HARVIN COLUMN: Fam Jam is a huge outdoor playground event
Hopscotch, jumping rope and just running around outside. Being active outdoors is something that many kids don’t do these days, and it’s one of many factors contributing to childhood obesity.
There are so many forms of indoor entertainment these days that kids are just not hitting the playground enough.
Couple that with working parents who don’t get home early enough to tell kids to get outside and play and it’s no wonder that children are getting heavier. While everyone has an opinion about why children are overweight, the lack of exercise is at the top of many lists, whether you are a child or a parent. Kids, like adults, need about 40 to 60 minutes of exercise a day.
Children are getting risk factors for heart disease, fatty deposits in their blood vessels, high levels of cholesterol and dramatic increases in type 2 diabetes, which used to be called adult-onset diabetes because it was not seen in kids.
HealthyChildren.org says that getting exercise, whether in an organized setting or not, is the critical factor for combating obesity, and often physical education classes at school are not enough.
So the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry is doing something about it.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, it will host the ninth annual free Fam Jam Festival in Marion Square.
The downtown square will become a giant playground so kids can celebrate the power of play and parents can find out more ways of getting their kids involved in outdoor activities.
There will be a series of outdoor events and fitness demonstrations, ranging from practicing golf with First Tee of Charleston to learning to dance with Dance Moves of Charleston.
More than 30 wellness partners are involved and each will have different activities for kids, said McCown Bridges, the marketing coordinator for the museum.
There will be music by Electric Company and Like! Also, jazz band students from the Leonard School of Music will be strutting their stuff. Kids will get to dance along, or try out yoga if they want. Or throw paint around and just get messy.
And, of course, the parents can move along with them, too.
Last year was the first time the event was held in Marion Square, and there were about 2,000 kids. This year, Bridges said they are expecting about 2,500. It runs alongside the Charleston Farmers Market, so there’s plenty for the whole family to do.
The festival is part of the museum’s mission to help children, and they focus on Title I children who might not get as many opportunities to participate, said Bridges. Each Title I school will get stickers to send home with children about the event. And the museum is sponsoring a bus service from Burke High School downtown and Burns Elementary School in North Charleston for children and parents who might not have transportation to Marion Square.
You can meet the buses starting at 9:30 a.m., and the last bus returns to the school at 3 p.m. Parents are encouraged to come with their children.
There’s no fee to the festival, and it’s spring in Charleston. What could be a better way to spend a Saturday than getting out at Marion Square and playing.
It’s time to go outside and play!
Reach Stephanie Harvin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-5557.