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8 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids For Halloween

8 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids For Halloween

While traditional methods of celebrating Halloween by letting your children wander the neighborhood are becoming less advisable because of safety concerns, you can still find ways to make the upcoming holiday exciting and fun for young children.

Creative parents can come up with of some fun DIY activities that the whole family can enjoy.

Here are 8 Ways to Make Halloween Fun for Your Kids:

1. Decorate pumpkins

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rsz_1pumpkins_courtesy_of_poppet_with_a_camera_at_fickr_creative_commons

    Every kid loves to pick out their own pumpkin at the grocery store or a local produce stand. As a mother of 3 children, I have always let it be an opportunity for them to express themselves by picking the kind that appeals to them, whether it is big or little or odd shaped, doesn’t matter. Decorating the pumpkins can be a great family tradition to build on every year.

    For young children, especially, I do not recommend carving the pumpkins. This can be a risk for injuries. If you just buy them as is, and decorate the outside, the pumpkins will last longer. There are so many neat ways to dress up pumpkins. You can use markers, glitter glue, acrylic paint, buttons, beads, various kinds of string, cords and cloth. Anything and everything can make pumpkin look cool.

    Try new ways to decorate them every year to make the event more fun. Let the children drawn their own designs and be supportive and excited by what they come up with, so they can feel proud of their original art.

    2. Fix up the yard

    Here is one of the easiest ways to celebrate Halloween. Use the trees or shrubs in your yard to hang lights, figurines or ghosts. You can even have of all different types. As long as you have a photo that can be converted to a digital file, there are many places to order figurines from that will look lifelike and scary, especially when they have lights around them. Use your imagination and let the children help with the yard decor.

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    How about a wheelbarrow full of dirt and a skeleton? Or you could create what looks like an old graveyard. Use whatever you have on hand and get the whole family involved. If you have a front porch you can make it look like a spooky mansion. You can hang cobwebs, bats, lights and decorate with various kinds of homemade candles. You can make a scarecrow type of figure that sits in a chair. Welcome anything your kids can think of as a good idea, as long as it is safe.

    3. Make their own costumes

    Help the children decide on the type of costume they want. This is one of the funnest things for them to do. Give them a few ideas, based on movies or toys they own and see what you can come up with together. Face painting is more fun than making masks and it is inexpensive. Visit the nearest dollar store and let the kids shop for cheap decorations they want. Stores are a great place to visit, just for ideas. You could buy already made costumes, or you can get ideas, and after visiting goodwill stores, buy enough inexpensive items to make up the costumes yourself.

    4. Bake treats together

    Any holiday is better with some kind of treat you can let your children make with you in the kitchen. Some ideas you can do are baking various kinds of cookies, muffins, or desserts made with fruit and yogurt, or ice cream. You could also do caramel apples. The funnest part will be using nuts, candy, and other toppings to decorate your items with. Here are some other ideas for baking. You can also do various kinds of crafts and there are tons of ideas to choose from on the internet.

    5. Have a sleepover

    The most exciting thing you can do for your kids is to help them plan a sleepover for Halloween. At any age, kids love to have their friends over from school, church or daycare. It may take a little time to plan it out, but believe me, it is the best thing you can do. You can make the invitations by hand, help them decide who to invite, and talk over ideas about possible craft activities to have or games to play. You might even want to choose a party theme.

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    For younger aged children, as parents, you will need to do most of the planning, but as your children get older, let them take over the responsibilities. Teach them to learn about the costs involved in putting a party together, so they won’t go crazy with ideas, and they will learn to stay within a budget limit you decide.

    6. Make a spooky room

    image courtesy of slworking2 at Flickr

      Even if you don’t have a sleepover, one of the cheapest ways to create Halloween fun, is to use one room in your house as a spooky room. You and your children can decorate it in outrageous ways, like putting up cardboard forms, boxes and other decor, and plastering the room with spider webs and mini lights. Make sure the lights are not too close to any other materials that could be a fire hazard. One idea is to make the entry to the room so small, that the children have to squeeze in there and go through a type of maze.

      7. Get teens involved

      An easy way to up the level of fun at your party, or even if you don’t have a party planned, is to get your teenagers involved, or even your neighbor children. Have the older children dress up in scary costumes and surprise the younger ones by popping out suddenly and chasing them around in a game of touch tag. It’s easy, it’s fun and it will be very exciting for the youngsters.

