As we all know a happy, healthy lifestyle does not come without effort. Many parents and childcare providers believe that children get enough exercise simply by their active nature. Research proves this is simply not the case. Physical fitness is only one part of the equation in leading this type of lifestyle. Stretch-n-Grow recognizes the importance of proper nutrition to the well-being of a child. Experts agree that the elements of health-related fitness work together to improve overall fitness and to reduce the risk of disease and disability. Children’s fitness programs must also focus on the development of fundamental motor skills such as locomotor, nonlocomotor, manipulative and weight maneuvering skills. Children who fail to master these skills between two and five years of age may never realize their full potential to perform them.
Stretch-n-Grow is a holistic health and fitness programme designed for young children. The foundation is FUN! 100% EXER-CITEMENT in every class! Energising & age-appropriate exercise disguised as fun that captures and engages children’s imagination, keeping them moving with thrilling tunes and fun props! A Stretch-n-Grow class is created by combining the main components of fitness and focusing on the development of fundamental motor skills. Other components included are comprised of exercises that improve strength, flexibility, endurance,balance, agility and coordination.
We have put together a list of 5 activities that are fun, can be enjoyed by the whole family and most importantly encourage children to work on certain aspects of fitness.
1. Toy Charades: Fold up plenty of pictures of the various popular toys and place them in a hat. Each child/adult in turn picks out one and every one acts like that toy! EG: Lightening McQueen (Vroom vroom racing – running on thespot), Woody, Tigger (bounce/baby jumps), Spiderman (skip & shoot webs),T-Rex (Lunge & roar)………. (Locomotorskills)
2. Cleanup your own garden: Divide a room in half (obstruction free), each half is a back garden, have 2 teams, each team stands in a garden. Now add ‘rubbish’ (rolled up socks) to each, and the team with the cleanest garden after 2 minutes wins. Safest played with a small number of children/adults.Encourage the children to crawl (or run if you have a larger space) to retrieve the ‘rubbish’ and throw it into the other garden! (Manipulative skills)
3. Crawling Sorting Obstacle course – Pretend with your child that you are wild animals crawling through the jungle looking for food. Lay out some pillows/cushions and other obstacles. Scatter beanbags/socks at one end of the course. Encourage your child to crawl over the pillows/cushions and around the various obstacles to retrieve a bean bag/sock and crawl back to the start-sorting them into piles according to colour. (Co-ordination)
4. Walk the line/plank – Tape some masking tape on the floor and encourage your child to walk on the line. Heel to toe. (Balance). Variation: Place bean bag/soft teddy on your child’s head as they walk the line (Proprioception)
5. Playground activities – Tag (Endurance), cross the monkey bars (Strength and co-ordination), cross the balance beam (Core strength and balance).
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