The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Kid Fitness Reading Maps

The solstice is here. The word solstice means "sun (sol) standing still."

Since the September equinox, the earth and sun have moved so that the sun now appears at the southernmost point it will reach. The northern hemisphere has the chilly shortest day of the year, and the southern hemisphere sees the longest day of summer. There it "stands still" before appearing to turn northward again.

Shinto and others celebrate the highest deity, the Goddess who is the Sun. Cultures around the world have traditionally marked this day with observances. It seems a good time to start a nice family activity of learning to read a map and the sky to find your way.

We live in the city and frequently see obvious out-of-towners who need directions. I enjoy stopping to tell them about the sights, sometimes guiding them where they need to go, or taking them to see fun things they didn't know about. One time, the two adults and young children didn't have the usual baffled look, just a map, a compass, and fingers pointing at the map and the air. When I asked them where I could help them get to, they replied they were locals working on spatial direction skills and map reading with their children.

They were teaching the children how to locate where they were and how to go to locations on the map. Then they walked to each place together, enjoying the sights and a day outside, developing their minds and bodies together. Intelligent, happy, active family interaction. That is fitness as a lifestyle.

All children (and adults) should know where they live and how to get back in case of emergency. They should know where help is, and where key people and places are.

Some locations to find using this key mind and body skill with your kids:

  • Free library
  • Police station
  • Firehouse
  • Local favorite museums
  • Fruit market
  • Shelters and project locations for volunteer work
  • Finding their own home during any trip, near or far.

Readers, add your comments on beneficial places people should know how to get to, and family ideas. Many Fitness Fixer readers are pilots, navigators, military, search and rescue personnel, law enforcement, and the combination of all of those - parents. Let us know healthy ideas to find our way.

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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.