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How to Get Your Child to Drink More Water

Feb11

Here at Funderland, we get excited about ways to keep you and your family healthy. And one often overlooked way to easily improve health is to make sure your kids are staying hydrated throughout the day. Water is a key to life and overall health, and this is a message that should be engrained in children from a very early age. In fact, a new study shows a significant correlation between lower risk of obesity in elementary and middle school students and higher intake of water.

Choosing water over sugary drinks is something most parents know they should do more often with their children, but sometimes it can slip the mind. So how can parents make sure their kids not only drink water but actually want it?

How to Get Your Child to Drink More Water

1. Keep water front and center – Simply putting water in front of children regularly can create healthy habits. Always offer water first when a child is thirsty and make sure you are drinking water both for your own health and as an example.

2. Empower them – If you are the type of person who prefers buying water bottles, let your child pick which kind to buy at the store. Making them part of the selection process will make it more enticing for them to try their selection. Also consider purchasing a unique set of straws. Letting your child choose from a colorful batch of straws for their cup of water may make them forget all about the fact they wanted cranberry juice instead.

3. Show them water can be cool – Show your child how ice cubes work and have them make their own. Maybe explain how water helps plants grow and have them water the garden. Ask them if they want to grow and be strong like the plants in the garden and the trees around the neighborhood. Explain to your child that water is the most natural thing they can drink and that it is good for everyone. This type of knowledge may even help their friends if they think it is “cool” enough to share.

4. You shouldn’t waste it – California has been dealing with a drought for a while. Everyone has learned to conserve water, even us! We’ve removed our Log Water Ride to make way for a water efficient ride & have reduced our sprinkler use as well! So share your conservation efforts with your children and explain that you are doing it because water is very important to the whole family. By showing how much you care about water, they will understand its importance.

How to Set New Year’s Resolutions With Your Children

Jan02

The beginning of the year is the perfect time to make some changes! As New Year’s resolutions become more popular, your children may be more interested in participating in making New Year’s resolutions. Whether you personally make resolutions or not, we’ve gathered a few tips on how to help your kids make resolutions of their own.

Make It a Family Affair

Gather around the table and celebrate the New Year while discussing your resolutions together. Go around the table and have each person share something that they are proud of from the last year, and something they’d like to work on in the upcoming year. Keep the discussion positive so that your children will be more excited to make and keep their resolutions.

When you discuss together, you’ll be able to help each other come up with resolutions. You’ll also be more aware of each other’s resolutions and will be able to encourage each other throughout the year. You can make individual resolutions, family resolutions, or both!

Don’t Push It

If you have a specific item you want your child to work on this year, don’t push them toward it. You can make small suggestions to help them decide what they want to work on. You want this to be a positive experience and not something that they dread.

Make Baby Steps

Make resolutions that you can accomplish with baby steps. For example, instead of saying “I will eat healthier,” make a resolution of eating one serving of fruit or veggies with breakfast and dinner. You’re stepping toward your bigger goal of eating healthier, but it doesn’t seem like such a tough resolution. It makes it easier for children to get excited about it if they have a specific goal rather than a larger, vaguer goal.

Narrow It Down

Children may get a little excited and begin making a long list of what they want to work on this year. The bigger the list, the more difficult it is to keep those resolutions. Help them narrow it down to just a few resolutions that they can focus on.

Be An Example

If you make resolutions with your children, keep them! Children follow in the footsteps of adults, so if you decide to ditch the resolutions, they will too! Be encouraging to them and yourself. You can make a master list of resolutions to hang up in the house as a reminder throughout the year. Your children will see it and be reminded of their resolutions as well.

If one of your resolutions is to spend more quality time with your kids, bring them over to Funderland! Our new season begins Jan. 16 (weather permitting)! We’ll see you there!

Teaching Your Children the Habit of Giving

Dec14

With the holidays, comes presents. More and more commercials start popping up about this toy and that toy. Stores begin advertising the ‘hot toys’ of the season. These ads are usually directed toward children. How do we make sure they don’t get in the habit of saying “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” or “I want! I want! I want!” and begin saying statements like, “I bet Susie would love that!” or, “Can we buy this for Tommy?”