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      8. Make a scary video

      Homemade videos are another project you could do. With most cell phones, you can easily make a video of just about anything. You can record all the activities your family does together, or you can work on things with your children, and have an older child operate the phone or video camera. There are many ideas for making fun videos and having contests during the party is one idea of the activities you could record.

      Summary

      No matter what you choose from the variety of activities suggested by the 8 ideas above, just make sure to pay attention to how your children deal with stress. A younger child may not be ready for too much excitement. Or, they may get scared and upset by the costumes. Remember to talk to your children ahead of time, to make sure they are OK, with whatever activities that are planned. Keep in mind that the main objective is to spend time together as a family, or for them to get to see their friends. The most important thing you can do is make it simple, good old fashioned fun for everyone.

      Featured photo credit: image courtesy of epSos.de at Flickr Creative Commons via flickr.com

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      Karen Bresnahan

      Photographer/Writer/Artist

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      Published on October 19, 2018

      The Most Critical Do’s and Don’ts of Working Out While Pregnant

      The Most Critical Do’s and Don’ts of Working Out While Pregnant

      Are you scared of working out whilst pregnant? Or simply not sure how to proceed? Everything seems slightly more daunting once you’re carrying and creating a whole other person.

      In this article I will give you specific advice, tips and strategies for working out while pregnant. Ensuring that you, and your baby, are safe. Not only that but you will both benefit.

      Benefits of Working Out While Pregnant

      It is clear that everyone, not just you but your baby, and probably your partner and other kids will benefit from you working out while pregnant. If you’re sleeping better and feel less stress, you can guarantee everyone in the household is going to feel better.

      How you benefit from working out while pregnant:

      • Reduced incidence of lower back pain
      • 30% reduction in the risk of gestational diabetes
      • Reduced likelihood of unplanned cesarian
      • Lower incidence and reduce severity of depression
      • Less pregnancy weight gain
      • Lower risk of urinary incontiennce
      • Reduced pregnancy constipation
      • Less pregnancy tiredness
      • May have a shorter labour

      How your baby benefits from working out while pregnant:

      • A healthier heart
      • Normal birth weight
      • Quicker neurological development
      • Reduced risk of respiratory distress syndrome (for infants of high-risk women)
      • Less maternal stress could reduce impact on immune system development

      Instant Big-Rocks for Working out While Pregnant

      Before we get cracking into what really will benefit, here are some instant ‘big-rocks’ when it comes to working out while pregnant.

      Safety first: Check with your midwife

      Each person and pregnancy is individual – and as I”m not speaking to you in person, the first pre-qualifier is that you check with your doctor that you’re ok to work out while pregnant. In certain circumstances, it is not recommended due to potential complications arising from exercise.

      If you’re new to exercising or have just fallen pregnant do check with your GP or midwife before commencing or recommencing your exercise program.

      Exercise Check In Second – No lying Flat or Crunches

      Crunches are a whole other issue in regards to pre and post natal training that I’ll get into during another article.

      For now, know that lying flat on your back puts pressure on your body, especially after 16 weeks. The weight of your bump pressing on certain blood vessels can reduce cardiac output, make you feel dizzy and affect the flow of blood that carries nutrients and oxygen to your baby.

      While this means traditional stomach crunches are out, you can and should still include core and pelvic floor strengthening exercises in your routine. These I’ll get to later in the article.

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      Third Intensity Check In – No High Intensity Workouts

      When it comes to exercise intensity, it is best to abide by the guideline “to be able to comfortably hold a conversation” whilst working out. Unless you are an athlete and extremely used to very high heart rates whilst you workout, keeping your rate of perceived exertion to a 7 out of 10 is best practice.

      Experts agree that you should avoid undertaking activities that will raise your core temperature by more than 2°C – or above 38.9°C. This is because such a temperature change may result in hyperthermia (the opposite of hypothermia). Hyperthermia during pregnancy has been linked to a twofold increase in the risk of birth defects impacting the spine or brain.

      As such, it is not advisable to use hot tubs or spas during pregnancy, and hot yoga should be avoided as well as parking in only moderate intensity exercise.

      Final & Fourth Point – No high contact/dangerous sports

      For obvious reasons, contact sports or sports in which it’s likely you can fall or have an accident should be avoided.

