Make fitness a fun part of your preschool program

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on October 5, 2011

in Bam Radio Series on Early Childhood Education, Fitting Fitness into the Program

Large motor development is a critical part of the growing young child. One aspect of large motor development is physical fitness. There are many ways to include physical fitness into your program. In today’s Bam Radio Broadcast, the experts shed light on ways you can incorporate physical fitness into your preschooler’s day. You will really want to listen to the broadcast so you can hear the different perspectives on helping children stay fit and the different ways you can easily and naturally add physical fitness to your program.

Fitting Fitness Into the Curriculum
Rae Pica with  Nikki Steven, Diane H. Craft, Ph.D., Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed.

Nikki Steven, Diane H. Craft, Ph.D., Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed.

 You can listen to this Bam Radio Show Broadcast by clicking here or here!

Structured and Unstructured

During the interview, I discovered that children actually need about 1 to 2 hours of physical activities per day! You may be thinking that this is not possible with your busy schedule. But the experts on the radio show give great and simple ideas for how this can be done through both structured and unstructured activities.

Structured physical activity can be defined as “activities that are intentionally planned and implemented by an informed adult.”  Circle games like “Sally Goes Round the Sun” are just one example of a structured physical activity…

Unstructured physical activity can be defined as free play or times when the children can run around and get out some of their energy without a specific agenda or activity involved. Running on the play ground would be an example of this. And my class LOVES to run!

Both structured and unstructured play can provide children with opportunities for physical activities.

A simple plan for fitness

After listening to the experts, I was motivated to go back to my classroom and make sure I am also including simple fitness activities into my program…

Count to Five and Exercise!

I call our simple fitness plan “Count to Five and Exercise!”

I do a much better job at staying consistent with something when I have a plan. My “Count to Five and Exercise” plan simply consists of including four to five different morning stretches or exercises and as we do each one, we count to five.  For example, today we jogged in place and as we jogged we counted a slow, but steady and loud 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.  Then we switched to jumping jacks and counted to five again. Next we did arm swings, then tummy twists, and we ended with toe touches.  We counted to five for each of our exercises….

In the Bam Radio Show interview, the experts share other ways to integrate physical activities into your day easily and naturally.  Be sure to take a listen to all their advice and suggestions. You don’t want to miss it!

This article is being shared with you by Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool - Promoting excellence in early childhood education at home and in the preschool classroom!

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1 Jennifer October 5, 2011 at 1:51 am

I am so glad your post touched on movement while learning. I do songs all day long that require the kids to move… while we count and sing our ABC’s. I think movement (thus fitness) should be all day every day for every grade. That’s how kids learn!

As far as the fitness part… I just feel that we have the kids…we might as well teach them! Know what I mean. There are so many topics that are just good things to know that we assume the parents teach them. If we have a captive audience… we should use the opportunity! I feel that way about a lot of topics though.

Especially when it comes to early childhood… districts need to focus on well rounded people. We are shaping them into who they will be. If we do nothing but shove reading and math in… they lose interest! Kids are people, sometimes they forget that. =)

Empowering Little Learners!

2 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 5, 2011 at 11:42 pm

We do need to provide a well – rounded program for children of all ages. I see too many programs that kind of forget about the large motor end of things. We get too busy with the academic side but both are equally important!

3 Amber October 5, 2011 at 8:23 am

Yes, when it’s “planned” we tend to be more consistent in slipping it in. I started out this year with a “Let’s Move” where we did 2-3 songs off of various children’s movement cd’s (children’s aerobics cds) but we’ve gotten away from that as it ended up that I had nappers at that time. Thanks for the post, it puts it back on my priority list to fit that time back in to our morning somewhere!

4 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 5, 2011 at 11:40 pm

We have been doing our Count to Five Fitness for Five Days now:)

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