Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Physical Activity in Washington Child Care

In a recent article by Medical Daily, the importance of physical activity in child care was emphasized by pediatricians and professionals. 

The article stated,
"Pediatricians recommend that young children get at least an hour a day of physical activity to help build motor skills, coordination and strong muscles and bones, as well as to reduce the potential for obesity later in life. Playground time is also key for developing social skills, like taking turns and conflict resolution."
The study that informed the article was published nationally. 

In a state where rain and chilly temperatures are the norm during winter months, this can be a challenge for child care providers--but Washington partners in Governor Jay Inslee's health-centric initiative, the Healthiest Next Generation, have created technical assistance documents to promote activity in early learning environments that do not rely on outdoor time per-say.

This release comes after the results of a 2013 child care survey that showcased low physical activity practices throughout child care in Washington state.

The Department of Health (Health), The University of Washington Center for Public Health Nutrition and Department of Early Learning (DEL) developed Physical Activity in Child Care Technical Assistance Handouts with essential tips for providers and families who regularly utilize child care centers and family homes.

Tips for family home child care programs include: 
  • Add activity breaks into daily routines, like circle time.
  • Get kids active between lessons. Even a five to ten minute burst of activity can help.
  • Avoid having kids stay seated for a long time. 
  • Include teacher-guided activities. Introduce simple movement games and songs like “Simon Says,” “Follow the Leader” and “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” 
Center tips are similar, and include ideas for how to combat barriers like cold weather:
  • Ask parents to dress children in appropriate clothing and shoes for active, outdoor play.
  • Stock spare clothes, boots, hats and gloves.
  • Take a nature walk or neighborhood tour when the grass or playground equipment is wet or covered in snow. 
  • Indoor play idea: set up an obstacle course using unlikely objects. Kids can push chairs across the room, crawl under tables or jump over blocks.
To see the finished, printable handout for family homes, click here: Physical Activity in Family Homes.

To see the finished, printable handout for centers, click here: Physical Activity in Centers.

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