Fitness And Fun
The playground, the backyard, even the living room floor are arenas where careless giggles, screams of delight and apparent social upheaval occur on a daily basis as children exercise their bodies (and their lungs). Fitness for a child is critical during developmental years and can greatly affect their adult lives.
Should we try to stop this civil unrest? Certainly not, for children need to exercise their growing muscles and bones. In fact, they should be encouraged to run, skip, climb, ride a tricycle and swing that swing. These "fun" activities strengthen their large muscles and develop their coordination.
Active play is an integral part of every child care program. Even when outdoor space is limited there are ways to keep children physically fit. Dancing, for instance, includes an array of movements which utilize leg and arm muscles, and crawling through cardboard box tunnels works out back and neck muscles. And games such as London Bridge Is Falling Down can be easily played in the kitchen or living room with little bother of moving furniture.
There is no greater setting for active play than the great outdoors, especially when there is an abundance of age appropriate toys and equipment. Items such as:
low climbing apparatus are the mainstay of any outdoor toy repertory. Just a few basic items can whet a child's appetite for fitness fun.
Bad weather days are no excuse for not exercising. Given the opportunity children will find plenty of things to do with large cardboard boxes, old sheets, and jump ropes. And who doesn't love to "Bend and stretch, reach for the sky"?
Fitness programs can actually be as much fun for an adult as for a child. Set to music, simple bending and stretching routines can be done by children of different ages and stages. Letting the children take turns at calling out the exercises helps to get them involved. Under no circumstances however, should a child be forced to participate in such activities. The purpose of these programs is to build a foundation for a lifetime of physical activity.
Other Fitness Fun Activities
The list of fun things to do for the sake of physical fitness is as endless as a parent's or caregiver's imagination.
Indoor and outdoor obstacle courses
balloon or beach ball volleyball
bean bag toss
angels in the snow and an assortment of softball equipment
nature hikes both summer and winter are all activities that will encourage children to have some fitness fun while they strengthen their muscles, refine their balance and coordination and build confidence in themselves and their abilities.
Take a moment to get involved in your child's care. Ask your provider about her active play program.