Think about your parents for a minute. Are there some phrases or things they said to you or your siblings repeatedly? When I think about my mom and dad, here are a few of the things that stand out to me:
“Dang, Tina!” – A cross between “Dang, Gina” from the sitcom Martin and Tina the llama from Napoleon Dynamite.
“You’re killing me, James” – my mom mistakenly quoting Sandlot
“I love a challenge” – my mom anytime my siblings or I said we weren’t doing something she told us to do.
Well, now thanks to my mom, Kora loves a challenge too. It all started a couple of weeks ago when we went to visit the grandparents. Kora and two of her cousins were playing in the yard with my mom. She started giving them challenges that they needed to complete:
- Run and touch three trees and come back
- Run and touch something red and come back
- Sit in two different chairs and come back
I was completely surprised by how much the kids enjoyed these challenges – they were begging for more. It’s always the simplest things that the kids seem to love most. (My mom always joked that as kids we would always compliment her more on her dinners of macaroni and cheese with BBQ hot dogs than on meals where she would slave away in the kitchen.)
The next day, while playing inside, Kora and her cousins asked for some more challenges. I will admit that some of the challenges were legitimate and some of the challenges were used to help clean up the toy area a little – ‘I challenge you to find three blue toys and put them on the shelf’. I did challenge the five year old to find a toy shaped like a triangle. He searched for a little while and then he found a toy fence that he shaped into a triangle – clever little guy!
Since our visit, Kora has continued to ask me for challenges. Anywhere we go, she wants a challenge. We went to a splash pad with some friends one day, and I think she got one of her friends hooked on challenges. They had so much fun filling a bucket and dumping it on their heads and getting splashed by three different sprayers.
We’ve done challenges at the park and challenges at the mall. Here’s Kora trying to make a tower of checkers:
Completing challenges is one of those activities that I absolutely love. It can be done anywhere, you just adapt the challenge to your environment. It can also be played with any number of people and any age range can be challenged. The challenges can also be used as a learning tool. The challenges can ask kids to find a certain number of items (counting) or to find certain shapes, colors, letters, etc. Outdoor challenges are a great way for kids to get exercise as well as improve coordination and balance.
I challenge you to use Challenges with your kid this week. But fair warning: they might get addicted! I’d love to hear how you used challenges with your family.
Since the beginning of the year, I have been doing monthly exercise challenges. Over the years I have found that wanting to exercise or start working out again wasn’t enough to actually follow through on any long term exercising. When I say to myself, ‘I’m going to get shape,’ running is usually my exercise of choice. I run for a couple of days, maybe a couple of weeks, and then I get burned out. And then the cycle continues.
This year I decided that I was going to choose a different 30 day exercise challenge each month to help keep me motivated. The challenges usually start out pretty easy at the beginning and then gradually get harder and harder. It’s not the most intense workout or anything, but it’s better than no exercise at all.
I think the simply fact that it’s called a ‘challenge’ is motivating for me. As a kid, my mother was always telling me and my brothers that she loved a challenge. I am the same way! It’s a challenge, and I will be successful. It also helps knowing that it is only for 30 days. There is a concrete end to the challenge and I can count down the days. I actually use a notebook to document the days I complete the challenge. Having a visual aid is very motivating for me to keep working hard. I don’t like having a missing day on my page, so it pushes me to get my workout done.
A couple of weeks ago, my sister-is-law happened to send me a How to Get into the Splits in 30 Day Challenge, and I’ve decided I’m going to try it! I have always wanted to do the splits, but I’m not very flexible (as you can clearly see below). In fact, I’ve never been very flexible. This is going to be super hard! But I’m going to try it.
If I manage to master the splits in 30 days, you better believe I will be posting proof. I will be posting proof all over the place! If I’m not successful in 30 days, I will probably repeat the challenge until I’m successful. And then I’ll post proof! Wish me luck!