A Walk To Remember

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It was a gorgeous day filled with clear skies and cool breezes.

In Phoenix, a day like this at the end of April is unfamiliar but greeted with much excitement. The skin smiles as it’s kissed by gentle winds and our hearts sing as we mingle with nature.

On days like this, the boys and I jet out the door to spend away our time under the sympathetic rays of the sun.

We coat our bodies with sunscreen, throw on our sneakers, and start the day with a long walk in our gorgeous community. My boys point out the occasional geese soaring above us, the butterflies crossing our path and the planes jetting through the sunny sky.

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Recently on one of our walks, my 4 year old pointed out a milk gallon lurking beneath the oleander bushes. As we continued on our path, we noticed more containers, newspapers, and plastic bags inhabiting our street.

He immediately proclaimed that this trash should have been placed in a dumpster and how terrible it was to see it floating around in our neighborhood. You see, it had only been a week since my son celebrated Earth Day at school and learned the importance of taking care of Mother Earth.

Those wisdoms were fresh on his mind and he felt that we should do something about the unpleasant scene in our neighborhood.

I agreed.

Our children are taught about the importance of taking responsibility to nurture our planet, but in an individualistic culture, sometimes we fail to encourage the collectivism that is needed to impact actual change. Looking out for one another, taking leadership even when we’re not obligated, and yes, sometimes doing something out of our scope simply because “it’s the right thing to do” is what my 4 year old reminded me on that warm yet breezy afternoon.

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With latex gloves protecting our hands and a big garbage bag, off we went to confiscate the litter we had seen on our walk. It only took a few minutes to bag up bottles and newspapers to restore the beautiful landscape on our street.

Once we returned back to our home, we played a game of “recycle or trash?” My son declared each item’s destiny and then with his budding basketball skills, shot them into the appropriate dumpster.

It indeed was a gorgeous day and I like to think Mother Earth smiled a bit brighter that day because of my son.

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Indoor Hopscotch

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‘Twas a hot summer day with no hope to get any outdoor time in with the kiddos. In those hot summer months, or cold winters depending on where you live, we rely on indoor activities and sometimes it is tough coming up with ideas where the kids can be active and exhaust all their energy. If only I had a fraction of the energy my 3 year old has, but I digress.

My guy wanted to go to the park desperately, but it was far too hot to make that request happen. He was itching to do something active and jumping off of furniture was just not cutting it for either one of us. That’s when I got the idea of hopscotch and decided to make a hopscotch board in his playroom for both of us to play together.

Supplies:

Painter’s Tape. You could use Masking Tape as well since this comes off easily.

Optional: A stone, bean bag or something that can be tossed without rolling

 

Normally there are 10 blocks total, but you can build as many squares as you’d like on your hopscotch board. I incorporated more side-by-side boxes to make it age appropriate for my son. For older kids, you may want to make a longer board with more single boxes.

We wanted to enjoy it for a while, so we built this in the playroom, where we could just leave it on the floor for as long as we wanted. I typically have an area rug in that location, and it worked well to place the rug back on top of it when we weren’t playing, just to keep the playroom looking nice and neat.

We kept the rules pretty easy. We took turns hopping back and forth and it was good entertainment for both of us. We even incorporated the stoplight game where he would start hopping through and would have to freeze when I said “Red Light” and resume when I said “Green Light”. We took turns being the conductor.

Next time, we’ll use a small stone and incorporate some additional gaming element to it. How I played this as a youngster myself goes something like this: The player throws the stone onto one of the boxes without it touching the lines. If the stone falls on a line or outside of the board, she skips her turn. She hops through the boxes, and skips the box that has the stone. One foot only in each box. On the way back, the player should pick up the stone, skip that box and make it back to the start. If she steps on a line or is unable to skip the box, her turn ends and on to the next player.

There are a lot of variations you can make up as you go. It’s an oldie but goodie and served as a perfect afternoon activity with my little man. And I got in a smidge of exercise too!

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