Get Moving: How to Create Long-Term Change in Your Family’s Health & Fitness

Screen time vs. Playtime: How Our Kids Are Losing the Battle

Screens are everywhere and they aren’t going away. Ten years ago, televisions and video games were the only things competing for our kids’ attentions. Today smart phones and tablets are joining the competition and screen time is beginning to dominate the days’ hours. Quite simply, the stats are alarming: school-age kids spend an average of 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen, according to a 2010 study by the Kaiser Foundation. Younger kids ages 2-5 are also seeing a great deal of screens, as the Nielsen Company recently reported they average more than 4 hours a day. The most alarming part? Screen time has been linked to an array of childhood health issues; one study showed that for every hour of television per day, children consume an additional 167 calories. Another study showed a strong link between screen time and an increased risk in diabetes in children.

Exercise stimulates many parts of the brain!

Exercise stimulates many parts of the brain! (Source: Aspen Project Play)

Not only is an increase of screen time contributing negatively to kids’ health, but the very presence of it is preventing kids from being outside, a major positive in a child’s life. A 2012 study conducted by Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington found that almost half of preschool kids don’t play outside each day. And unfortunately, the number of inactive grade school kids is even higher according to a study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine in 2011.

On its own, technology isn’t “bad.” But technology isn’t “good” either. Technology just “is” and we need to teach our kids (and perhaps ourselves) that we can live with it and use it without our lives revolving around it. What would that look like for your family? How could your family’s health and wellbeing be affected if you lessened screen time and increased your outdoor playtime instead? We hear these very questions asked often as we meet parents coming in to Happy Backyards looking at outdoor swing sets, trampolines and basketball goals in the hopes of giving their kids even more of a reason to get outside and play!

 

Playsets & Trampolines & Basketball Hoops: The Benefits of Backyard Play Equipment

The lure of the indoors is certainly stronger than ever with TV, video games, smart phones and tablets all vying for your kids’ attention. But the advantages of outdoor play vastly outnumber those of indoor “play” so it’s critical that you get your kids outside! In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that unstructured play is critical to the health of our kids. Here are just a few of the benefits they have found:

Physical Benefits: Playing outdoors has been shown to engage and increase muscle strength and coordination and enhance kids’ ability to complete various physical skills. Plus, exercise is paramount to staying healthy; it strengthens the immune system and increases vitamin D levels, which are important for reducing the chances of diseases like osteoporosis and diabetes.

Mental Benefits: Playing outdoors engages kids’ minds and imaginations. It has also shown to provide better focus in the classroom and increase critical thinking skills.

Emotional Benefits: It’s hard to believe that kids in elementary school deal with anxiety and depression, but unfortunately it’s true. Outdoor play has been proven to reduce stress levels and increase a child’s ability to deal with stress. Outside play can also be a source of self-confidence leading to better self-image.

Social Benefits: Being outdoors provides your kids with more opportunities to meet other kids and teaches them skills like negotiation and conflict resolution. These types of skills are critical to thriving in group environments throughout their lives.

Convinced yet? Beyond just the generalized benefits of outdoor play equipment, playsets, trampolines and basketball hoops all have their own specific benefits for kids and families as well.

ProView 660

ProView 660

THE BENEFITS OF BASKETBALL GOALS:

– Meaningful Family Time: A kids basketball goal is something that everyone in the family can enjoy, no matter their age or skill level – especially with an adjustable goal. And there are fun basketball games to play whether you have two family members or 10 family members playing together.

– Improved Coordination: Basketball is great for full-body exercise and hand-eye coordination improvement. So even if your kids aren’t looking to be the next LeBron James, they’ll benefit from having a basketball goal in their driveway.

THE BENEFITS OF TRAMPOLINES

– Efficient Exercise: NASA’s Journal of Applied Physiology cites a study that reports that rebounding exercise is 68% more efficient than jogging. So this means that one hour of jumping on the trampoline would provide your kids with better health benefits than jogging or running for that same amount of time.

Springfree Trampoline

Springfree Trampoline

Increased Bone Mass. Studies have shown that the action of jumping and landing actually increases bone mass for people of all ages. Overtime, this action can be hard on feet, legs, joints and back, but doing this action in a low-impact environment like the trampoline gives you the benefits without the long-term consequences.

– Steadier Balance: Jumping up and down naturally stimulates the vestibule in the middle ear, helping the body to find balance naturally. Jumping can also help muscles with coordination and balance as well.

Original Fort

Original Fort

THE BENEFITS OF PLAYSETS:

Increased Strength and Flexibility: Playing on outdoor swing sets helps kids to increase their muscle strength, coordination and flexibility through things like swinging, sliding and climbing.

– Creative Outlets: If you’ve ever watched kids playing on outdoor playsets, you won’t be surprised to know that kids who play outdoors have more active imaginations and are more creative than their peers who spend more time indoors.

