Led by instructors Angela Bipond

Led by instructors Angela Bipond

ACTIVE LIFE: Playing leads to healthy lifestyle

NANAIMO – Play and Learn program can instil healthy lifestyle in children.

An active lifestyle is said to be a healthy lifestyle and the City of Nanaimo Parks, Recreation and Environment’s Play and Learn program can instil that in children.

The program is for three- to five-year-olds and affords them the opportunity to avoid being sedentary, take part in a number of activities and eat healthy.

Introducing those habits now are beneficial in the long run and health issues, such as obesity and diabetes can be curbed, according to Tracy Stuart, city recreation coordinator.

“For young kids, we know that play is often synonymous for what adults [call] active living,” said Stuart. “That’s their component to really develop their skills in terms of movement and play for later in life. So the Play and Learn program is an ideal situation for that young age group.”

The program is offered at Bowen Park, Beban Park, Oliver Woods and Kin Hut at Departure Bay beach and activities consist various forms of play, arts, crafts and music. In terms of the Kin Hut location, there are also additional activities available, according to Play and Learn instructor Bev Short.

“During the spring and summer, whenever the weather’s nice, one of the benefits of Kin Hut is the park is just right outside the door, plus [past] the front door, we’ve got the beach, so we use that during the spring and summer and as a special bonus to this program, we go over to Departure Bay gym once a month and just go crazy – it’s wonderful,” Short said.

Nature study, searching for sea shells, building sandcastles and picnics are some of the things in store for Kin Hut Play and Learn participants.

Each session is two hours and can run up to five days a week, depending on location, with morning and afternoon sessions available. The program runs monthly from September to June and costs $104 a month, with payment plans available for parents wanting to enrol their children for multiple months.

“We do register by the month and generally people try and register September to June but there is, in the next few months, March, April, May, June, there are a few spots in various locations so it’s a matter of just checking in to see where you might be able to find a space,” said Stuart.

“Generally people like to have some consistency with the kids, so if they register they tend to try and want September to June but you can register for only one month or pick and choose months,” she said.

For more information, please call 250-756-5200 or visit www.nanaimo.ca.