Disability Help Center - San Diego - February 2020

MAKE VALENTINE’S DAY ABOUT FAMILY

For some, a perfect Valentine’s Day means a romantic night out for two. But for others, an exciting day-date with the whole family makes the holiday about celebrating all your loved ones. Here are some great ideas for Valentine’s Day events to attend that you and your kids will love.

CORONADO FUN RUN

everyone this Valentine’s Day, including the kids. Reserve your spot to go and hang out with chef Richard Sweeney for an educational afternoon all about food. Then, you’ll get to enjoy a tasty lunch made by you and your kids. A labor of love with the end result of food is a win for the whole family.

We don’t expect your kids to run a 10k, 5k, or even a mile during this event, but it’s still loads of fun to walk. People show up dressed to impress, meaning not only are there crazy costumes to behold, but it’s also a chance for the whole family to dress up. Get festive in matching reds and pinks, then get off to the races! You start and end the run in Tidelands Park on beautiful Coronado Island, and, when you’re done, you’ll all have earned a hearty meal at your family’s favorite restaurant. The Fun Run takes place on Feb. 9.

MUSEUM MONTH

February is Museum Month, which means all admission is half-off at more than 40 San Diego Museum Council member museums. Pick up your pass from your local library, then let the kids decide which museum they’d love to visit. The list of participating museums includes many favorites like the Birch Aquarium, the San Diego Air & Space Museum, the Natural History Museum, and many more. There’s a destination for everyone to enjoy, and at half-price, you can visit more than one.

WAYPOINT PUBLIC COOKING CLASS

Waypoint Public is a made-for-local, family-friendly, chef-driven restaurant located in North Park. They’re all about the community, so that means they want to see

SCIENCE WANTS YOU TO STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES THE BENEFITS OF SPENDING TIME OUTSIDE

In a 2008 survey conducted by the National Trust in Britain, children were more likely to correctly identify a Dalek from “Doctor Who” than a barn owl. Likewise, a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study of 8–18-year-olds in the U.S. found that the average youth spends more than 53 hours a week engaged with entertainment media. These statistics, coupled with growing concerns that children are spending less time outdoors, are leading to terms like “nature deficit disorder” and global initiatives to get kids outside. Why is contact with the outdoors so important? Researchers are answering this question by studying the benefits of time spent in nature. One benefit is that outdoor time helps kids understand boundaries and learn how to assess risk. As naturalist, author, and broadcaster Stephen Moss puts it, “Falling out of a tree is a very good lesson in risk-reward.” Not to mention, time in nature may help improve focus for hyperactive kids. In one national study of youths by the University of Illinois, participants’ attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms were reduced after spending time in a green setting versus a more urban one. This may be due to the fact that natural environments call upon our “soft fascination,” a less exhausting type of focus than what is required by urban environments.

Emotional benefits were discovered too, including reduced aggression, increased happiness, and improved self-esteem.

Beyond just getting outside, the type of contact we have with nature also matters. Visits to nature centers and watching “Planet Earth” are two ways to experience the outdoors. But research points specifically to the importance of

free play in the natural world: unstructured outdoor time when children can explore and engage with their natural surroundings with no curriculum, lesson, or activity to complete. Ever notice how kids are fascinated by the simplest things? A child visits a rose garden, but before they even get to the flowers, they become captivated by a leaf on the ground or an ant crawling on their shoe. Children are born naturalists.

These are the moments we need to recapture. Take a page out of that kid’s book, and as the saying goes, stop and smell the roses — or leaves or ants — with no checklist and no plan, just time spent playing outside.

2 DISABILITYHELPCENTER.ORG

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