On the move
We got a leaflet from Sterling's päiväkoti about recommendations for children's exercise. Parents are encouraged to make sure their kids get three hours of activity per day.
The chart above says one hour of "vauhdikas" exercise - active exercise? Fast exercise? Strenuous exercise? Whatever you want to call it - running, jumping, swimming, skiing.
Then it says two hours of light or sporty exercise - biking, sledding, hiking.
There is also a program called "Finnish Schools on the Move," meant to increase children's physical activity during the day. In my kids' school, they get 15 minutes of every hour for recess. In other words, every 45 minutes of lessons is followed by 15 minutes of outdoor exercise. I don't know if this is a result of the new program or not, but it is great for them.
We've had snow and temperatures around -5C or -10C for the last two weeks. It has been so fun to see kids still playing outside, even at Sterling's age. Sterling's päiväkoti has a bunch of sleds they put out in this kind of weather. When I dropped him off there on Friday, I felt like I was looking at the inside of a winter wonderland snowglobe - there were a dozen small children bundled in colorful snowsuits flinging themselves down hills on sleds and pulling each other around the yard. I kind of wanted to spend the day there myself!
And that's the paradox of true winter weather here - it's actually easier to play outside (and thus for kids to get their necessary outdoor exercise in) when it's very cold and snowy. As long as you are bundled up with all the right gear - a typical outfit for Sterling goes socks, tights, pants + t-shirt, long-sleeve shirt, sweater/hoodie, all covered by padded winter coveralls, scarf, hat, boots, and mittens - then you can play outside for hours in such weather. It's cold, but it's dry and there is lots of fun to be had in the snow. It's the in-between 0-5C + rain that gets a little tricky to send your kids out in. Freezing cold but wet and also just muddy. Hmm.