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Cricket!!

Posted on 6th November, 2012 by Admin

This month at Smallsports we are having a grand time with cricket. Such a fun game, and full of great physical skills and team play that sets us up for sporting success across the board. Reminds me of the old song from a kiwi summer of cricket years ago – we don’t like cricket, we love it!! Yep, that’s what it’s all about, developing a love for sport and the outdoors at a young age.

As you may be aware, famous olympic sprinter Usain Bolt was first a cricketer and it was actually his cricket coach that  introduced him to track and field.(2) Who knows what benefits will come for our kids from the simple good times of catching, throwing, batting and fielding that they are cheerfully involved in right now?

Former English cricket captain Ian Botham has some great advice for us all about cricket, sport and life in general: “To me, it doesn’t matter how good you are. Sport is all about playing and competing. Whatever you do in cricket and in sport, enjoy it, be positive and try to win.” (3)

(1) Top picture: https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR1Wa8JdZ__3uvAk9JwZ0CeALjMh73gA7Zu8WA92MQ0zQPWXOavNA
(2) http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/cricket.html#EwryA6IYqbyh2Gt0.99
(3) http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/cricket_2.html#SD4eIcj1GW7S2z1b.99


Growing like weeds…

Posted on 30th October, 2012 by Admin

Wow – can you believe its almost November! The year continues to fly by and our children are growing up right in front of our eyes.

At Smallsports it is such a joy to be able to look back across the year and see how children have grown so obviously  in confidence and skill with the various sports activities and games. Catching brilliantly, throwing further, running scarily fast and really keeping me on my toes. Also, understanding sportsmanship, team play and thinking of others on higher levels too – very inspiring!!

What about taking a moment to really look at our own children too, recognise the many areas of growth and development that have snuck up on us, and of course savour the opportunity to have these young treasures as part of our lives.

1.Top photo – http://i01.i.aliimg.com/wsphoto/v0/618795701/Kids-wall-stickers-Giraffe-Kids-Growth-Chart-Height-Measure-wholesale-for-kids-rooms-decoration-wall-home.jpg


Lunchtime Yummies

Posted on 23rd October, 2012 by Admin

Oh the joys of the lunchbox!! I certainly agree that it can become tedious trying to fill the kids lunchboxes with healthy options each day, not to mention being creative with your own lunch. Every now and then its worthwhile taking a few minutes for thinking ahead and planning how to achieve that lovely blend of creative and healthy for our kids lunches.

So what do we need to keep in mind? “Children have small stomachs, so their energy and nutritional requirements are best met with small meals and snacks spread throughout the day”(1.) So what types of tasty treats can we pack that will benefit both our kids tastebuds and tummies? In today’s sugar and preservative soaked society, its so easy to reach for prepackaged snacks foods like chips, muesli bars, fruit straps, chocolate bars, lollies, donuts etc. However these foods actually decrease the good results of energy and concentration for our children. Lets instead aim for good health options such as sandwiches with savoury fillings, crackers or rice cakes, yoghurt, cheese, sliced fruit, vegetable sticks so that our children can get the best out of their day. Thirsty?? Water is definitely the best drink for our kids; lets make sure they have a bottle with plenty of water with them each day.

If you’re anything like me, its so easy to get ‘stuck in a rut’ with food preparation and end up with the same 3 boring options day after day. Why not take a few minutes to google some interesting and easy lunchbox options and even maybe read up and re-motivate ourselves about the huge benefits our children receive as we put in that little bit of extra effort. Lets enjoy the satisfaction of sending our kids off with foods that will keep them both happy and healthy!

 

1. Top picture: kidspot.com.au

2. Get up & Grow, Lunchbox ideas – Meals for early childhood settings:  http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/D2845EEEB00AE26ECA25762C007F852E/$File/gug-hw05.pdf

3. Another site for great lunchbox ideas: http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/mums-united/tools/Pages/lunchbox-lifesavers.aspx?gclid=CMvh2fqClrMCFcohpQod6i8AvQ


Super SunSmart

Posted on 16th October, 2012 by Admin

Wow its warm today!!! We are now well and truly into the season of enjoying the lovely Australian sun and all its benefits – swimming, bbqs, the beach, getting the washing dry quickly on the line (oh yes I like that one!) & playing outside with our kids.

Hence, it seems appropriate to take a moment to remember once again the importance of making sure that our sunshiny days remain a benefit for our life, instead of becoming a nasty health risk.

Over the years we’ve received plenty of education on the importance of being smart in the sun, but it doesn’t hurt to have a little bit of reminder now and again. Research over the years has shown that  “measures including sunscreen, clothing, and sun avoidance in childhood may significantly reduce the occurrence of melanoma and other skin cancer in later life. Regular use of sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 during the first 18 years of life could reduce the lifetime incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer by 78%.” (1.)

