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Keeping the kids moving

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
— Turns out most of us grew up on another planet.

It was called Planet Go Outside and Play.

Or, as our mothers sometimes called it, Planet Don’t Come Back Until Supper.

Alas, that planet disappeared sometime in the past three decades, and we now live in a world where children have to be encouraged to go outside.

Who can blame them? Video game systems and the Internet offer a world of instant entertainment that doesn’t require putting old bread bags in your boots for protection against the icy damp.

Adams Elementary School physical education teacher Carol Tyriver doesn’t waste her time moaning about the “good old days.”

Instead, she created “The 12 Days of Fitness” for the 12 days of holiday break.

“The point of this is to remind kids that even though we’re on vacation, our bodies still need to be active,” Tyriver said.

For those who grew up on Planet Go Outside, the suggestions seem painfully obvious.

“Go outside and make a snowman. If there isn’t any snow, play tag in your yard.”

Um, hello, isn’t that first on every child’s agenda? Well, maybe you’d want to build a fort first or make snow angels.

Or—here’s another good one—stockpile snowballs in a snow bunker so when Uncle “Pull-My-Finger” Steve comes over, you can hit him with everything you’ve got.

“To us, in our childhood, it was obvious what to do,” Tyriver said. “You played outside all day long. Now it’s a real effort to get kids to go outside.”

Along with the lure of video games and the Internet, circumstances might make it difficult for kids to get outside. Someone other than their parents might be watching them. Or they might live in a city apartment without a real yard.

Finally, if you’re not used to making your own fun, a snowy landscape might seem like an invitation to watch cartoons on cable.

“I hope that this encourages them to be active,” Tyriver said of the list. “And maybe it will spark some more ideas and they start thinking, ‘We could be doing this, or we could be doing that.’”

Let’s hope.

Meanwhile, Uncle Steve should still be careful when he comes over for supper.

Some of us have never grown up.


“The 12 Days of Fitness”is a youth fitness program created by Carol Tyriver, Adams Elementary physical education teacher.

Each day is meant to represent one day of the Christmas break.

1. Skip around your house.

2. Walk backward 25 steps. Walk forward 25 steps. How many total steps did you do?

3. Do twice your age in pushups.

4. Do three sets of 15 jumping jacks. How many total did you do?

5. Take a family walk outside.

6. Go bowling with your family.

7. Go outside and make a snowman. If there isn’t any snow, play tag in the yard.

8. Go to the ice rink and ice skate with your family.

9. Stretch a string out on the floor. Jump side to side over the string 50 times.

10. Make a sock ball and play catch with a family member.

11. Crab walk into each room of your house.

12. Run in place for 30 seconds. Do this three times. Afterward yell, “I love winter.”

Last updated: 12:06 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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