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7 Ways 'Frozen' Can Inspire Kids to Move
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If you’ve already seen the new Disney film, you’ll be able to guess why we love it so much: all the characters are physically literate and active! They skate, slide, and rock climb. Even the adorable snowman, Olaf, gets moving.

Adapted from Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, Frozen is a delightful tale of two sisters and the power of love over fear. It takes place in northern Europe (fjords are mentioned, so it’s not a stretch to figure it’s Norway). While the story takes place in summer, the land becomes gripped in an unnatural freeze, making it the perfect movie to celebrate winter.

You can use the actions of Anna and big sister Elsa to inspire your children to try some movement skills this winter, too. After you’ve watched the film with your family, why not plan your own outdoor winter activity fun?

Here are seven ways Frozen can inspire your kids to get moving:

  1. Jumping: At the beginning of the movie, Anna leaps gracefully from one snow drift to another as quickly as Elsa can create them with her winter magic. If there’s no snow where you are, take your pick from this list of activities that develop jumping skills.
  2. Running and dancing: Anna dashes and dances through the palace. While singing, no less. Challenge kids to choreograph and perform their favourite songs. But be warned, entrepreneurial types might charge admission.
  3. Horseback riding: When she sets out to find Elsa, who has run away from the kingdom, Anna rides her horse. Later, she and Kristoff ride Sven the reindeer. Though you might not have a horse or reindeer handy in the middle of winter (or ever, for that matter), your kids can certainly pretend to be one.
  4. Snow hiking: Anna tromps through some deep snow. Kristoff wears special shoes—like snowshoes—that help him walk on top of the snow. Recreate Anna and Kristoff’s adventures with a family hike (and, no hiking is not just for summer!)
  5. Rock climbing: Anna doesn’t get very high, but she’s certainly eager to get to the top of the mountain. Later, she and Kristoff have to rappel down a cliff face. Rock climbing takes balance. If there’s no rock face to scale where you live, work on improving this important skill.
  6. Sliding: Anna and Kristoff slide down snowy mountains as well as Olympic lugers. Suit up and head to the nearest snow covered hills or local park with slides.
  7. Skating: We don’t want to give any special endings away, but maybe, just maybe, your kids will also be inspired to learn how to skate. Make sure you have your skates sharpened too because even for grown ups who haven’t skated since they were kids, skating is a great winter sport.
Active for Life is a leading promoter of children’s physical literacy to help parents raise active and healthy kids. In response to increased rates of child obesity and sedentary behaviour, Active for Life was formed in 2011 to give parents the tools to help their children develop skills and habits for lifelong physical activity. At the core of the initiative is the idea that every child deserves to be physically literate. Active for Life is a social enterprise of B2ten, a Canadian organization formed to promote sport and athlete development in Canada. For more information, visit Active for Life.
Comments | Tagged under health, movies, exercise, wellness
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Is It OK to Pull Your Child Out of School to Travel?
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I don’t believe I am alone in saying that one of the things I like least about travel are airports—especially during peak periods when students and their families flock south to escape the cold of winter. There are always long line ups, delays and—depending on the weather conditions at home—chaos. My preference is to travel during the school year when both airports and tourist attractions are less attended. The problem with this, of course, is that my daughter will miss days at school. Things are even more complicated now that our older daughter has graduated university and is in the working world.  When we want to travel as a family, we need to also consider when she can get time off. Being self-employed has many pros, one of which is that my husband and I can both plan time off work as we wish, so at least that doesn’t have to factor into our equation.

When a good friend approached a teacher to talk about her daughter missing two weeks of school for a trip to Europe, the teacher was actually encouraging. She told my friend what I believe too, which is that depending on where you are vacationing, there’s a whole lot to learn by actually being up close and personal with historical places, monuments, and different cultures and people. Actually seeing the Mona Lisa in The Louvre or standing beside the Eiffel Tower can’t compare to learning about it in History class. This, along with the opportunity to practise one’s French and the exposure to different cultures and traditions, all enriches a child’s life. I realize that not everyone is going to Paris on vacation, but even taking a road trip with one’s family to another part of the country can be eye opening and complements learning at school.

Planning a trip with your children at a time other than when there is a planned break from school is not taken lightly by most parents. There are several factors to consider when doing so. To make your job easier, I’m suggesting the acronym FLAG to help you remember some of the most important considerations when making your decision.

Frequency. How often do you take your child out of school to vacation with you? If it’s infrequent, then your child will likely not fall behind their classmates as a result of your vacation. If, however, they miss school too often as a result of travelling, then your child might get the impression that you don’t believe school is important.

Length. How many days of school will your child be missing? If it’s just a few, then there will be less to catch up on. If they are missing a whole week or more, then this might make catching up more difficult.

Ability. How capable is your child, and more importantly, how capable does your child feel about being able to catch up to the rest of the class upon their return? If they hate missing even one day of school for fear of missing a class, then their anxiety might not be worth the trip. After all, they are the one who has to get caught up.

Grade. Depending on their age and grade, there may be more or less work to catch up on and concepts may be more or less difficult. It stands to reason that missing a few days of kindergarten, for example, may be less problematic than missing a week of grade eight.

Whatever you decide, happy vacationing!

Image of boy in airport from Shutterstock.

Sara Dimerman is a psychologist and provides counselling to individuals, couples and families. She is one of North America's most trusted parenting and relationship experts and the author of three books: Am I a Normal Parent?, Character is The Key and How Can I Be Your Lover When I'm Too Busy Being Your Mother?: The Answer to Becoming Partners Again. Learn more or listen to advice from Sara and her colleagues by searching for 'helpmesara' podcasts on iTunes or visiting www.helpmesara.com. Follow Sara on Twitter @helpmesara.
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