In fact, just this last couple of weeks I have been drawn into fond rememberance as I celebrate a hard won and certain victory: our youngest child has finally (after much repetition & training) morphed into a new creature. From that toddler who threw away his hat so often that we experimented with multiple methods of attaching it to his person; through that wonderful stage when he cried and refused every time we forcibly applied sunscreen to his face; and finally into the brilliant individual today who can even be trusted to lather himself with sunscreen at a friends house without being asked (and without Mama around to nag and enforce too!)

Yes people, it is possible!!!

If you’re a reader, or an internet cruiser, why not take a moment to check out a few sites like these below and soak up all the useful information on sensible sun behaviour. There are even some great games and activities we can do with out preschoolers to help build healthy habits into their young lives.

1. Top picture: cancercouncil.com.au

2. http://cpj.sagepub.com/content/30/12/676.abstract  Andrew P Truhan, MD, Department of Dermatology, Massacheusetts General Hospital, Boston.

3. http://www.sunsmart.com.au/play_sunsmart

3. http://www.sunsafety.qld.gov.au/documents/29602.pdf


Footy Fever

Posted on 4th October, 2012 by Admin

The Rugby League final has come and gone this weekend, but footy fever is hotting up again in October for Smallsports. Catching, passing, kicking, teamwork and other useful lessons all wrapped up in fun games and stories for the little ones.

This morning we played one of our favourite games, “The Bear in the Middle”, which we haven’t played for a long time. As we got started, several children enthusiastically jumped in with comments about how much they ‘love this game’! One of my favourite things about Smallsports is that every kid gets to enjoy learning through stories and games and participate with their friends in a setting that is all confidence and no embarrassment.

Yep it’s definitely rewarding to see the kids faces lit up in smiles as they call out “Look at me! I can do it!”

 1. Top picture: http://www.thetravelword.com/2011/06/08/rugby-in-laos-an-important-community-game/

2. Bottom picture: http://www.nrl.com

 


One step at a time

Posted on 27th September, 2012 by Admin

Hot off the press – exciting news to report!! This week it seems appropriate to take a moment to highlight some of the amazing and inspiring growth and changes we are seeing with the little ones in Smallsports. I have been so encouraged all year, and this week in particular, with the progress of the kids in our programs.

Running faster, jumping higher, throwing further, catching better … Over the last few weeks of our basketball focus, I am finding that I need to stand further back to throw because the kids confidence and competence in catching has increased so obviously. I keep having to lift the basketball hoop higher because their shooting skills have increased so much. Playing a chasing game today I even had to pull out a real burst of speed and struggled to tag some kids (yes, I admit it – outrun by a 4 year old).

And its not only in physical abilities that we’re seeing these dramatic increases. The mental game is really on the lift too. Listening and following instructions, detailed knowledge of our body and how it works, strategic understanding showing up in games we play … Whoever said a child can only follow one instruction at a time has definitely been outsmarted by our Smallsports kids this year.

So, all this is really to give us a bit of an encouragement and a reminder that our times of playing with our kids, bit by bit, step by step, day by day, really do add up to outstanding results in their lives over time. Hopefully having this bigger picture perspective will help us get up off the couch one more time and be involved in conversation, activities and outdoor fun with our little ones. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, we ourselves will be the 80 year old sitting in our rocker on the front porch. So let’s enjoy each moment with our little ones and make the most of every opportunity!

1. Picture: http://bedbathandbeyond.com


WET WET WET

Posted on 18th September, 2012 by Admin

As the rain pours down outside bringing welcome to relief to the increasingly brown, dry landscape, it seems appropriate to take a moment to remind ourselves of the importance of keeping plenty of water happening in our bodies too. Now, of course we’ve been hearing from our mothers for many years about the importance of drinking water. However medical professionals recently are noting that there is increasing data on the extreme importance of maintaining hydration and the drastic ill health results that can come from dehydration. Here are a few examples to catch our attention: gastritis, ulcers, heartburn, hiatal hernias, colitis, constipation, arthritis, back and neck pain, stress, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, allergies, diabetes … (2) Wow – that’s an impressive list!! After reading that I’m feeling pretty motivated to get plenty of water in me, for which reason I’ve found a little list of tips to get us started.

 

“Tips for staying hydrated:

* Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. Consider carrying a reusable water bottle and filling it from the tap rather than purchasing bottled water, which is expensive and creates plastic bottle waste

* If plain water doesn’t interest you, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink

* If you’re going to be exercising, make sure you drink water before, during and after your workout

* Start and end your day with a glass of water

* When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. The sensation of thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight loss plan, as some research suggests drinking water will help you feel full

* Drink on a schedule if you have trouble remembering to drink water. For example, drink water when you wake up; at breakfast, lunch and dinner; and when you go to bed. Or dink a small glass of water at the top of each hour

* Drink water when you go to a restaurant. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but it’s free!” (3)

 

So drink up, and hope your week goes swimmingly!!