“I want this, this, this, this….”

Have you heard this from your kids before? It’s natural for humans to want things. Children are curious, from the time they are infants, they gravitate toward things that look interesting to them. They grab the things that catch their eye. It continues as we get older. Even as adults, we still try to get the things that we want.

How Do We Teach our Children to Have a Desire to Give?

Starting at a young age, you should begin teaching your children the importance of charity and giving. Though this season usually tends to be focused on charity, we need to teach our children the importance of giving throughout the year rather than only focusing on it during the holidays. We’ve compiled a few different ideas on how you can go about teaching your children to give.

Sign up for a local giving tree

There are usually local businesses that have a giving tree. On the tree there are ornaments that have information for different families or children in need. These families don’t have the means to buy toys or much-needed clothes for themselves. Take your child to pick an ornament of their own. Let them help choose what you’ll buy for the family in need. If possible, make sure they are involved in wrapping the presents and dropping them off. Remind them throughout the process of why you are giving to the family in need. Tell them how happy you will make that family.

Volunteer

There is always a need for volunteers to serve food in homeless shelters. There are also several different charities that need volunteers. A good one for families to join would be Meals on Wheels. You deliver food to people who aren’t able to leave their homes to buy groceries. Bring your children along. They will be able to meet the people who you are serving!

Donate unused toys and clothes

Even when we try to avoid it, we usually end up having more toys and clothes than we could possibly need. Have your children go through their toys and pick out the toys that they don’t play with anymore. Have them gather up their clothes that are too small. Donate them to shelters. Remind them that you are giving to families who can’t afford to buy toys and clothes.

Participate in a Toy Drive

During this time of year, there are usually several toy drives going on. Many stores have bins you can put donated goods in. You can teach your child about the toy drive and then have them pick out a toy from the store that they think other children would enjoy. Have your child put the toy in the toy drive box before you leave the store.

Have your children pick out presents for others

Whether it’s Christmas presents, birthday presents or anything in between, letting your children pick out presents to give others is a great way to help them learn charity. One way you can do this is to give them a set amount of money that they can spend. Let them look around the store and pick things out they think the recipient would love. This not only teaches them to give, but also can help them learn the importance of keeping track of their money! You can go to a thrift store for this one so your kids can have more choices!

Lead by example

We all can agree that children learn best by watching others. If we really want our children to learn to be charitable, we have to be charitable ourselves. Even when you don’t think your children are listening, make sure you are always giving. They are usually listening and watching even when you don’t think they are.

Just as kids are born to want things for themselves, they are also born wanting to be charitable. I’m sure we’ve all had half-eaten food offered to us, or pacifiers pushed toward our mouths. Children naturally want to give. Somewhere along the line, the selfishness starts to take over. Use these tips to help your children stay charitable.

We want to wish all of our customers a happy holiday season! We hope you enjoy spending these precious moments with your families!

For a Limited Time – Save $15 Off 2016 Season Passes

Dec04

All aboard! We’ve got your ticket to FUN! Purchase your 2016 Season Passes by Dec. 31 and save $15 off the regular price. Season Pass Holders get great perks like:

  • Unlimited riding all year long
  • 10% discount on food and Birthday Party Packages
  • Half priced weekday wristbands for 1 friend (exclusions apply)
  • Season Pass Holder only event & specials
  • Discounts on food and beverages & more!

Visit our Season Pass page for more details or call 916-456-0131 to purchase today! You can also email info@funderlandpark.com

Family Dinners Have Positive Impact on Kids

Nov19

With Thanksgiving upon us, food becomes a frequent topic of discussion. What should you make? How long do you bake the turkey again? What is Aunt Ruth’s favorite pie? Regardless of what is made, the time together giving thanks and talking amongst each other as a family is an important time for many and can result in lasting memories.

