Healthy Physical Development

New Year’s Resolution Words #5: Ways to Promote Healthy Eating for Kids

Many adults have made a New Year’s Resolution about eating; kids are picky eaters but there are some great ways to promote healthy eating for kids. This is another post in the New Year’s Resolution in a word series and today’s word is e for Eat.

snacks with kids

One of the simplest, but perhaps not the easiest, is to involve kids in food preparation and cooking. At first, before they are too young to use any tools, kids can help to wash vegetables and fruits. Carrots can turn from something spurned to almost an old friend when kids get to give them a wash and a scrub in the sink. By the way, do you know if a carrot will sink or float in water? Kids can do this quick science experiment when they are washing carrots before a meal. When a little older, kids can use a plastic picnic knife for spreading and cutting something soft, like bananas or grapes. Little Sister loves to help make a fruit salad and eat it all up.

nutritious Easter snack

Another way to promote healthy eating for kids is to make food fun. This means being a little more creative. We turned a black bean dip into dirt and planted some baby carrots. This garden in a dish was more than yummy for eating. Eating dirt never tasted as good as this garden. Ordinarily, a food like chick peas wouldn’t become a favorite treat, but this chocolate chip cookie dough transforms them completely. A popular treat, all this needs is mashed chickpeas, a bit of vanilla, a couple of spoonfuls of a nut butter your family can eat, and a sprinkle of chocolate chips. It might not fool you that this is raw cookie dough, but it doesn’t matter, it’s so good. It’s great by itself or used as a dip. Another dip is yogurt with chocolate also known as mud.

chocolate mud dip for kids

As children become more aware of their bodies and begin developing healthy habits, like brushing teeth and washing hands, we can talk to them about the importance of eating good food. We need to let them know that some choices have lots of sugar and so we only eat them sometimes. Bodies need foods that help them go and grow. Have you made any New Year’s resolution about foods and eating for yourself? Are there some ideas you can add to the list of ways to promote healthy eating for kids?

Before I Go to Kindergarten #10: Physical Development for Kids

Physical development for kids can vary greatly, especially during the preschool years of 0 to 5, but follows a similar pattern and sequence.

physical development milestones for kids

The milestone, “I can hop on 1 foot, jump, and run, is quite general. It is only meant as a guideline not as something kids have to do by the end of preschool. In any case, most kids at this age are running and jumping. So much so that we are usually asking them to slow down, particularly in the house or play center.

This item on the checklist is far from meaningless though. It reminds us that kids have demanding physical needs at this point. They must be active and on the go, not just for healthy bodies but healthy minds too.

Brains and bodies are partners in development. From birth, the child actively programs and stimulates the brain through movement. Repetitive movements install pathways and create wiring used in learning. For example, from the left-right, left-right pattern in crawling the brain makes the pattern connections. Language uses patterns and so does math.

Movement activities of the vigorous and frequent kind are critical for bodies and brains, physical hearts and emotional ones too. Communication follows this alternating pattern your turn then my turn. Relationships are also based on it in a give and take exchange.

Kids grow and develop at their own rate and in their own time. Somehow though, as parents and caregivers, we can’t resist comparing our children to others. Have you ever heard yourself asking another parent, “Does your child walk yet?” or “Is your child talking?” From their answers, we either reassure ourselves our kids are okay or we worry. Just in case you didn’t know, teachers do this too. We inquire, “How many of the kids in your class are reading?” and “What section are your students doing in math?” Then we go back to our classrooms and secretly do a little dance or pace and fret. “Own rate and own time!” should be in big letters at the entrance to every playground and school.whole body play

For a play-of-the-day, include some movement activities like time in the playground or park, running in the yard, jumping around like popcorn, and more. What other movement play activities can you suggest for physical development for kids?

The rest of this infographic checklist is on the first Before I Go to Kindergarten post.

Kindergarten Readiness – Spring Fun & Learning Activities #1

St. Patrick’s Day means that it’s almost spring. Kids seem to be made of them — springs , that is — at this time of the year. Days are certainly longer especially with the time change, but are not always warm enough or dry enough to be outside. And all that energy needs to move. Here’s a way to put it to good use and promote physical development and kindergarten readiness, too.

kids-healthy-physical-developmentFind a safe place for lots of moving. What are some different ways to move? Spring, jump, leap, walk, run, roll, crawl, hop, slither, dance, twirl, twist, fly, etc. Children need to explore all kinds of movement to develop both their large (gross) muscle skills and coordination, and awareness of their body’s position in space. Keeping the leaping and springing to one area can be tricky and it seems that constant reminders are needed to walk not run inside. Nevertheless, kids seem to have more springs this month than king-sized beds. Plus, the moving is good for growing both bodies and brains and that promotes readiness for kindergarten.

Q. What season is it on a trampoline? A. Spring time!

Readiness for Kindergarten -Hearts & Other Parts, Part 5

Watching babies develop an awareness of their own bodies is fascinating. Have you seen a baby watch it’s hands and fingers in wonderment, moving them slightly and slowly as if questioning how they got there and what they do? Then babies discover their feet and curl themselves into balls as they hold onto their toes. … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten -Hearts & Other Parts, Part 5

Readiness for Kindergarten – Whole Body Play Fun

With colder weather comes more inside the house days than outside ones. Does your little one need to wear off some pent-up energy? Physical play  is essential to both children’s healthy development and their learning. It’s easy to understand how physical play contributes to physical development and gross motor (muscle) coordination. But this kind of … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Whole Body Play Fun

Readiness for Kindergarten – Physical Activity and Memory

Physical activity has a beneficial effect on health, and recent studies show that it even helps memory function. Because memory is such a key strategy in learning, it’s important then that kids get lots of physical activity. While it seems that kids never stop moving, as parents and caregivers we need to make sure that they … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Physical Activity and Memory

Readiness for Kindergarten – Pumpkins Around The Block

Just a week until Halloween night. To get into shape for all that walking kids might need to practice going around the block. If your little one has a wagon, the pumpkin might like to go along for the ride. Just make sure it can’t fall out. Lots of big muscle activity of different kinds … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Pumpkins Around The Block

Readiness for Kindergarten – Backpacks Rock

Backpacks not only rock, they bubble and fly, too. Using imagination they can. For a physical development and readiness for kindergarten activity you and your child can pretend that you are moving with a backpack that’s filled with all different kinds of things. Using imagination muscles as well as body ones, you and your child can pretend … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Backpacks Rock

Readiness for Kindergarten – Learning Fun At Home/Laundry

Previous blog posts were about sorting the laundry for some readiness for kindergarten language fun and some basic learning about size and colors. Now, that the clothes are washed it’s time to put them away and have some physical activity playtime. Laundry rooms never seem to be in convenient locations but putting the clothes away doesn’t … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Learning Fun At Home/Laundry

Kindergarten Readiness – Jumping for Skeletons

Move over, Jack. Hello, magic jumping beans. Did you know that activity is critically important for children’s skeletons? A professor of medicine, Dr. Heather McKay has been researching the role of exercise on skeletal development. “There is no time as important as childhood for the health …of a skeleton,” she advises. Early activity can actually … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Jumping for Skeletons