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Take This to “Heart” in February

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There’s a lot going in February.  Rumor is that there is a pretty big football game (you might even call it Super)  to kick things off.  There is also an important and fun holiday full of candy, flowers, and gifts from the heart.  Speaking of hearts, February is also the month that we are encouraged to consider how well we are taking care of that most important organ in our bodies.

JumpBunch has always had the goal of helping kids “build healthy habits early”.  Of course, we primarily focus on the physical activity side of things that is a core part of building a healthy heart.  We also help introduce ideas for healthy nutrition that is essential for having the energy to be physically active.

Being physically active and considering proper nutrition are critical, but being truly “heart healthy” involves a few more things too.  Making sure kids get the proper amount of sleep is a huge component.  Kids need routines, and a consistent sleep schedule is a routine that is invaluable as their bodies grow.  Keeping kids as stress free as possible is also something  worth considering in terms of heart health.  As parents, we create the environments our kids live in, and too often the stress of life can creep in if we let it.

Kids take their cues from Mom and Dad, so here is a great article that lists 12 smart tips to help your kids have the healthiest of hearts.

Get Heart Healthy

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Some Things Can’t Wait for Resolutions

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Some things simply can’t wait for resolutions.  To clarify, we are talking about New Year’s resolutions.  That mythical “starting line” that occurs on January 1 each year can be recreated in any month on any day that you choose.  As parents, we all want our kids to be happy and healthy so we try to put them in position to be active through a variety of programs. However, sometimes we fail to realize that while that is good, the best way to motivate our kids to be active is to give them a good example to follow.

There’s no selfishness in putting a priority on your own fitness as a parent when the reality is that the healthier you are the more you are able to give to your child.  Give…meaning time, interest, attention, and motivation.  It’s only half the equation when you encourage your child to exercise and don’t keep up.  Kids will do what you say because they have to, but they will do what you do because they learn to.

Notice that when airlines are giving their pre-flight safety instructions, they always say to “secure your mask first”, because if you don’t you simply will not be able to help the person depending on you most.  Don’t you think it’s time to apply that same philosophy to keeping yourself active and healthy?  Sounds like a great New Year’s resolution right?  Wrong.  It sounds more like a resolution to begin no matter what day tomorrow is.

Here’s an article with some more thoughts aimed at getting you moving as a busy parent!

Parents Who Exercise…

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Giving Fitness Fun

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Earlier this year one of our posts discussed the fact that healthy habits start at home. A habit is basically an action repeated often enough to become a routine that occurs without any thought. Unfortunately a habit can also be characterized by inaction though. When you choose not to engage with your kids at home in a way that promotes an active and healthy lifestyle, that lack of activity is as much a bad a habit as doing so is a good one.

The holidays and gift giving season creates a wonderful opportunity as parents to do something aimed at ending this year and starting next working on a good habit. We are often asked by parents about the great equipment used in JumpBunch classes. Often, all it takes for the kids to get excited about class is seeing the great things our coaches come in carrying for that day’s lesson plan.

If your child is a JumpBunch student, what better way to engage with them at home in a fun and active way than to share in some of their JumpBunch excitement? With the help of our equipment partner, S&S Worldwide, we have put together a list of great gift ideas from our classes that your kids are sure to recognize. If your child is not currently a JumpBunch student, these are still great items to get started with to build those healthy habits at home. We are even able to pass along some savings to you on our recommended items along with many more. Be sure to check this out but keep in mind this list and special offers are only available through the end of December 2016. JumpBunch Holiday Gift Guide

We hope you enjoy and make the most of your holiday time with your kids. Remember that to them exercise and fun should be one in the same, and the more you can be part of that the happier they will be. All the best this holiday season from JumpBunch!

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Let’s Hear It For the Girls

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A CNN report this year indicated that by age 14 girls begin to drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys.  By age 17, about 51% of girls have stopped playing sports entirely.  70% of those girls that quit simply say they didn’t feel like they belong in sports.  Well, let’s hear it for the girls, because JumpBunch knows they do belong in sports!