Family Dinners Aren’t Just for Thanksgiving

Research shows that finding time in the hectic school/work week for regular family dinners can have some rewarding benefits. In fact, there is a direct link between the frequency of family dinners and the quality of a child-parent relationship. The study found that compared to teens who have infrequent family dinners, teens who have frequent family dinners are:

  • One-and-a-half times more likely to say their parents know a great deal or a fair amount about what’s really going on in their lives.
  • Five times less likely to say their parents know very little or nothing at all about what’s really going on in their lives.
  • Almost one-and-a-half times likelier to say they have an excellent relationship with their mother.
  • One-and-a-half times likelier to say they have an excellent relationship with their father.

It is important to set the precedent early in life with younger children, so that traditions and expectations are established by the time the teen years are reached. So start having family dinners as soon as you can as parents. And make sure to put those smart phones and tablets down! Your children are so much more important than whatever is happening online.

As you look around the table this Thanksgiving, take notice of the smiles and conversation happening and think about trying to have a smaller scale version of that dinner more frequently. It could be better for the whole family.

Helping Children Choose Honesty

Sep18

“Honesty is the best policy,” said Benjamin Franklin. It’s definitely one of the top characteristics we want to develop in our children. And sometimes it’s easier said than done! Here are some strategies for helping your children choose honesty.

Model Honesty

It begins with us as parents. Our children are watching us daily and imitating our behavior. They will listen to what we tell them, but more importantly, they will copy our actions, even if they contradict what we’ve said. Think about times when you’ve been dishonest while your children are watching and listening. Have you told somebody that you can’t come over because you’re going somewhere else, but you’re really not? Have you made up an excuse for being late? Have you purchased something for your child and told them not tell the other parent about it?

Stop and think about the ways you model honesty (or dishonesty) throughout the day and make an effort to always show honesty to your children. Point out the times that you wanted to be dishonest, but chose honesty anyway. Share stories from your childhood of how being honest or dishonest impacted you.

Praise Honesty

Rewarding children for choosing the right kind of behavior helps reinforce it. Sometimes we overly focus on “catching” our children doing the wrong things and forget to praise them for doing the right things. By really watching for those times when your child chooses honesty and talking to them about it, you’ll be encouraging them with the positive attention.

Watch and listen as your children go through the day. Try to “catch” the moments when they are honest, especially when you know they struggled to be honest. Praise them for making a good choice.

Explain that Perfection is not Expected

One of the reasons that children are tempted to be dishonest is that they are afraid of disappointing their parents. If they get the sense that perfection is expected, or that parents will think less of them for messing up, they may choose to be dishonest rather than upset a parent.

Explain to your children that while you expect them to make good choices, you do not expect perfection. None of us are perfect! Let them know that you love them no matter what and that you know they will make mistakes. Continually let your children know that they can tell you anything and you’ll help them to be less fearful of being honest with you.

Allow Consequences for Dishonesty

Children learn by having consequences for making poor choices. Some consequences occur naturally, like getting caught in a lie and losing a friend because of it. Other times, we need to give our children appropriate consequences for dishonesty. By having consequences, we help train our children to avoid the poor choices and that honesty is the better way to go.

Those consequences will be different for each child and in each family, but should be something unpleasant or some sort of sacrifice. You can even let your older child have some input (within reason) on what they think would be an appropriate consequence.

Helping your child choose honesty now will help them make better choices in the future. By helping them with their choices, we show them how much we love them and have their best interests at heart.

Play Your CARDs Right: Teaching Children to be Caring, Authentic, Responsible, and Determined

Aug25

Teaching Children to be Caring, Authentic, Responsible, and Determined

As parents, there are many characteristics and morals we want to teach our kids. But sometimes it can be hard to explain and reiterate those virtues through the years. To help your family out, just remember to Play Your CARDs Right!

C is for Caring

Fostering a caring attitude is to encourage your child to be loving, empathetic, understanding, and thoughtful. For most kids, this is learned from watching how you interact with them. To further help kids see it in action outside of the house, try being conscientious of when strangers are kind to each other, and point it out to your children. For example, when you see someone offer their place in line to a pregnant mommy, you might try telling your child, “Wow, did you see how that nice man offered his place in line to that mommy? That was so kind of him.”

