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Keep Kids Healthy During Summer

Jun 6, 2008
Summer vacation is just around the corner, but that doesn't mean your kids should stop being active. Summer is the perfect time to get outside and get some fresh air and exercise!

It's important for parents to remember that at each stage of life fitness is an important aspect to incorporate into daily living. Even toddlers should get outside to hop, skip or jump around.

The National Association of Sports and Physical Education has different recommendations for each stage of development; toddlers through school age children.

Everyday toddlers (ages 2 - 3) should be active for at least 30 minutes of adult led structured physical activity and 60 minutes of unstructured or free play.

Preschoolers (ages 4 - 5) should take part in a minimum of 60 minutes of adult led structured physical activity and an additional 60 minutes of unstructured activity or free play each day.

School age children (ages 6 - 12) need 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day. They should accumulate activity throughout the day which can be broken down into 15 minute increments.

Toddlers and preschoolers should not be inactive for more than one hour at a time except for sleeping. School age children should avoid periods of inactivity of 2 hours or more.

Being healthy improves self-esteem, helps maintain a healthy weight, and decreases the risk of serious illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. It is no secret that childhood obesity is an epidemic in the United States. Bud did you know that a recent study showed that many toddlers at age 3 are too heavy for their age? By age 10 the children are obese with early symptoms of diabetes and other health problems. Two components to combating the battle against childhood obesity are physical activity and eating right.

Lead by example. When your children see you being active by taking a walk, going for a bike ride or doing yard work they too will want to be active.

It's easier than you think to get moving. Here are ten fun games you and your children can play together this summer:

1. Create a Pirate Adventure in your own backyard. Draw a map that leads to a treasure chest filled with stickers, pencils and coloring paper. Along the way incorporate physical opportunities like jumping, hopping or running in place. (ideal for 2-3 year olds)

2. Duck, Duck Goose or Ring around the Rosy (ideal for 2-3 year olds)

3. Red Light, Green Light (ideal for 4-5 year olds)

4. Set up a goal and kick a ball back and forth (ideal for 4-5 year olds)

5. Hit a baseball off a T-ball stand (ideal for 4-5 year olds)

6. Play freeze tag or Marco Polo - in or out of water (ideal for 4-5 year olds)

7. Visit a hiking or biking trail (ideal for children 6 and up)

8. Walk the family dog! (ideal for children 6 and up)

9. Get friends together and create your own Summer Olympic event (ideal for children 6 and up)

10. Visit a playground (ideal for children of all ages)

Eating right and staying active is a key component to developing good habits that will last a lifetime. Enjoy your summer - get outside and enjoy the sunshine!
About the Author
Regina Luttrell is a Certified Kid's Nutrition Specialist and President of SnackerTracker. Visit http://www.snackertracker.com for more information on kid's nutrition, family recipes, fun activities or to order a SnackerTracker Nutritional Tracking System.
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