– Improved Fine and Gross Motor Skills: Doing activities like climbing on outdoor playsets and playing sports helps kids to increase their fine and gross motor skills.

To summarize, kids who play outside are in better physical shape than their peers. This also equates to better long-term health that lowers their future risk for diseases like Type 2 Diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Plus, being outdoors is a great way for kids to get Vitamin D and strengthen their immune systems. And whether they’re playing on outdoor playsets, trampolines or doing other activities together, playing with others increases kids’ social development.

 

60 Minutes a Day of Play: How to Get Your Family, School and Community Moving

To ensure that short-term changes turn into long-term lifestyle change in your family, you’ll need some accountability in the form of people to walk along side of you. Here are some of our favorite FREE programs that you could use not only within your own family but in your community, schools and neighborhood, too.

 

play60-thumb2NFL Play 60: The NFL’s Play 60 program was launched in 2007, focusing on encouraging kids to participate in active play for at least 60 minutes a day. The NFL Play 60 site has great ideas for getting kids moving throughout the day and offers various school programs for your school to commit to implanting throughout the school year. Those programs, along with more information about the mission of NFL Play 60, can be found here.

 

logo_LMASNike’s Let’s Move Schools: Similar to the NFL Play 60 program, Nike’s Let’s Move Schools program challenges schools to get kids moving for at least 60 minutes every day by implementing before, during and after school programs. The site has good ideas for getting kids active as well as great information on building a framework for a more active school. There’s also helpful information for how school administrators, parents and the community can get involved in helping to make this a reality. Learn more here.

 

getfittnGet Fit TN: Get Fit TN began as a response to the rising epidemic of obesity and Type 2 diabetes in the state. Their site offers free, easy-to-use tools and calculators to keep track of your health and fitness milestones. There are also separate sections for teachers and kids as well as a place to invite friends and family to join with you in group challenges and accountability. Sign up for your free account here.

Setting goals, changing your priorities, finding accountability and making steady and small changes to your lifestyle are all critical to ensuring that your health changes “stick.” And while adding in activity is essential, unfortunately, making changes just to your family’s activity level alone is not enough.

 

Healthy Snacks and Meals: A Critical Component to Long-Term Health

We’ve discussed the necessity of exercise in the form of outdoor play, as well as the role that backyard play equipment plays in this equation but the other critical component is oftentimes the hardest to change: eating. For some families, snack time is the hardest to tackle as it’s much easy to grab pre-packaged snack options that may be high in sugar, salt and fat content. If you struggle with healthy snack options, here are a few links to easy and healthy snacks to keep on hand for your kids to munch on after school or throughout the day:

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Source: The Kitchnn

 

Apple Sandwiches

Fruit Pizza

Celery Sticks

 

 

 

For those who struggle more with meal times – planning and prepping healthy dinner options when it’s often much easier to just pick up a pizza – there are many helpful meal-planning websites that make it easier than ever to prepare and serve your family healthy meals most nights of the week. Here are a few of our favorite meal-planning sites:

Once a Month Meals: For a small monthly fee, Once a Month Meals offers a variety of different menus and recipes to help you feed your family a healthy meal every night of the week. Once you build your weekly, bi-weekly or monthly menu (with options for paleo, gluten-free, etc.), you can spend just one day prepping and freezing food so that your day-of mealtime prep is quick and easy.

eMeals: Similar to Once a Month Meals, for a small monthly fee, eMeals sends you healthy tried-and-true menus that your kids will love, complete with a grocery list and through prep instructions. When you know ahead of time what you’re putting on the dinner table each night, it’s easier to stick to the plan and serve a healthy meal.

Plan to Eat: Plan to Eat is another fee-based monthly meal planning service, but it allows you to pull recipes from blogs and websites and uses those recipes to build a grocery list and directions that simplify your meal prepping and shopping. If your Pinterest page is full of recipes that you’ve never actually made, this site may be the conduit for actually getting those healthy meals onto your table!

While making changes to your family’s eating habits may feel difficult at first, they will adapt quickly and you’ll be encouraged by the changes you will see in your overall health and wellness!

 

Making Change Stick: Moving Forward Into Long-Term Lifestyle Change

Changing the trajectory of our family’s health and overall wellbeing is certainly no easy task. It starts with making changes to the way we view media and screen time and then taking steps to be more active in our every day lives. For your family, it may mean a major 180 on how you eat and what you’re eating. For another family it may mean cutting down on screen time and increasing outdoor play. For most families, it will be a combination of both of these. Once your family makes these changes, look for other families within your neighborhood, school and community to join in with you and support you in these changes. Small changes now can mean big changes and payoff in the future and for generations to come!