A is for Authentic

Authenticity is about being honest and truthful, without being rude and inconsiderate. It’s important that your children learn to express their thoughts and feelings, but not at the expense of someone else’s hurt feelings. It’s also about letting your kids express themselves, and we know that can be in a variety of ways! If your daughter wants to wear cowgirl boots with her tutu, maybe just let her do it! Remember, childhood is all about discovering the world around you and how you fit into that world!

R is for Responsible

Responsibility – it’s one of the hardest things to teach kids! It’s so easy to take care of everything around the house instead of delegating tasks to the kiddos, because, let’s face it, we’re just faster/better at it! But doing so deters your kids from learning to be responsible for themselves, their belongings, and their surroundings. Responsibility stems from respect and pride in ownership. Here are several great age-appropriate chore lists to help your family get started with delegating responsibilities.

D is for Determined

If you’ve ever played sports or a musical instrument, you know that this is key to success. But it’s more than just learning to be good at something. It’s more about being perseverant and steadfast, even when facing defeat and setbacks. This is an extremely valuable lesson for kids to learn as it is a lesson learned well into adulthood.

As you might have guessed, the best way to teach these characteristics to your kids is to demonstrate them yourself. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. So get your kids on board with this new “game” and you’ll all help keep each other accountable for playing your CARDs right!

5 Strong and Healthy Summer Habits

Jul28

Sometimes we think of Summer as a time for our children to relax and take it easy, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t keep our kids healthy and strong at the same time! Use the rest of Summer to help your kids learn healthy habits they can continue through the school year and beyond. They’ll be stronger and feel good about their accomplishments. Here are 5 strong & healthy summer habits to work on now:

Play to be Strong

Encourage your children to play outside every day to get a dose of sunshine and fresh air. Get them away from screen time for a while to run, jump, swim, and more. Give them strength challenges in their games to sneak in exercise:

  • Who can hang from the playground high bar the longest?
  • Who can swim across the pool the fastest?
  • Can you beat yesterday’s time running across the yard?

Eat Healthy Snacks

Help your children get used to healthier choices for their snacks and gradually move away from the packaged snacks that they might be used to. Give them plenty of choices at home and make them fun. They’ll start making healthier choices on their own before you know it! Here are some fun snack ideas:

  • Fruit Kabobs:
    • Layer chunks of different kinds of fruit on skewers
    • Let children choose fruits and make their own kabobs
  • Mystery Veggie Dip Game:
    • Give carrot, celery, and jicama sticks to dip in 3 different dips (hummus, salad dressing, salsa, etc.) making sure one is a child favorite
    • Let kids be blindfolded while you mix up dips
    • They have to take a bite no matter which kind of dip they get each time
  • Cheese Cube Mosaic:
    • Cube different kinds of cheeses and meats
    • Let kids use cubes to create a mosaic on their plate
    • They have to eat all the pieces they use

Take on New Chores

Chores can help children stay strong and healthy, too. Use this time to evaluate what chores your children are doing and add in a new and challenging chore – one that they may have to work at a while in order to become successful and get a sense of pride from accomplishing. Here are some chore ideas for a variety of ages:

  • Clean up spills and dirt
  • Carry in and put away groceries
  • Take trash out
  • Weed, rake, mow or do other appropriate yardwork

Exercise Your Brain

You don’t just need school work to keep your brain strong. You can play games to exercise your brain! Help your children find new games and hobbies that will keep their brains sharp and ready for a new school year. Here are some fun game ideas:

  • Get a new puzzle:
    • Make it challenging enough that the children need to work together to complete it
  • Make a raised salt painting:
    • Use glue bottle to squeeze and create design on thick paper or cardboard
    • Shake salt over to coat top of glue
    • Using brush, dab watercolor paints carefully on salt globs and watch paint spread
    • Dry overnight
  • Create an obstacle course: 
    • Let children use props from around the house to set up obstacle course
    • It could involve climbing over things, running while keeping cotton in a spoon, changing doll clothes, dressing up in a costume, and more
    • Time each child that goes through to see who can do it the fastest

