It's snowing outside - again. With little ones - or big ones -- stuck inside and feeling trapped, it's easy to resort to TV and video games to pass the time. But after too much Mickey Mouse and not enough movement those young bodies will only gain weight and lose muscle.
What can you do? How do you stimulate your children to exercise - to move - indoors? If you are home with your kids, it's important that you are getting everyone off the couch and elevating heart rates - while still giggling and having fun, of course.
"The importance of exercise for youth should not be understated, says Dr. David Bernhardt who specializes in primary care sports medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. "Rather than getting your youngsters involved in a lot of structured sports, the focus should be on a variety of free play activities both in the home, and outdoors," he adds.
Indoors or out, making exercise fun can excite children to move around and get them physically vital, stronger and more energetic. It's a great first step on the road to cultivating a lifetime of health and fitness.
This is the second part in a three-post series from Care.com on how to get your kids up and moving with exciting, age-appropriate physical activity. Next up...PRESCHOOLERS! Keep reading to learn more!
Traditional games are fine to keep preschoolers busy, but even better are activities that will have a lasting educational impact. Use these important learning goals for 3- to 5-year-olds as a basis for playtime.
- Tea party. Have the preschooler host a tea party for dolls, stuffed animals, and you. Invite others -- whether siblings or sitters -- to join in on the make-believe play to develop social skills, in addition to imagination.
- Cooking or store. If the child has Little Tikes or similar plastic food and playsets at home, encourage her to re-enact familiar scenarios from real life. Or she can use older pots and pans. By driving the action herself, she's learning to develop narratives.
- Dress up. Allow her to put on and take off costumes herself, which also teaches hand-eye coordination in addition to creativity and role playing.
Stories and songs
- Story time. Read stories often. Ask questions about what objects the preschooler might see in picture books, and encourage the child to ask about any words she doesn't understand. This develops comprehension and vocabulary skills. It also provides important fodder for pretend play.
- Sing songs. Build listening, voice, and language skills by singing favorite songs like "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." Adding the hand and body movements also develop hand-eye coordination and memory building.
- Foreign languages. Encourage word association and second-language building at this age in a game form. Take a handful of familiar objects such as "ball" or "train" and teach them in Spanish, French, or American Sign Language.
These tips were published with permission from Care.com.
I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!