We often speak the words “building healthy habits early”.  This statement applies directly to what is described above.   Our classes are not designed to build super athletes or  focus on one particular thing at too early of an age.  Instead, our goal is to simply make sports a fun thing to do.  We hope to build confidence in kids to embrace new things and teach them not to fear but simply to try!  It takes time to build a habit, positive or negative.   So getting kids (boys and girls)  involved in sport and fitness activities early gives you more time to emphasize having fun, being healthy, and doing new things without fear.  When the time comes for them to make their own choices, this experience can help ensure those decisions are based on what they want and not the influence of others who aren’t so sure of themselves.

A girl not feeling like they belong in sports as they get older is simply not an acceptable outcome.  Being confident that “they can” means a girl is less likely to give in and not do something they would likely enjoy regardless of their age.  Sports helps build skills like teamwork, communication, and work ethic that are essential well beyond the games.  Let’s all make sure we are sending the right messages that girls do belong so they walk away with valuable lessons for taking part in sports.  As a parent I understand that I should be the first one to send that message…verbally and visibly.

Enjoy this related video.

 

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American Kids Lag in Worldwide Fitness

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A study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that American kids lag in worldwide fitness tests.  More specifically, when compared to the fitness levels of kids in other countries, U.S. kids ranked 47 out of 50 participating countries.  The study measured aerobic fitness levels using what is referred to as a “beep” test.  Kids ran back and forth between two points until a beep occurs.

The last line of this article says that “it’s not a bad idea for mom and dad to get moving too”. This is indeed the real key.  This study focused on kids ages 9-17.  While JumpBunch programs do work with kids up to about age 12, historically most of our participants are 6 years old and under.  The point?  Healthy habits need to start early and need to be formed through the guidance of mom and dad (that’s the get moving part!).

Once a child gets to the teenage years, and really well before that, they begin to make their own choices about many things and certainly have opinions about everything!  Much of those choices and opinions are based on what was established for them in those early years.  That is when parents were laying the foundation for who they would become.  It can’t be said enough that parents simply need to make an investment to make sure that their kids see and have an opportunity to experience the positive things that come with being active.  Let’s be clear though.  An investment doesn’t have to be monetary.  It can be time planning activities with your kids or simply setting a good example in how you live your own life.  Good choices.  We all know that kids watch and imitate.

If you have an opportunity to be part of a JumpBunch or similar class and can afford it, there is no doubt that this kind of exposure can be a fun, happy way for kids to associate movement, activity, and sports with a healthy approach to life.  We’re not trying to build 5 year old sports stars, and that’s not your goal either.  This article makes a great point that American kids have some work to do.  The real work falls on the parents though.  Set an example, take the time to be involved, and choose to expose your children to things that positively shape their future rather than leaving that to chance.

Read the full article here.

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Exercise Is Education

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Exercise does not just influence the ability to learn in kids, exercise is education!  Back in June, the JumpBunch team had the opportunity at our annual conference to hear from Rae Pica, an expert in the field of child development.  Her message not only reaffirmed that exercise and movement is important, it raised it to an entirely different level of significance.  “Movement feeds the brain” was one of her statement, and this has been scientifically proven.  The mind comes alive with movement and is primed for learning to begin.  So, the classes like JumpBunch offers sets the stage for kids to learn by igniting their brain in preparation for learning.

As significant as that alone is, structured classes and carefully constructed curriculum help tie exercise/movement and learning together to maximize the mutual fitness/education benefits. Sadly, the trend is for the physical part of education to often be sacrificed as the most expendable.  However, the wisest educators are the ones that view the physical movement side as an invaluable component of the learning process.  Consider the examples below that demonstrate so clearly that fitness (and learning) is fun!

Art and Movement:

-motor skills and eye/hand coordination

-self-expression

-concepts of shape, size, lines

 

Language/Reading/Writing and Movement:

-listening skills

-rhythm

-word comprehension (action words, descriptive words, positional words, suffixes, opposites)

-hand/finger activities

 

Math and Movement:

-quantitative concepts (big/little, middle, high/low, together, pair, same length, first/last, etc.)

