Friday, February 28, 2014

3 Hours Outside?

Welcome to my second "Old-Fashioned Friday!"  (Click here for my first Old-Fashioned Friday post.)  My dad might cringe when he reads that today's tidbit came from a book he read in his childhood:  "The Junior Instructor."  I occasionally like looking through antique shops for interesting old books, and bought Book 1 and 2.  When I showed it to my dad, he said he recalled reading these at school.

Cover of The Junior Instructor Book 2

These books began in 1916, but my volumes were published in 1959.  It's like an encyclopedia, or general reference book, for children, with lots of pictures, rhymes, and small paragraphs on anything from birds to the circus.

One of the sections, titled "Healthy Children," includes a "letter," written as though from a child to the mother.  Read it and see if what caught my attention the most, sticks out to you as well:

"Dear Mother,

 I need outdoor exercise to stay healthy.  All small children should play outdoors at least three hours every day, in good weather.  I need the right equipment to help me exercise my large muscles.  The small muscles of my hands and fingers are not yet well developed.  I need a fence or a jungle gym to climb on, and bars to hang on  I like to run and skip and dance.  I need to slide on a slide and swing on a swing and ride a tricycle.  After I am five years old, I will need roller skates and a jump rope."  

Page with Letter to Mother

So, what stood out to you?  For me it was the 3 hours outside every day!  Now that I think about it, that sounds ideal for my active little guys.  Decades ago, children did spend more time outside, and it probably did them good.  But we're lucky if we manage just 1 hour a day.  I let household chores, errands, laziness, and other things get the better of me, rather than making sure we're in the yard or going to a park as often as possible.  And as I wrote in my post on how much time should children spend outside, modern specialists only suggest a little over an hour for kids of about 2 years old.  But, inspired by this little "Letter to Mother" that I found, we've been making more of an effort to get outside.  The other day it was just 30 degrees outside (Fahrenheit), but we bundled up and spent an hour at the park.  It sure paid off at nap time!  

On a warmer day:  Chalk, cardboard boxes, and toy cars... all enjoyable outside, too! 

Time outside does wonders for kids' gross and fine motor skills, as that letter touched upon.  Get outside, if possible, and... 

Happy Friday!

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