 

1. Top picture: 72dynes.blogspot.com

2. http://naturalbias.com/is-dehydration-causing-you-disease-and-pain/

3. http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/food-nutrition/nutrients/hydration-why-its-so-important.html


Tutti Fruiti

Posted on 11th September, 2012 by Admin

Looks tasty doesn’t it!!! And it has even passed my own personal Mother’s test for an excellent food option – plenty of colours. As we head into the brighter mornings and warmer weather its so easy to motivate ourselves with health (bit of a theme going on in this blog lately, but let’s just roll with it shall we?) We seem at this time of year to get more motivated about exercise and adding that bounce to our step. Plus, its a great time to take great strides in building healthy eating lifestyle. As we know, its the combination of the two that brings us the best success. Take the advice of world famous runner, Linford Christie: “Adopting a new healthier lifestyle can involve changing diet to include more fresh fruit and vegetables as well as increasing levels of exercise.” (2)

Still, as much as that burst of exercise seems to help us feel we have permission to knock back those chocolate bars or that sneaky cheeseburger, the old adage really is true: “You are what you eat.” Interestingly, scientists have found that seasonal fruit and vegetables often seem to contain the specific vitamins and minerals to counteract whatever nasty bugs are around at that time of year. My plan is to really ‘colour up’ my diet with plenty of tasty and healthy fruits and vegetables as we warm up into Spring – what about you?

1. Top picture: www.heritagefarmersmarket.blogspot.com

2. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/fruit.html#cEQix5L8l6YKvbv2.99


Sweet or not so sweet?

Posted on 6th September, 2012 by Admin

Yes its the perfect time of year for bouncing up off our couches and getting excited about things like spring cleaning, projects around the house and health and fitness.

In our family, we’ve decided to aim for a bit of a Sugar Free September project. As many of us are aware, sugar has become more and more a major part of the regular person’s diet over the last century and with some extremely severe health effects. For example obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer were virtually unknown as recently as the early 1900’s. Many health professionals believe lifestyle changes since that time are largely responsible for the incredible rise in many of these health challenges.

So how much change has there really been to our sugar intake over the years? Here are a few statistics to get our attention:

  • In 1700, the average person consumed about 1.8 kg of sugar per year
  • In 1800, the average person consumed about 8.2 kg of sugar per year
  • In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 40.8 kg of sugar per year
  • In 2009, more than 50 percent Americans consumed 81.6 kgs of sugar per year

 

Wow – those are some  impressive numbers!! This is one reason why our family is having a good go at eliminating (or certainly lowering) our sugar and junk food intake this month. I’m not going to lie, we did have a bit of a false start, but  I can tell you that now, even after only a few days, we’re definitely feeling improvements in energy levels and optimism.

So, why not try hitting up google and also jump onto the Gold Coast Active and Healthy website to check out plenty of practical and simple ideas of how we can make small changes with our families to eat a bit healthier this Spring?

 

1. http://www.gcparks.com.au/activities.aspx?page=35

2. http://www.wholevegan.com/refined_sugar_history.html

3. http://www.healingdaily.com/detoxification-diet.sugar.html

 


A spring in your step

Posted on 28th August, 2012 by Admin
How nice is it to see the light at the end of the winter tunnel? I’ve definitely gotten sick of needing to wake up in pitch black and freezing cold just to get through the essentials of school lunches, washing and dishes before work (let alone doing anything extra or beneficial!)
 
Yep, Spring is in the air – & hopefully soon there’ll be a good spring in our step too. It’s definitely a great time of year to move from the “thinking about exercise” phase (which admittedly is one I tend to live in a high percentage of the time) to the “actually doing some exercise” phase.
 
Here are a couple of thoughts to bring a smile to our faces and hopefully also to inspire us towards giving it a go – you know what they always say: ‘invest energy to receive energy’. (Tried pretty hard to find this quote on google but all it would give me was technical jargon about power companies so I eventually gave up).
 
What about this thought: “If it weren’t for the fact that the TV set and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn’t get any exercise at all.”  (Joey Adams) 1. Very cyncial, but definitely applies to me far too often!!
Let’s try something a bit more motivational, a nice little pair of quotes that really do fit together like a running shoe and your foot: “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” (Muhammad Ali) 2. “Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.”
(Doug Larson) 2. 
 
Anyway, in review, lets take the opportunity to use this new season as a springboard (great pun don’t you think?) and make those small, step by step changes towards healthy nutrition and exercise in our lives. Let’s not fall into the trap of yet another passing fancy, but make this spring the beginning of a new healthy and active lifestyle shall we?
 

1. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_fitness2.html