WHAT IS EXERCISE?
Talk with children about exercise. Explain that it is activity that requires the use of the body’s muscles. Help children understand that regular exercise can keep the body healthy and fit. Show pictures of people exercising in different ways.
Point out that before exercising, people should always “warm up” their muscles so that they don’t injure them. Show children various warm-ups — running slowly, reaching up with arms, bending over to touch floor.
Illustrate the importance of warming up, by showing children cooked and uncooked spaghetti. Ask: If the spaghetti is muscles, which would bend easily? Which would break easily? Share that by warming up before exercise, we stretch out our muscles so they can bend and move easily. This makes them like the “warmed up” (cooked) spaghetti. If we don’t warm up, our muscles are stiff and could break easily (like the uncooked spaghetti).
For additional tips and guidelines, see “How To Do Warm-Up Exercises” in the On the Web section below.
You can use this timeless piece of equipment to get your kids moving… and having fun.
— Spread out different colored hula hoops on the ground in any arrangement. Invite children to walk, run, or hop around without touching any of the hoops.
— As children move around the hoops, call out instructions such as: put one foot in a green hoop; put two hands in a red hoop; and so on.
— Play music as children move around. Stop the music to give a direction such as “Two children get in a yellow hoop” or “1 person get in a red hoop.”
Create rackets for each child by hot gluing a paper plate onto a wooden paint-stirrer (stick). Next blow up colorful balloons. Have children sit on the floor and try to keep balloons in the air by paddling them. Or ask pairs of children to paddle a balloon back and forth to one another. How long can they keep it going?
MOVE TO IT!
— Use rhythm sticks to tap out a slow beat and ask children to move to it. Then tap out a fast beat and let children move. Continue giving children a chance to “feel the beat” and get a good workout.
In a large open area, invite children to spread out and lie on the floor. Then recite this little verse:
Watch the little children as they sleep.
When they wake up they’ll all be sheep! (or dogs, horses, so on)
Children should then hop up and move around pretending to be sheep (or other animal). Blow a whistle to signify it is time to “sleep” again and repeat the activity naming another kind of animal. Begin and end this activity with the rhyming sheep verse above.