Happy Backyards wants to partner with you and your family by offering the highest quality and safest backyard play equipment available. If we can ever help your family with the purchase of a playset, trampoline and/or basketball hoop that’s right for you, we’d be happy to help. We specialize in helping you choose what’s best for your kids, your space and your budget so that your backyard will always be a happy backyard!

Happy Backyards sells and installs only the safest and highest quality residential playground equipment, basketball goals, and trampolines for your own home. We are a local company and have been doing it for more than 20 years with a focus on quality products, quality service, and competitive low pricing. 

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Ultimate Backyard Playset Activities

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 1.01.19 PMSpring is here and summer won’t be far behind it so we see lots of backyard playset time in your family’s future! While your playset is sure to keep your kids busy and entertained for hours, inevitably you’ll hear the phrase “I’m bored!” before we ever even get to June! With the prevalence of technology in our world now, parents can be quick to satisfy their kids’ “I’m bored” with video games, smartphone apps and television shows, but more and more studies are showing that our kids NEED to be bored. When left on their own, kids can be creative and engage their brains in the play and imagination that they need. So when your kids come complaining in a few weeks, send them back out to the backyard with some of these games to play and help them think of new creative ways to use their playset:

Relay Races. Hand over an old-fashioned stopwatch and let them set up a relay race using the playset and some toys from the garage. Kids can time each other as they climb the rock wall, do the monkey bars, swing a certain number of times on the swings and then slide down the slide. Encourage them to try over and over again and so that they can decrease their time with each attempt. With older kids, increase the difficulty by providing them with a blindfold to wear while they navigate the course!

Water Park. Turn on the sprinklers and put the kids in swimsuits! Add a baby pool to the bottom of the slide and point the sprinklers towards the swings and your kids will soon be “swingin’ in the rain!”

Fort Building. Throw out some blankets, sheets and clothespins and let kids run wild with building forts! They could cover the sides and front of the playset for a secret hideout or attach clothesline from the playset to a nearby tree to create a puppet theater or home base and jail for tag games.

Painting. If you have younger kids, a bucket of water and some paintbrushes can keep them busy for hours. Encourage them to “paint” the playset with water and then start on your fence when they’re done with that!

Imagination Games. When kids use their imaginations, the playset can turn into any number of fun things: a pirate ship, jail, house, store, lemonade stand and lighthouse, just to name a few! Keep a bin of random items (cups, bowls, sticks, etc.) in your garage and allow your kids to use them to aid in their play.

What games and activities do your kids enjoy doing on their playset?

Looking to add or upgrade your current playset before summer? Stop by Happy Backyards in Franklin to see which of our models might be the best fit for your family!

Happy Backyards sells and installs only the safest and highest quality residential playground equipment, basketball goals, and trampolines for your own home. We are a local company and have been doing it for more than 20 years with a focus on quality products, quality service, and competitive low pricing. 

Create March Madness in Your Own Driveway

basketball-157925_960_720If you follow college basketball at all, you know that we’re in the midst of March Madness and the field has already been narrowed down to the Sweet Sixteen with the top two teams competing for the championship on April 3rd. If you have a young basketball fan in your home, March Madness is a great time to get them involved in the tournament! In addition to having them fill out a tournament bracket to guess who will win each game, here are a few other ways to create some March Madness in your very own home:

– Plan your own March Madness basketball tournament. Invite your friends and neighbors over for a “pick-up game” tournament. Depending on the number of players, divide the teams evenly and create a bracket for the event. Teams can play for 10-15 minutes each within any parameters that you develop and will continue to play until there is a winner!

– Throw a March Madness party. Even if your favorite team isn’t in the tournament, you can still throw a party that everyone will enjoy! Invite your friends and neighbors to dress up in their favorite team colors and have them guess the final outcomes of the games. Round out your event by serving basketball-themed foods; Pinterest is a wealth of information for things like this!

– Organize a night of basketball games. If you don’t have enough people to create an entire tournament as mentioned above, play these games with just your family or invite some friends and neighbors to join in the fun. Here are some of our favorite games that kids and adults of all ages will enjoy:

  1. Gotcha – Everyone begins by lining up behind the free throw line (or a line of your choosing). The first two players have basketballs and the first person in line shoots to make a basket. Once the first person shoots, the second person in line can shoot his or her basketball, too. Once the first person makes a basket, the ball is passed to the third person in line and then the second basketball is passed to the fourth person and so on down the line. The goal is to try to make a basket before the person in front of you makes theirs, thus knocking them out of the game. The game continues until only one winner remains in the game.
  2. Hot Shot Shooting – Designate ten shooting spots at different places around the goal, using sidewalk chalk or tape to assign a points value to each spot. (For example, spots close to the goal may be worth 5 points whereas a 3-point shot could be worth 15 points.) Each player then gets 10 shots and can choose to use them at each of the designated spots. The other players keep a running tally of the score and the player with the most final points is deemed the winner.
  3. Twenty-One – Each player is on his or her own, with the goal being to be the first player to score 21 points. The first player gets the ball behind the 3-point line and tries to score. The defensive players try to keep the player from scoring; if the player scores, he or she gets the ball back again. The ball changes possession when a defensive player steals or rebounds the ball. The offensive player can score 2 or 3-point shots and the first person to score 21 points is the winner.