      For example scuba diving while pregnant should be avoided as your baby will have no protection against decompression sickness (‘the bends’) or gas embolism – bubbles in the bloodstream that can cut off blood supply or cause breathing difficulties.

      Similarly, horse riding, climbing, cycling, gymnastics and other activities that require extreme balance are best avoided as your centre of gravity shifts and affects your balance.

      Certainly, sports like kick boxing, jujitsu or rugby in which contact is prevalent should be avoided for bump protection.

      Actual Workouts You Can Do While Pregnant

      1. Let your personal trainer or group exercise instructor know that you’re pregnant

      In doing so they can assist you in providing expert advice or refer you to a qualified practitioner in your area. If you’re unsure ask your GP or Midwife for a referral.

      2. Use your breath to engage your core and pelvic floor throughout your workout programs

      Your breath plays a big part in controlled core to assist with labour and reduce back pain. We each take thousands of breaths per day, as as your baby grows pressure is placed upon the lungs and pelvic floor.

      Preparing and practicing proper breath ensures that your core remains as integrated and activated as possible throughout and after your pregnancy.

      3. Find a Holistic Core Restore Coach

      The reason the Holistic Core Restore® programmes are more effective than performing keels or traditional abdominal exercise alone for true core restore and pelvic floor activation. A Hollisitc Core Restore Coach will work with you to integrate your core and pelvic floor with your whole body through a series of movements and lifestyle factors.

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      4. Join a Pre & Post Natal Class

      Join a Pre & Post Natal Class in order to move in specific ways designed to boost your health and recovery post birth.

      This not only provides you with a chance to connect with other pre & post natal women in your area to and create a community; but also provides you access to pre & post natal experts who can give you tailored advice for exercising whilst pregnant.

      5. Focus on strengthening the glute muscles

      Focus on strengthening the glute muscles to counteract the anterior tilt produced by your expanding bump.

      Most people will simply focus on keeping the core engaged and active to help the ‘pre-mummy-tummy’ bounce back. When in actual fact the synergist muscle to the core for pelvic stability is the butt.

      Really focus on strengthening the glute muscles in order to support the core, posture and back.

      Hinge movements such as single leg romanian deadlifts are a brilliant way to do so. You can do this holding a Kettlebell or Dumbell but also, once the bump is big enough just using your bodyweight.

      6. Enjoy swimming

      Enjoy swimming, especially in your third trimester, to remove weight and boost lymphatic drainage of your feet and ankles.

      It’s well known that your ankles swell during the last months of pregnancy. This is due to the changes in posture from the weight of the stomach pulling down towards the floor.

      Consequently, this causes the front of the hip to become compressed. And this in turn reduces circulation of the lymphatic fluid in the lower body.

      One way to improve this circulation is to get into water as the pressure from the water removes the weight of the bump whilst providing pressure to the legs improving circulation.

      7. Bring layers to your workouts

      Bring layers to your workouts so that you can add and remove layers as you warm up and cool down.

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      As previously mentioned, changes in body temperature can be dangerous for the baby – using layers so that you can keep your temperature constant is one the the most simple and best things you can do whilst working out while pregnant.

      8. Practice the 7 fundamental primal movement patterns in your workouts

      Practice the 7 fundamental primal movement patterns in your workouts – squat, lunge, anti-rotate, push, carry, hinge, pull.

      “We love pregnant mamas to be regularly training their squats, since a low squat is the ideal position for working through contractions and pushing during labor.”

      They also improve pelvic floor strength and elasticity to help prevent tearing during the natural labor process and teach abdominal strength relative to hip mobility for an easier labor and faster postnatal recovery.

      Kiberd and her team prefer front squats done with at least a 12-kilogram kettlebell held at the chest. (Choose an appropriate weight for your level.)

      “The kettlebell gives great feedback to the muscles that need to engage to stand you back up and to stabilize your weight while you’re down in the squat,” she explains.

      And once the bump gets big? “No weight on the front is needed,” she says. “The belly is that natural weight.”

      9. Do exercise that your enjoy

      Because really if you’re enjoying it so will bump and you’ll feel less stressed.

      Do not making working out while pregnant a chore – if it becomes that way, seek advice from an expert in your gym or area on some new varied things that you can try.

