“We all know kids can’t sit still-so let’s tap into that energy for health and fitness.” A great quote that is the subject focus of 303 Kid Approved Exercises + Active Games, by Kimberly Wechsler. As a mother I am always reminding myself that its perfectly normal for my 5 and 7 year olds to be bouncy the minute they wake up until their heads hit the pillow at night. As a fitness professional, I also know that through much research, it has been shown that activity throughout the day is crucial for our growing children, both physically and mentally.
First of all, to give you a bit of insight on the book. This was an easy, quick read that could be very beneficial for any facility where children will congregate (even for home use!). Although it is labeled for ages 6-8, there are many activities that could easily be performed by younger children under adult supervision. Just as well, these activities could also be altered to be more challenging for older kids, too. As a personal trainer, I know how imperative it is to enjoy the activity in order to stay motivated and Kimberly makes the reader aware of this several times over. Just as important, there is a responsibility to keep all aspects of healthy living a part of the program and I saw this portrayed as well.
In our school, even as a kindergartener, most kids will have nightly homework. Surely the time to finish can be relatively short, but if your kids are like mine, they just want to get on with movement and be done with homework. I have always been one to add more activity into my family’s lifestyle and the hours after school up until dinner time are key moments for us. When I asked, my two children said they love when I am cooking dinner and encourage them to play Simon Says. (Yes, it is a great break for the moments when something needs to cook for a while). We will go through a series of crazy things such as hopping up and down on one foot or walking like a their favorite animal. I not only offer them some structured activity but am showing them that exercise IS fun! I find it essential with my daughter especially, because she often gets distracted and fit breaks are a great way to return her back to mental focus so as to complete her homework.
Kids, did you know:
- The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition says that only a third of American children participate in physical activities on a daily basis
- Regular physical activity promotes better sleep, improved self-confidence, higher self-esteem and a better overall outlook on life
- Grabbing a moment of fitness only takes 15 minutes!
Parents, did you know:
- Encouraging your child to take fit breaks will ultimately lead into YOU taking fit breaks which is a great way to spend more time together
- You can easily get your daily workout in by following your naturally “can’t-sit-still” child as much as possible
- You will create lasting memories for your children through family fit breaks
- You can create a sense of leadership in your children by offering them the opportunity to make the fitness calls
Here is a sample program I found in the book. I did change a few things but within the book you will find other sample circuits to keep kids highly motivated for fitness everyday.
Another important thought on kids and fitness that I take very seriously, is in regards to our personal responsibilities. As parents, we not only have a responsibility of introducing the lifelong habit of daily activity to our children, we also have a responsibility of keeping it in our schools. Our children spend on average, 6 hours per day in school. That is a large portion of their day especially if you also tack on the time spent on homework and in after-school care. Personally, I have been blessed to have my children in a school where they value physical education, recess and mini bursts of fitness. Now, naturally, not all of the teachers in the school feel the need, but at least the concept is there along with P.E. and recess. Unfortunately, I was recently at a district wellness task force meeting and it was brought to our attention that there have been several requests to omit P.E. in our high schools. You can be sure, even though my children have a few years to get there, that I have already begun my personal quest towards reversing those requests. My point? Be on top of what is going on in your schools, private or public. It is not only going to keep your children active and healthy by keeping recess and P.E. in our schools, it is also going to take a little stress off of you, as the parent/caregiver, knowing that your children will have at the very least some physical activity while in school.
So get moving at any moment you can with your children. Before you know it, you too will be more fit and maybe even hit those personal health and fitness goals through fit breaks!
303 Kid-Approved Exercises + Active Games, by Kimberly Wechsler
5 Ways to Stay Fit – yes, even adults will benefit from their children’s fit breaks
Why Kids Need Recess – hot topic!
Family Fitness Quiz – how fit are you?
Are Sports Dangerous? – a smidgen of the other side, because its always good to know both sides of the story.
Benefits of fitness – its not just about reducing weight and chances of disease