Can Children Help Change the Unhealthy Sweet Paradigm

Well boys and girls, it’s that time of year again when we’re faced with choosing how many fine extra curricular clubs and activities to support. High School Teams, Girl Scouts, Rodeo, Jumping Rope for Diabetes…. After years of buying kudos from kiddos I’ve finally developed a spine and some personal criteria for saying yes. For better or not, here it is:
– I must be approached (in person or phone) by the child selling  goods or services.
– If edible, goods must be ‘healthy’ (no high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, sugars as first series of ingredients, etc…)
– A high % if not all proceeds must support local efforts (and ideally local economy) as best as possible

I talk with 1000’s of parents and community members a year, I know I’m not alone. If kids want to sell more to folks like me, then I encourage them to share these criteria and others they think may be helpful, w/ their leaders, and encourage some sort of creative change to broaden their marketing efforts and income.

I understand there are some good lessons and ethics to be learned when children are expected to take this bold initiative to sell things to support their interests. But shouldn’t we as adults take the next step and make sure their efforts really support the bigger picture of their initiative and healthy childhood? Maybe it’s time to change this long engrained (and commercially laden) paradigm.

How about Farm to Scouts (supporting local bakeries and not mass manufactured corn syrup fortified cookies or popcorn). Chocolates for Cheers- selling local chocolates and mixes rather than low quality high calorie candy goods to support the Cheerleader squad. Raking for Racers- raking leaves to support athletic teams (and get in shape while doing it).

Do I sound like a scrooge…? There are groups that get it that I do support. It’s been a fun experiment and interesting feedback from kids and parents. I haven’t seen any community wide changes yet, but I continue to have hopes some entrepreneurial kiddos will run with a creative idea and rake it in big time for their sport or club.

Need a new uniform anyone?

Playful Learning

“I know it’s just a playground, but I love the way the kids are learning in their new space.” Parent observer All too often play gets the short end of the stick, or should I say shortened, due to busy schedules. The purpose of play varies depending on who one interviews, but one thing is… Continue Reading

The Benefit of Playing Like Our Pets

Your household, like mine, may be blessed with a furry companion. One that inherently wants to play, be loved, and love in return. These characteristics are shared amongst us two-leggeds as well. Like our pets, we too are born with a sense of curiosity, an innate ability to express our emotions, and eagerness to please.… Continue Reading

Applied Learning In Action

Wishing your new class would start off working together as well as these 1st graders? They are communicating using Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Mathematics skills to help design a bird habitat near their school grounds. Applied learning at its finest (and the avian population benefits too!). There’s really nothing like real life application of… Continue Reading

7 Simple Tips for Outdoor Play

It seems simple, right? Children are innately curious so playtime outdoors should be a natural fit. Surprisingly however, kids today are spending less and less time outdoors, replaced with over 7.5hrs in front of an electronic screen every day. Time exploring and playing outdoors helps children develop self confidence, fine and gross motor skills, creativity,… Continue Reading

Retrieving Our Connection

The screens children spend over 7.5 hours a day plugged into get more use than the screen door that leads them to their abandoned back yard. The most recent two generations are more disconnected with nature than any previous to them. How did we get so far removed from a world we are so intricately dependent on? Technology has its time, place and benefits, however, at what cost? Continue Reading

Youth Have Spoken- Great American Outdoors

Our nation’s youth have spoken. Now it’s up to us to listen to what you’ve said. Last year I attended a Great American Outdoors Community Gathering. I was excited that the Obama administration even had this initiative on their agenda. I was uncertain as to where it would go from there. It’s nice to see… Continue Reading

Seeing is Believing, Doing Creates Action

Recent Bozeman Daily Chronicle articles on the Obama Administration’s ‘Protecting The Great Outdoors’ initiative, controversial wildlife management strategies, Opinion letters on eliminating ‘Entitlement’ programs like parks, and kids going bonkers in the classroom w/o recess to play… are all reminders of how important the outdoors is to Montana’s livelihood and lifestyles. Whether you were one… Continue Reading

Water wise landscape expo and conference

Water conservation and wise use should be at the core of all landscape designs, but often it looks like there’s no regard for these principles what so ever. Folks in the desert generally lead the way in wise water use, for a good reason- they generally don;t have much to work with! For ideas on… Continue Reading