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Archive for the ‘Physical Activity’ Category

‘Tis the season for buying toys for our little ones.  We have choices beyond belief and strong guidance from our little receivers.  My son, like his father when he was young, meticulously reviews the toy catalogs and circles everything he wants.  That way, there will be no mistake in what will be under the tree.  From this list, it becomes my challenge to choose and properly assign toy selections to those who will be giving him gifts.  A major consideration I have in choosing is to include what I call, active toys.

The experts agree that kids need at least one hour of active free-play every day and at least 30 minutes of structured physical activity.  I consider free play as play that allows kids to safely move their bodies in any way they want.  Structured physical activity includes activities where kids are learning skills like how to kick a ball and how to catch and throw. Most kids embrace the opportunity to run and jump whenever it is given to them.  Some kids need encouragement to be active. My son falls somewhere in the middle.  Some days, getting him to settle is my goal and other days, I have to encourage him to move.  I have found that having a selection of active toys makes the encouragement easier.  Therefore, when a gift giving opportunity arises, I always make sure that my selections include toys that require him to move.

Active toys can accomplish both goals of encouraging free play and teaching important movement skills.  Toys like balls, tricycles or bicycles, sleds, jump ropes, bean bags, hula hoops, building blocks and even sidewalk chalk all promote movement or physical activity.  

The benefits of physical activity are many.  Who does not want a child that is ready for bed at night because they are tired from playing?  Kids who are physically active:

maintain a healthy weight, 

feel good about themselves, 

develop strong minds and bodies,

develop important movement skills and coordination. 

 Also, being physically active early in life makes it much more likely that physical activity will always be part of a person’s life.  Believe it or not, some kids do not naturally learn movement skills like hopping on one foot, skipping, or walking backwards.  Teaching kids these skills will make them much more comfortable in wanting to participate in future sports.

When looking at toys this season or for any gift giving opportunity you have, consider whether or not the toy you are looking at will require kids to move.  Choose active toys.  Kids and parents both will thank you!

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