-number awareness and recognition

-counting and simple computation

-simple geometry (circles, squares, rectangles, etc)

 

Science and Movement:

-exploration and investigation

-problem solving and discovery

-human body ideas (nutrition, hygiene, senses)

-seasons and weather concepts

-role of animals and plants and natural wonders

 

Exercise and movement are education and not just a possible positive influence on it.  Get kids moving and they start learning!

If you wish to learn more about Rae Pica and the great work she does, please visit raepica.com

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JB Sports…What is it?

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The JumpBunch program began with preschool kids, primarily ages 3-6, and this remains our core focus today.   In many of the same schools we were in during the early days, it became obvious there was a lack of programming for toddlers, so our offering expanded to meet a need that is still under served today in many markets.  Over time offerings were made available to school age kids too.  In all of these cases, the JumpBunch program had unique, age specific curriculum that introduced kids to sports and fitness through a new activity each and every week.  The kids absolutely love the anticipation of what fun things they will get to do each week when the class rolled around.   These cores programs remain the anchor of JumpBunch, and our name has become synonymous with fun introduction to sports and building healthy habits early!

As the school age market evolved and expanded, a new brand was introduced called JB Sports.  At first, this program (which is also labeled as Powered by JumpBunch), was exclusively positioned for children beyond age 6.  This allowed us to adapt a little bit and offer more specialized programs for older kids such as month long or session classes that focus on one sport.  True to the core program, the goal was still to introduce a variety of sports and fitness options to kids in non-competitive ways.   However, since older kids have better attention spans, there was a great opportunity (and demand) to spend a little more time learning about the more popular sports before quickly moving on to the next one.  Our crazy 60 Second Challenges were introduced at the same time for another great school age option.

Now, we are thrilled to say that JB Sports is being expanded to take that same mentality of spending a little more time on an individual sport down to the preschool level.  Rest assured, our goal is not to focus on sports specialization as there will be plenty of time for that if desired.  However, we do see and hear an opportunity to teach younger kids a little bit more about great sports in a clinic type fashion where the focus is still on purely having FUN!  That’s exactly why we stay “Powered by JumpBunch”, because it’s important for kids, parents, and schools to know that we are the force behind this and it’s true to our mission of giving kids many options to stay active and healthy.

We are excited to launch our Preschool Clinics this Fall!  So whether it is JB Soccer, JB Basketball, or JB Lacrosse, to name a few, there will be many new options for you to see or maybe even ask for at your school.  JumpBunch is going strong and we hope you now have a better understanding of how JB Sports is going to be working right alongside to continue bringing Sports. Smiles. Fitness. Fun! to kids of all ages.

Check out a sample of some great JumpBunch action with school age kids.

 

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Summer Olympics Are Family “Gold”

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JumpBunch franchisees across the country are preparing for a “golden” opportunity with this year’s Summer Olympics. For a program like ours that showcases a new sport every week, an event like the Olympics where so many varied sports are on display is perfectly aligned with our message. In all Jumpbunch towns there will be Olympic themed classes, camps, and birthday parties all aimed at embracing the vast options our kids have to simply get active with sports and activities that are super fun!

Do you remember the first Olympics you saw? You were probably a child, and if you are anything like me those memories have stayed with you straight through adulthood. In fact, I vividly remember setting up lawn chair hurdles in my backyard and running loops around that yard until dark simply because I was inspired by those athletes. They had obviously been practicing in order to do so well, so that was the day I started practicing too.  While I was never crowned on a medal stand, there is no doubt my love of sports and choice to lead an active lifestyle was in part due to the joy I saw on the faces of Olympic athletes representing my country. That was just too much fun to not be a part of!

I also remember that it was my family that made those Olympics into such a big deal. Kids follow the lead of their parents, and at this point we all know that whether we always stop to acknowledge it or not. I watched the Olympics because my family did. I got excited about the games because they did. I talked about the athletes because my family did too. And I went outside to begin a life of movement that never stopped because that was the example set for me.