Enjoy Family Fun

Spending time together as family strengthens bonds and renews that feeling of a safe and healthy family environment. Plan out some days when the whole family can do something fun together. Here are some inexpensive family fun ideas:

  • A morning at Funderland:
    • With no admission to get in and the ability to bring your own food into the park, you have control over how much you spend on rides
    • After getting in a few rides, step out the front gate and go enjoy Land Park
  • Nature Walk:
    • Find a nearby trail that isn’t too difficult for children and plan a hike and picnic
    • Take supplies in backpacks
    • Create a list of items for each family member to check off as they discover them – certain colors of leaves, rock shapes, other hikers, and more
  • Family Talent Show:
    • Let each family member come up with something that they want to “perform” for everybody else
    • Plan far enough ahead to give time to practice
    • Enjoy the performances – maybe even film it and watch again later

We hope all of you have a strong and healthy Summer! What new habits are you going to try?

Teaching our Children to be Brave

May19

We all want our children to be brave. Not so brave that they’re not safe, of course! But brave enough to try new things and experience the great adventures awaiting them in Life. There are a few ways that we can help our children learn this kind of bravery.

Be a Role Model

Our children are always watching us and imitating us. It’s up to us to stop and think about what kind of example we are setting for them. Do we show bravery to them when it’s time to try something new or something we’re scared of? Show your child the different ways that you are brave and they will learn to follow your example.

Listen and Talk

Sometimes we assume that our children are scared of something for no reason and try to push them into doing it. Take the time to talk with your child and ask him what his reasons are for being afraid, Show him that you care enough to take the time to listen and help him work through any unreasonable fears.

Expose Gradually

If there’s something that your child is afraid, like roller coasters, consider taking baby steps toward facing that fear. Since Funderland has free admission, bring your child in just to walk around, look at the rides, see other children having fun, and have a picnic. Assure her that you will not be going on any rides during that visit. After that successful visit, come back again, but only try rides that aren’t as intimidating, like the Carousel and the Funderland Train. Stop by the Flying Dragon Roller Coaster only to watch. The next time, try to see if your child is willing to consider giving the roller coaster a try, but don’t push her until she feels ready.

Encourage

When your child displays bravery in some form, take the time to notice and talk about it. Praise him for making a brave choice and facing a fear or facing something that makes him uncomfortable. As you continue to encourage your child’s brave choices, he will naturally want to try more new and scary things.

We encourage you to bring your brave children out to Funderland to experience the fun to be had in our local amusement park. And don’t forget – we’ve got an after school special going on through June 12!

5 Acts of Kindness in Funderland

Feb25

Kindness is one of the values that we feel is so important to teach our children in today’s world. We could all use a little more kindness in our day and taking the time to teach our children how to be kind will not only benefit our families, but will also have an impact on the big wide world as well.

At Funderland, we believe in having fun, of course! Being kind to others is a great way to help make sure that everybody gets to have fun.

Here are 5 acts of kindness that your children can practice while having a great time at Funderland:

  1. Let a child cut in line. It may be a true test of patience, but allow your children to let another child cut in front of them in line. Since they have to sacrifice and wait a bit longer, it’s an even better lesson in kindness.
  2. Pick up trash. Teach your children to look for trash on the ground, even if it isn’t their own, and pick it up (carefully of course) and throw away in a nearby trash can. Keeping the park cleaner helps everybody enjoy the experience even more.
  3. Donate a ride ticket. If you’re able to spare 1 extra ride ticket, let your children donate it to a child of their choice in the park – maybe a child who is sad or one who is being especially obedient to their parents.
  4. Share some art supplies. Help your children pick out a new game or art supplies to bring in for River Oak Center for Children during our Easter Bash on March 27th through 29th and receive free ride tickets. (Amount of tickets given based on items received). Children can practice kindness and help a good cause at the same time.
  5. Smile and say hello. Teach your children to make eye contact with other children and adults. Have them smile and say hello to their fellow Funderland friends.

Funderland can be more than the funnest little place in the land. It can be the kindest place, too!

What other ways do you like to teach your children to be kind?

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