repeat! Once you and your little one(s) get good, try choosing a fun song and jump to the beat. Chipper’s Into the Great Outdoors CD has an array of fun tunes to listen to. Count as you go and see how high you can get!

EXERCISE 2: Slalom Jump

While standing straight up with your feet together, squat down about half way, leaning slightly forward. Put your left arm in front of you and your right arm in back (running position). Lean and jump to the right while swinging your arms in the opposite position and keeping your feet together.

You should now be to the right of your original starting position with your right arm in front of you, your left arm in back and your feet together with your knees bent in a crouched position.

Now lean and jump back to your original position while swinging your arms back to their original position. (when you become comfortable with these exercises, you may increase their effectiveness by adding ankle and wrist weights (1-3 lbs.) when performing them). Perform 2 sets of 15-20 reps or whatever you feel comfortable with. Remember, you don’t want to over do it! Listen to your body as you go.

EXERCISE 3: Trunk Rotations

From a straight standing position with your hands on your hips, rotate your upper body as far as possible in each direction. This exercise should be done with a smooth even motion. Do not rotate fast or jerk your body but have fun! Perform 2 sets of 15-20 reps.

Exercises for kids

All exercises labelled above incorporate both cardiovascular (aerobic) and strength (anaerobic) work which involves most of the time “whole body” exercises that encourage the children to train their sense of balance and coordination which are integral in the progressive development of a child’s physiological systems.

Health benefits can be derived simply from becoming more physically active, but the greatest benefits come from engaging in planned and structured exercise. Cardiovascular risk factors can be reduced and physical fitness enhanced with low to moderate levels of physical activity (40-60% of a person’s maximal aerobic capacity) (Blair & Connelly, 1996).

And, low- to moderate-intensity activity is less likely than vigorous exercise to cause musculoskeletal injury and sudden heart attack death during exercise (a very rare occurrence even for vigorous exercisers), while it is more likely to promote continued adherence to activity (Blair & Connelly, 1996; NIH, 1995).

Current recommendations state that children and adolescents should strive for at least 30 minutes daily of moderate intensity physical activity (Pate, Pratt et al., 1995). They may be getting this at school but an extra walk around the block each day helps you AND your child!

An alternate approach that may be equally beneficial would be to engage in 5- (Blair & Connelly, 1996) to 10-minute (NIH, 1995) bouts of moderate intensity activity throughout the day, for a total accumulation of at least 30 minutes for adolescents and adults and 60 minutes for children (Pangrazi, Corbin, & Welk, 1996).

Walking briskly or biking for pleasure or transportation, swimming, engaging in sports and games, participating in physical education, and doing tasks in the home and garden may all contribute to accumulated physical activity. Not to mention ,spending just 10 minutes a day outside increases attention span and lowers stress!

All things aside, at the end of the day, all a child wants to do is to have FUN! They want to be constantly stimulated from one day to the next. Their minds are always shifting from one thing to the next, so when provided with all the variables, the best workout needs to be designed specifically and especially for their needs. Getting active with them everyday help them form healthy habits for their entire life so Let’s Go Chipper for Healthy Habits! Find more Healthy Chipper Activities to try here or share some of your with us!

September 18, 2013 at 3:19 pm 2 comments

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