It’s known that habits we form as kids tend to continue into adulthood. The habit of exercise and outdoor activity is especially powerful when taught to young children and maintained as a regular practice.
Here are some startling statistics:
- 39% of adults are not engaging in leisure physical activity
- 60% of Americans are not regularly active
- 25% are not active at all
- The average American spends the equivalent of 60 days a year in front of the television
- The average time spent playing video games has gone up 25% in the last 4 years
- 34% of children are overweight or obese
And we wonder why we are fat as a society.
It is important to teach kids at a very young age to get outside, to move and to be physically active. If it’s not taught as kids it becomes progressively harder to teach at older ages. If kids are allowed to sit in front of a TV or computer all day as a toddler, they don’t learn the mental skills and enjoyment of physical activity.
I understand you can’t have the kids out playing every minute of every day. That’s just not reasonable, there’s other activates, learning, napping, and just bad weather (I’m near Cleveland, Ohio – we can go weeks without being able to get outside). But you should aim for 60 minutes a day.
The “one hour a day plan” is a great place to start. You don’t need to do all the time at once, it can be broken up into several 15 minute or 30 minute time periods. In fact the NFL has a current campaign, their Play 60 program. If you go there you will see they have some great idea and helpful activities.
Here are some other ideas you can use:
- Go for a walk/hike around the neighborhood. Even walking is good for you. Have the children all hold onto a rope as you lead them around. You can even use this time to stop and learn about things as you pass them.
- Play the hokey-pokey or Hullaballoo Game. These are great fun and get the kids up and moving around.
- Dance. Kids love to dance, put on some music and let them go. Go a step further and teach them some moves. Here’s a good search I did to get you going: http://www.ehow.com/search.aspx?s=kid+dance+moves&Options=0
- Create your own TV shows. Do skits or plays with the kids. Again it is more important for kids to learn to get up and move not so much high levels of physical activities.
- Have the kids clean up the childcare toys. Yes this may take a lot of time and you may still pick up most of the toys but in the process you will get the kids up and moving. You also get to teach the kids great responsibility life skills.
- Let me know what other activities you do with kids to get them physically act every day.
Those of us in the child care industry have a responsibility to try and teach the kids in our care to be the best they possibly can be. One part of this is to teach them to be physically active.