      10. Practice anti-rotation exercises

      Practice anti-rotation exercises whilst focussing on the breath for core integration and activation.

      The Palloff press (a core stabilizer done on a cable machine) and the bear crawls offer the same degree of effectiveness.

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      “These two exercises engage the external and internal obliques, which are involved in stabilizing the torso in rotation and help stabilize the shoulders down and back.”

      11. Make sure to wind down properly

      Cooling down slowly after your workouts and providing a little leeway time before your next appointment will reduce your stress levels and help you feel more balanced.

      It will also stop sharp changes in body temperature that are non-beneficial to your baby.

      Take your time and enjoy each session for what it is.

      The Bottom Line

      You will have to make fitness modifications as your body changes, but deep down, you know that’s ok. Dr Dawn Harper says

      “We’re now seeing evidence that exercising in pregnancy may be one of the best things you can do for your baby’s future health. Pregnancy exercise can have a huge impact on your personal experience of pregnancy, too. Provided you follow the expert guidelines, it’s safe for most women to continue and even start exercising in pregnancy. Just make sure you check with your midwife or doctor first, in case there are any specific medical reasons why you should avoid being physically active in pregnancy.”

      There are certain things that are essential. The first being to check with your Dr/Midwife to be given the ‘OK’ to exercise.

      There are definite ‘no-nos’ such as abstaining from contact or dangerous sports as well as performing extreme high intensity workouts that bring your heart rate and temperature very, abnormally high for you. It is also contraindicated that you perform any exercises lying on your back.

      The exciting thing is that you can and should exercise. You simply have to adapt to what is possible by seeking advice of a local pre & post natal expert. If you take one sentence away let it be this:

      Focus upon your breath, workout at a 7/10 level, strengthen your glutes and perform whole body integrated exercises preferentially led by a pre & post natal expert.

      And finally, if in doubt, get in the pool for some weight off your feet and relax!

      References

      1. Pennick V, Liddle SD. Interventions for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2013(CD0011):1-100.
      2. Sanabria‐Martínez G et al. Effectiveness of physical activity interventions on preventing gestational diabetes mellitus and excessive maternal weight gain: a meta‐analysis. BJOG 2015;122(9):1167-74.
      3. Price BB et al. Exercise in pregnancy: effect on fitness and obstetric outcomes-a randomized trial. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2012;44(12):2263-9.
      4. Domenjoz I et al. Effect of physical activity during pregnancy on mode of delivery. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2014;211(4):401.e1-e11.
      5. Gaston A, Prapavessis H. Tired, moody and pregnant? Exercise may be the answer. Psychol Health 2013;28(12):1353-69.
      6. Robledo-Colonia AF et al. Aerobic exercise training during pregnancy reduces depressive symptoms in nulliparous women: a randomised trial. J Physiother 2012;58(1):9-15.
      7. Perales M et al. Benefits of aerobic or resistance training during pregnancy on maternal health and perinatal outcomes: A systematic review. Early Hum Dev 2016;94:43-8..
      8. Shi W et al. Epidemiology and risk factors of functional constipation in pregnant women. PloS one 2015;10(7):e0133521
      9. Gaston A, Prapavessis H. Tired, moody and pregnant? Exercise may be the answer. Psychol Health 2013;28(12):1353-69.
      10. Barakata et al. Exercise during pregnancy is associated with a shorter duration of labor. A randomized clinical trial 2018, 224 33-40
      11. May LE et al. Aerobic exercise during pregnancy influences fetal cardiac autonomic control of heart rate and heart rate variability. Early Hum Dev 2010;86(4):213-7.
      12. Bisson M et al. Physical activity volumes during pregnancy: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies assessing the association with infant’s birth weight. AJP Reports 2016;6(02):e170-e97.
      13. Labonte-Lemoyne E et al. Exercise during pregnancy enhances cerebral maturation in the newborn: A randomized controlled trial. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol 2016:1-8.
      14. Muktabhant B et al. Diet or exercise, or both, for preventing excessive weight gain in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2015 Jun 15;(6):CD007145.
      15. Marques AH, Bjorke-Monsen AL, Teixeira AL, Silverman MN. Maternal stress, nutrition and physical activity: impact on immune function, CNS development and psychopathology. Brain Research. 2015;1617:28–46

      Featured photo credit: Jernej Graj via unsplash.com

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