Healthy inside, healthy outside

July 30, 2009

To live life to the fullest we need a lot of different things: we need to eat well, sleep well, exercise and fill our lives with activities that stimulate us. As adults we have made choices — where we live, how we live, what kind of career we have and how we spend our free time. For many of you reading this, you have likely chosen to spend more of your time on creative ventures than the average person might. And for the people around you, you are likely an advocate or role model for engaging in creative forms of expression.

Similarly, at Opus we aim to support the creative health of all of our community — whatever age, whatever skill level — from an expectant mother plaster-casting her belly to a preschooler picking their first paint-set, to an aspiring graphic designer choosing a portfolio, to a seasoned artist ordering their favourite watercolour paper. Fine art students of all ages fill their back-to-school supply lists in our stores, and artists using all types of mediums at every stage of their career have likely come through our doors at one time or another. That is why we pride ourselves on being connected to the art world, to the local community, and to the next generation of artists.

Increasingly, research is bringing us evidence of the importance of play for children and how it helps to shape the person they will one day become. Play comes in many forms, from role playing with friends in a playground, to first-finger painting on mom‚Äôs white cupboard doors. It’s up to those of us who are parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or babysitters to open the doors of creative play for tomorrow‚Äôs generation with the hope that they will grow into healthy, happy well-adjusted people.

With that in mind, for the month of August we have paired up with Swings and Roundabouts (www.swingsandroundabouts.ca) to help promote a full spectrum of healthy ideas for the young, whether it’s in the studio, on the kitchen floor, or outside in a playground. Swings and Roundabouts is a not-for-profit web resource that reviews BC playgrounds with the aim of helping kids and their parents to get playing and explore new places. To encourage you to get out and enjoy a playground near you, they are holding a competition for the month of August (see www.swingsandroundabouts.ca for details). Started in the spring of this year by a mother and her preschooler, Swings and Roundabouts has grown quickly in popularity. To date it has focused primarily on the Victoria area and Vancouver Island, but in August it will expand to include Greater Vancouver, relying on local readers to contribute reviews of their local playgrounds. Any parent knows that each and every day spent with a young child includes a multitude of activities that exercise the body, brain and creative expression. So it seems natural for Opus and Swings and Roundabouts to work together with the hope that our customers and readers will be inspired to engage in any activity which promotes long, happy, healthy and creative lives ‚Äî inside or out.

We encourage you to check out Swings and Roundabouts if you are a parent or that “creative person” in a young person’s life.