Did you know that the CDC states 13.9% of 2-5 year olds are considered obese? And children who are obese are at higher risk for many other chronic health conditions and diseases such as sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes and heart problems. That is not even considering they may be bullied more than a child with a healthy weight which can cause depression and lower self esteem.
Now, on the other hand, did you know that walking in nature for just 5 minutes improves a person’s mood, self esteem, creativity and is a great start on bone and muscle strengthening and cardiovascular improvement!
To help you get started or continue on a healthy summer, I thought I would give you 5 FUNctional things to do with your 5 year old (or under child) on a 5 minute walk! Now that’s a tongue twister.
Now as I go through these, I want you to keep in mind. These may seem too easy. You’re thinking “My child isn’t learning anything with these easy tasks.” But, I’m hear to yell from the rooftops, “JUST BECAUSE IT’S EASY FOR US DOESN’T MEAN IT IS EASY FOR THEM!” Did you read that as if I were yelling it down from the roof? I hope so because I want it to stick with you. Too often I see parents try a game or craft that is just too advanced for their child and then, unfortunately, everyone is frustrated and a new craft or game doesn’t get tried again for a while. So K.I.S.S (Keep it simple stupid*) and try one of these activities today!
Number 1. See how many things you can list
You don’t need to bring a list or anything just literally talk about everything you see. You’ll be surprised at what your child observes that you may not. This activity is a great language learning opportunity as well as “how the world works” conversations that follow.
I'm actually going to give you a two in one with this activity. You can repeat this activity
*Coming Soon* Head over to my Youtube channel to see this activity in action with my daughter and me!
Number 2. Walk backwards, sideways, skip & hop!
Technically this isn’t walking but you can easily transform any plain ol’ walk (which of course is great in itself) into the perfect opportunity to practice a multitude of gross motor skills. The PT in me in jumping for joy!
Here is an example of a 5 min “walk” with this activity.
Try jumping over all the cracks for one minute, walk backwards for one minute, skip for 1 minute, gallop for one minute and then finish with walking because after all of that you are probably breathing heavy now!
Number 3. Play catch
Just because you’re walking doesn’t mean you can’t multi-task. I mean, us moms are queens at it. Am I right?! To start this activity all you need is a stuffed animal (that you don’t mind getting dirty – I know I have about 1,000,001 around the house) or a ball. Then try to pass it back and forth as you walk. Count how many you can get without dropping it. Try throwing it higher, low, around your back, overhand and underhandedly. Can your child copy the different ways you threw the ball?
Number 4. Play I Spy
The classic car game brought to the road another way. All you have to do is say “I spy with my little eye something ___________ then fill in the blank”. Give clues that make your child think. For example, you could say, “I spy with my little eye something that is heavy.” Or, “I spy with my little eye something that is shaped like a circle”. Now, they have to know what heavy or a circle means and think about the weights and shapes of the objects around them. Compare it to your clue and try to figure out the correct answer. Who knew such a “simple” game incorporate the use of geometry and math skills?
Number 5. Go on a Scavenger Hunt
Last, “simple” activity for this blog is one of my favorites. I love it so much that I actually have included it in a slightly varied way in one of my developmentally based play kits as well as in my play membership! I mean if that doesn’t show you I love this activity, I don’t know what will.
All you need to do is print the card out (or create your own and work on your numbering skills!) and find that many objects. For example, when you get to number 11, you could go find 11 sticks. This activity is working on numbers and counting as well as gross motor skills as they search for the objects. My heart is so happy typing this activity for you to try out.
***Of course, most of you will use common sense but I feel like I need to say, please don’t be doing any of these activities on the roads themselves and always use safety precautions when near roads.***
What activity sounds the most FUN? Do you think you’ll try one out this week? If so, I would LOVE to hear how it goes. Tell me in the comments or better yet tag us in a post about it on Facebook so I can see your littles having FUN! @stagesofFUN
Go Have a FUN Day!