We can’t wait every four years to get kids excited about the benefits of an active lifestyle. That choice must be made each and every week, if not each day. When the Olympics do come around, and in particular the Summer Olympics when it is easy to run right outside to act out what you see, you can’t miss that “golden” opportunity. The memories created will not only be good ones, but ones that can turn into a lifetime of healthy and positive choices.

USA!  USA!

http://www.olympic.org/rio-2016-summer-olympics

 

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Healthy Habits Are Built At Home

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One of the primary goals of JumpBunch is to introduce kids to healthy habits early and often.  However, the reality is that healthy habits for kids are truly established at home.  While it is true that JumpBunch can sometimes be the impetus to focus on more active things at home, it works best as a reinforcement and connection to what parents and families are already doing to have fun, be active, and live healthy while together.  At the end of the day it really doesn’t matter which comes first as long as the end result reflects what our tagline says…Sports. Smiles. Fitness. Fun!

So what are some of the specific ways that connection between JumpBunch class and life at home can be made?  Here are a few that we try to focus on!

 

  • Parent Communication:  Our weekly class summary email details for you what sport or activity we are doing in class.  This creates the perfect opportunity to read about the specific things we do so that you can pick right up where class ends and keep the fun going at home!

 

  • Popular Sports & Crazy Games:  We know when it is time for the Super Bowl, the World Cup, the World Series, or the Olympics that your home is full of energy and excitement.  Our lesson plans for sports that everyone knows make an easy connection for the child in class.  We also introduce some lessons that are simply child focused fun that they can bring home to share with you!  Things like Chicken Toss, Crazy Races, and Ball Bonanza come to mind as ones you might hear them mention  Bottom line is that there is something new and fun to share every week!

 

  • Nutrition Components:  While our focus is on sports and fitness, it goes without saying that to be healthy you have to eat healthy.  If kids are hearing this at home, we hope to reinforce that by giving them a chance to show what they know by having a healthy food of the week to talk about during warm ups.  So don’t be surprised if they come home saying, “let’s have some broccoli tonight Mom!”.

 

These are just a few thoughts on how we hope to connect the dots to healthy habits at home.  We often talk about how JumpBunch partners with schools and daycares who host our classes, but the truth is our real partner is you, the parent.  We thank you for letting us do our part when you can’t be with them and hope that your home is full of Sports. Smiles. Fitness……..and Fun!

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out some of our great games right from the website that you can play together at home.  KIDS ZONE

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Nutrition Is Part of Being Active and Happy

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March is National Nutrition Month. Although the JumpBunch program focuses on introducing sports and fitness to kids, you can’t really be fit and active without good nutrition habits! So National Nutrition Month gives us an opportunity to highlight a new option that has recently been added to our curriculum.

Each week, as part of the warm up routine, we now have quick and easy nutrition segments aimed at getting kids to think about eating healthy and learning about all the cool ways they can do that. As we talk about so often, a child naturally gravitates towards fun. So, just like our weekly new sports they play, these nutritional inserts are presented simply as fun ways to eat healthy and feed your body with things that help it grow and stay energized to play longer!

Just like our great age appropriate sports equipment, we also have model samples of whatever healthy food we are talking about each week. Kid’s love to hold things in their hands, so that natural curiosity is used with our nutrition segments as well. Here is an example of what these quick weekly segments might look like.

Week 8: Carrot
Pass the foam carrot around the class as you read the lesson.
Class Question: “Does anyone know what vitamin gives carrots and sweet potatoes their orange
color?”
Answer: Vitamin A

“Carrots are a root vegetable because they grow underground. Eating carrots is good for your
eye health and immune system. Although usually orange in color, carrots can also be red,
purple, white, and yellow. Carrots can be served raw as in salads, cooked in many stews and
soups, and even be served in a dessert such as carrot cake!”

JumpBunch has always used the theme of “building healthy habits early”. We are thrilled to expand those healthy habits to include nutrition as the perfect companion to exercise and learning new sports to keep you active and moving!

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