Have you noticed when you need to “clear your mind” or “focus” a brisk walk or a run around the block creates a sense of peace and calm? Or – you just aren’t yourself when you skip your regular workout routine?

At Camp Fire, we noticed the same thing occurred with the youth in our programs. When they have the opportunity to be active in unstructured play, they focus and demonstrate a greater capacity to take in the enrichment information we are providing. While many may attribute this to “burning off their energy” research shows it is much more intricate than that – physical activity builds a child’s brain!

Finding balance is key. Here are some ways you can foster brain building with activity in YOUR children:

   I. Send them into the back yard with . . .nothing. Let them figure it out!

II. Take a walk as a family daily. Allow your child to dawdle, look at a caterpillar or inspect a rock along the way. Don’t pressure them to be on your timetable.

III. Before hitting the books to start homework, hit the yard for a silly game of Simon Says or if older, a game of kick ball or allow your child to develop their own nature scavenger hunt.

IV. Don’t let your child sit for longer than 45 minutes – homework, video games, computer time or researching their next paper – get them up and let them move. Their concentration will improve.

V. Allow for downtime. Life is busy, so if you must - plan for “unplanned” time – do it.

VI. Let your child play alone outside. Friends or parents don’t always need to be a part of game time.

VII. Recognize summer and out of school time is a perfect opportunity for exploration -  if you are looking for camps or out of school program take into consideration the amount of outside play time woven into the program (Psst. Children need 60 min of vigorous activity daily – this study demonstrates that youth in nature and play-based day camps exceed that!)

In short, letting your kid be a kid is the best thing for their mind, body and sprit. 


Life happens. We all know this. It can be hard to remain connected or even identify disconnection as not good or not normal. Here are 3 expert tips from Elise Mederos MA., LPC., to love well and stay in love!

I. SLOW THINGS DOWN: Make an intentional and sacrificial effort to slow down and give yourself time to connect. Make time for meaningful conversation. Believe it, or not, meaningful communication can happen in a short time frame (even 5 minutes) if done right. The trick is creating uninterrupted time to connect (date night, talking before bed, lunch dates, a planned call)!

II. GET ATTUNED: In other words, pay attention! Being attuned to your partner is about to being in touch with the details and nonverbals of your partner's communication. Make eye contact! Listen for the changes in their voice. Ask yourself, "what is their body language communicating to me?". Put your phone down and actively listen and observe.

III. MAKE CONNECTIONS: Love isn't built on grand gestures. Small is significant. Utilize small gestures to show your spouse that you care for them. Ask meaningful questions, give meaningful hugs, and be available. Look into your spouse's love languages! It's amazing how much love one can feel when it speaks to the way they are wired to receive love!