And don’t forget that you can celebrate March Madness by stopping by Happy Backyards to check out all of our new basketball goals!

Happy Backyards sells and installs only the safest and highest quality residential playground equipment, basketball goals, and trampolines for your own home. We are a local company and have been doing it for more than 20 years with a focus on quality products, quality service, and competitive low pricing. 

Why You Should Buy Your Teen a Basketball Hoop

Basketball hoops are great additions to your home no matter how old your kids are! But if you’ve got teens in your home, a basketball hoop can be beneficial in many different ways. Here are five great reasons to consider buying your teenager a basketball hoop:

goalrilla-gs60Basketball keeps your teens at home and out of trouble. As you well know if you have teenagers, oftentimes teens can get themselves into trouble simply because they’re bored and looking for something fun to do! When you have a basketball goal at your home, teens can safely find fun in their very own driveway.

A basketball hoop can help your house be the “fun house.” Teenagers usually gravitate towards fun and food, so when your house has both, it’s certainly the perfect combination! When you have teens you know how hard it can be to keep track of where they are and with whom they’re hanging out. But when your house is the “hang out house,” you can get to know your kids’ friends as well as know where they are.

Basketball is fun for the whole family, including parents and younger children. If you have kids that are a wide range of ages you know how difficult it can be to find activities that the family as a whole can enjoy together. Basketball is one such activity that kids can enjoy from toddlers to teenagers and beyond! Purchasing an adjustable goal ensures that your entire family can enjoy the game together for years to come.

Basketball gets teens moving. If you have a teenager who resorts to watching television and playing video games, you know if can be difficult to get them off the couch and moving, which can help to improve both their physical and emotional health. A basketball hoop in your driveway gives them a way to unwind and relax while getting them off of their technology devices.

Basketball encourages critical thinking skills. Teenagers probably won’t even realize that they’re also using their brains in addition to their bodies when they’re playing basketball! If they’re playing by themselves, they’re calculating angles and distances without even realizing it. When they’re playing with others, they’re learning to communicate and work as a team.

If you would like to buy a basketball hoop for your teenager, stop by Happy Backyards in Franklin to check out the variety of goals that we offer!

Happy Backyards sells and installs only the safest and highest quality residential playground equipment, basketball goals, and trampolines for your own home. We are a local company and have been doing it for more than 20 years with a focus on quality products, quality service, and competitive low pricing. 

Nashville Swing Sets : Supreme Dual Powerhouse

Treat your kids to one of these amazing Nashville swing sets this Christmas! Any park or playground will be a let down after they’ve played on this in their own backyard; they’ll never want to leave home again! The Supreme Dual Powerhouse’s features grow with your child so if you have kids of different ages and want to invest in a swing set that will last your family for their entire childhood and beyond, this is the set for you!

Made of 100% all natural premium Pacific Cedar wood, the swing set will splinter less than less hardy sets made of pine or North American timber. Plus solid (not glued) timber and rust proof hardware helps to ensure that this playset will still be safe even after many years of hard play.

Nashville Swing Sets

Dual 6.5 foot high decks anchor the Supreme Dual Powerhouse. A solid wood roof covers one deck while a heavy duty canopy roof fully covers the other.

A crawl tunnel connects the two decks for easy flow no matter how many kids at on the playset at one time.

Dual 13 foot wave slides provide a fun exit from each of the decks and are great fun for kids of all ages.

For those who want a challenge, two rockwalls with attached climbing ropes lead up to each of the decks. For those who want to take the easier route, ladders with hand rails also lead up to each of the decks.

The 9.5 foot swing beam provides ample space for two belt swings along with a knotted rope and disc. But with universal attachments for swings and accessories, the options for customization are endless. Plus, swing chains are vinyl dipped to protect small fingers from pinching and extreme temperatures.

An accessory arm with trapeze bar adds extra fun while a ship’s wheel at the helm easily lends itself to large childhood imaginations.

Underneath the swing set (with a 6.5 foot clearance), a 360-degree tire swing and a 3-in-1 picnic table complete the set’s amenities.

Key Dimensions:

Footprint: 40’ Long x 19’ Wide

Overall height: 13.5’ Tall

Deck sizes: 5’x5’

Happy Backyards sells and installs only the safest and highest quality residential playground equipment, basketball goals, and trampolines for your own home. We are a local company and have been doing it for more than 20 years with a focus on quality products, quality service, and competitive low pricing.