I recently read a sad fact: roughly one-third of American children are overweight. Even sadder: 17% are obese.There are numerous reasons why the numbers are so high, and the issue is hotly debated with a lot of finger pointing.
But rather than bicker about fast food, video games, busy parents, soda, and sedentary lifestyles, I'm going to list some ways to add movement to your young child's day.I believe that it is important to instill in children a love of movement---I'm not talking about organized soccer at age 2, or making your preschooler run laps.I'm talking about fun, everyday activities that get those little bones shaking and moving without them thinking that it's a chore.
Play outside:play catch, toss balls into a bucket, build a snowman, rake piles of leaves to jump in, run through the sprinkler, take a bike ride, swing, take the dog for a walk.
Dance to upbeat music (remember the "Popcorn" song?)Just crank up the tune and get your groove on (it doesn't count if you just sit on the couch and tell your child to dance.....if you are participating, they will be THRILLED and join you).
"Copycat"you do 5 jumping jacks, your child imitates; you touch your toes, your child imitates; repeat; be sure to give your child the chance to take the lead and you imitate whatever action they do. Note:the sillier the movements, the better.Giggling is a good form of exercise too!
"Can You Find?"get a big bucket to collect items. Ask your child to quickly find items and bring them back to the bucket while you count loudly (a spoon, a book, etc.)Select items that are in different areas of the house so they have farther to go to rush to find them.Be sure to take a turn finding items too (great opportunity for your little one to practice counting and vocabulary skills).
Go old-school:Hokey Pokey, Duck Duck Goose, Hopscotch, Ring Around the Rosie
Fire up the Wii that you spent all that money on and have daily tournaments.
"Busy Cards"I did this a lot when I was teaching preschoolers. Kids LOVE to be able to pull a card out of a bucket, and then everyone does whatever the card says (hop on one foot, spin around 3 times, clap 4 times, etc.)
"Tap It"Everyone gets two paper towel tubes.Take turns instructing how many times to tap an item.For instance, "go tap the couch 6 times" or "hop over to the front door and tap 3 times".Good for vocabulary and counting.
These simple movements will keep your kids moving and teach them that exercise can be fun. As an added bonus it will give you quality time with the little ones and also get your body moving.
You put your right hand in and you shake it all about!