Tag Archive | Andrew Kardon

My Kids Before and After Zamzee

By Andrew Kardon, from Mommy’s Busy… Go Ask Daddy

Zamzee_FamilyI have pretty well rounded kids. They spend equal time playing Mario, Sonic, Minecraft and Plants vs. Zombies.

Yep, before I discovered Zamzee, my kids were videogame-oholics. My wife and I would occasionally drag the kids outside to play, take a walk or go for a bike ride. And every time, it was as painful as taking them to the dentist. All that whining, kicking and screaming. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to encourage them to stop hating anything that involved physical activity.

And then I introduced them to Zamzee.

This thing was apparently created for kids just like mine. They already were big fans of websites like Club Penguin, where you get to customize characters, earn points and “buy” all sorts of virtual items for your character. So when I showed my boys what Zamzee can do, they didn’t miss a beat.

“Look, daddy. I can get a dog for my guy!” Ryan said enthusiastically.

The avatars, badges and points you earn (and can spend) got both my boys hooked immediately. I swear, the first time we said we’d try it out, I never saw my kids get their shoes on so fast. Continue reading

Advertisements

Getting Kids that Love Videogames to Love Exercise

videogames_exercise

By Andrew Kardon from Mommy’s Busy… Go Ask Daddy

My kids love videogames. They will sit and stare at a screen for hours upon hours. Thanks to the Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 Kinect, at least some of this game play is active. You should see the sweat I work up playing Boxing on the Wii! But I struggle to get my kids engaged in other types of physical activity, especially activity outside the house.

Recently I’ve started to incorporate video game themes into outside playtime. I’ve noticed that the more I do it, the longer my kids stay engaged in outdoor physical activity.

Take baseball for example. They love playing Mario Sluggers on the Wii. (Okay, fine. I love it too!) When I suggest we practice baseball on the driveway, Jason usually responds with, “I know how to play baseball. I play Mario Sluggers and I’m really good at it!”

Not exactly the same thing, Sport. But Jason will be a bit more amenable to playing outside if we can somehow relate it to Mario. Granted, it results in some rather… odd parts of the game.

Ryan likes to pitch a “special,” which means he pretends to throw a fireball at Jason. In reality, a “special” is a large kickball instead of a baseball. It’s not exactly America’s traditional pastime, but if it keeps them engaged and outside, I don’t care what type of balls they throw.

We use the Mario approach on neighborhood walks, too. Inevitably there is some point in the walk where Ryan’s legs will start to hurt. He’ll ask, “Are we done yet?” That’s when I pull out the video game card. Continue reading

My Kids Would Make Excellent Vampires

By Andrew Kardon from Mommy’s Busy… Go Ask Daddy

Zamzee_hiking

My kids would make excellent vampires. No, they don’t enjoy drinking blood; they just hate going outside.

Summer. Winter. Fall. Spring. Name your season and they’ll still whine and complain if you dare rip them from their cocoon and drag them outside.

My wife and I, on the other hand, love nature. Before we were married, we used to go on tons of nature walks, hiking in the woods for hours as we followed trail blaze after trail blaze. We’ve explored gorgeous (and freezing!) ice caves. We’ve even gone kayaking on the Hudson River with my parents.

Ironic then, that it’s one of nature’s cruel jokes which sees two nature lovers produce offspring that run as far away as they can from the outdoors. Yep, we love nature and hate that our kids hate it. So how are two nature-loving parents supposed to get our kids enjoying the outdoors? It’s certainly a challenge. Continue reading

Getting My Kids Active (Adventure #4: Tennis)

By Andrew Kardon from Mommy’s Busy… Go Ask Daddy

My kids have never liked sports. Over the years, we’ve tried a few like T-ball, basketball and soccer. The outcome is always the same: sooner or later, the boys want to give up. Which puts my wife and me in a difficult position. We want our kids to be active (playing Nintendo Wii doesn’t really count). But how can we convince our kids to stay in the game?

This year we decided to sign the boys up for weekly tennis lessons at a local club. It was actually just going to be the two of them, along with two of their friends. One instructor to four kids. It sounded like a great opportunity. Except nothing ever goes according to plan.

tennis_zamzee

Continue reading

What to do When Your Son Doesn’t Love Baseball

By Andrew Kardon from Mommy’s Busy… Go Ask Daddy

Jason at the bat

I played Little League as a kid until I was almost 13 years old. I was atrocious at first and hated the game. Really, I detested playing. But as I got older, I came to love baseball. Now it’s a lifelong passion.

My oldest son Jason, however, is a bit different. Jason will watch the occasional Yankees game and even enjoys going to the stadium with me. He plays Super Mario Sluggers on the Wii all the time. But actually going outside to play baseball? That’s a whole different story.

I wanted Jason to share my passion for baseball, so we signed him up for T-Ball. When the season started, he really wasn’t very good. He understood the rules. But throwing the ball or swinging the bat just weren’t his strengths.

That first year, I was just a dad cheering him on from the sidelines. It was a tough season. The combination of his lack of skills mixed with the tremendous amount of “sit around and wait” time, just made the whole thing a painful experience for Jason.

At one point he had asked why I wasn’t a coach. So to get him to give baseball another chance, I said I’d be his coach the next year if he played again. He agreed reluctantly and the second year, I signed up to officially be an Assistant Coach. See, I figured, like me, he’d start to love the game once he got older and got a bit better at playing. It probably took me three or four years to really start enjoying the game myself as a kid. I was hoping improvement in Jason’s skills would be all the encouragement he needed to keep at it. Continue reading

10 Lessons on How to Stay Active as a Family

If your New Year’s resolution is to get your family active, take a step back before you attempt to go 100 mph forward and read the 10 most important things we learned in 2012 about moving as a family.

1.  Physical activity is more important than weight loss. Being active improves both your physical and mental health, and how your body feels is more important than how your body looks. Especially when you’re a kid.

2.  Finishing first is not the most important part of running a race. So when your video-game-loving kindergartner wants to run a one-mile race, make sure you believe in him. He’s going to finish.

kids_1_mile_race

3.  Moving doesn’t have to be serious. You can get a healthy dose of exercise while having fun playing games like ant hospital and toilet tag. Yep, those are real games. Seriously. Continue reading

How (NOT) to Help Your Kid Train for a One-Mile Running Race

By Andrew Kardon from Mommy’s Busy… Go Ask Daddy!

IMG_1100

Ryan

I hate running. I really do. My wife, however, loves it. She doesn’t seem to mind that crazy awful feeling that your lungs are about to pop like a balloon. She’s run a few 5Ks and even a half marathon. I love rooting her on and think it’s great inspiration for our kids.

My five year old, Ryan, is a typical boy who loves video games, action figures, and imaginative play. He’ll toss a football with me in the backyard for a good 10 minutes, but then he’s done. If things ever get too tough, he just gives up and moves on.

So when my wife signed up for a local 5K to benefit our neighborhood schools, she mentioned that there’s also a kids’ one mile race. Ryan said he wanted to sign up. Yeah, I think I fractured a tooth when my jaw hit the floor.

Knowing full well that Ryan’s one of those kids that will change his mind more times than a teenage girl changes her outfits, I didn’t expect him to follow through. We asked him multiple times, though, and he insisted he wanted to do it, so we signed him up.

About a month before the race, we figured Ryan should practice running to build up some stamina. So Ryan ran to the end of our street, stopping once or twice on the way. That was maybe 1/8th of a mile.

He was out of breath. He was winded. He was exhausted. But he still insisted that he could run the race. Continue reading