Archive for November 11th, 2013

November 11, 2013

Celebrating Healthy Minds and Bodies with Girl Scouts

by Melissa Harding

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Last weekend we celebrated physical and mental health during our Fitness at Phipps program. We were joined by Junior Girl Scouts from three different troops as we learned how to take good care of ourselves through deep breathing, yoga, jump roping and healthy eating. As many children are experiencing very high levels stress at school and at home, it is important to help children understand how to take care of their bodies, minds and spirits to keep them happy and healthy. Our fitness camp is intended to do just that through the multidisciplinary lens games, crafts and cooking. We had a lot of fun and even got a little silly!

First, campers recycled old T-shirts to turn them into jump ropes. This colorful craft combine repurposing items that would otherwise be discarded with fun braiding techniques to create a useful fitness tool that gets kids outside and excited to exercise. Campers made their jump ropes into colorful braids using strips cut from a rainbow of large T-shirts. The results were both really pretty and perfect for jump roping; using T-shirts creates a rope that has enough heft to swing properly and the material is stretchy enough that campers can change the length of their rope at whim. After campers finished their jump ropes, everyone went outside into the hall to try them out. They were a big hit with the girls!

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Campers then learned about the importance of fitness for mind, body and spirit. First, they tried some fun yoga poses to quiet their mind and stretch their bodies. They loved the guided meditations and the partner poses best. Next, campers made two healthy yogurt dips and even cut up their own apples with fancy apple-peelers. They learned the importance of healthy eating to keep their bodies strong; in particular, the girls tried some chia seeds in their dips and talked about how this ancient grain can add a delicious bit of fiber to snacks.

After snack, the girls walked to the Outdoor Garden to try out some jump rope games. They jumped forwards, backwards, and played some circle games with their new jump ropes. Finally, we came back to the classroom to wrap up with a Girl Scout friendship circle and some great songs!

To see more photos from camp, check out the slideshow below!

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Even if you were not able to be a part of our Celebrate!, you can still practice these stress relief techniques with your child:

1. Prevent stress by keeping your body fit and active; healthy eating and taking time to unwind with vigorous exercise are important for both adults and children. A healthy body is better able to withstand stress-induced illness.
2. Use visualization: Take a break and sit quietly for a few minutes while  imagining a peaceful scene. Five to ten minutes of picturing a soothing image like playing at the beach, walking through the woods or floating in the air can relax and distract a stressful mind.
3. Muscle relaxation: Tense and relax each muscle group while lying in bed; start at the top of the head and work down to the toes. Tense each muscle group and move onto the next until the whole body feels light and relaxed.
4. Breathing exercises: Concentrate on slowing down breathing by counting slowly to four as you breath in; do the same thing as you breathe out. Continue for several minutes until the stress starts to melt away.
5. Go outside: Being in nature for as little as five to ten minutes can reduce stress levels and create a peaceful feeling.

These techniques are useful for children and adults alike. Be a good example to your child and show them stress management in your own life; they will model your behavior and learn that stress does not have to control them. They can control their stress themselves!

If you missed this program and would like to join us December 14, 10-12 pm or 1-3 pm for Celebrate! The Holidays, please contact Sarah Bertovich at (412)-441-4442 ext. 3925. For a complete list of all our fall and winter programs, please visit our website.

The above photos were taken by Lisa Xu.

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