Thursday, June 9, 2011

Guest Blog: Tips to Keep Children Active

Today's guest blog is a little different from the usual book faire.  Martha Swirzinski is an author, and her children's books, Leap...Laugh...Plop and  Guess...Giggle...Wiggle are all about movement and activity, so she's dropped by to talk to us about how to keep children active.  

 Tips to Keep Children Active

Use Outside as your Play Room
  • Take a nature hike – name the colors you see, pick up trash for a more pleasant environment, count different types of plants, move like the animals you see.
  • Visit a pick your own berry farm
  • Play at a neighborhood park
  • Ride bikes
  • Walk the dog together or just take a walk as a family
  • Teach your child how to plant a garden
  • Dig for worms and roly poly animals
  • Draw on the sidewalk with chalk
 Find out what your child likes to do
  • Read- take a walk to the library, pick books that encourage movement throughout the story.
  • Draw –  draw people being active and act out what they are doing
  • Play- Try some of the classic games like Red Rover, Red Light/Green Light, Hopscotch, Tag, Charades, or 4 Square.
  • Climb – a tree, a rope, a rock wall
  • Dance- turn on the music and DANCE!!  No one is watching so be silly and have fun!
Set a positive example
  • Park farther from store entrances
  • Take the stairs
  • When you go to the park with your child be active with them and have fun playing.
  • Eat healthy snacks and meals
  • Take your children places that encourage walking: Zoo, botanical gardens, beach, museums, and parks.
Safety Tips

  • Teach children about personal space.  Have each child extend their arms to the side and turn slowly in a complete circle.  Make sure the arms of one child do not touch the arms of another child.
  • Use the concept of freeze.  Play areas are often noisy so use your outside voice and yell freeze.  Teach the children that when they hear the word freeze they immediately hold the pose that they are in.  You can then have them sit down and regain their personal space.
  • Be sure that the proper fitting safety gear is worn for the activity.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Drinking water is important when children are exercising, especially when it is hot.  The Centers for Disease Control recommends 10 ounces every 15 – 20 minutes.
Martha received her Masters Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Maryland at College Park. She collaborated with Dr. Anita Tieman, a mental health therapist, to develop a series of books titled Movement and More. These three books, the fourth is on its way, are perfect for babies all the way to grade school children. Using entertaining rhymes and charming pictures, these developmentally based books offer fun and creative ways for your child to move while also providing mind stimulating activities on each page. Each book focuses on a specific set of movement skills. By just reading the book, children can engage in fun and exciting movement as well as enhancing other mind/body skills. Designed to be enjoyed again and again, the pages of these books are filled with laughter, learning, movement and more.

To purchase books:

Drop by Kevin McNamee's blog tomorrow for another great Writers on the Move interview with Mari Taylor.


  1. Martha, great tips -- but they do seem to be aimed at a suburban environment.

    I grew up in Manhattan, where we had to take the elevator down 13 floors to even get to the lobby. If we wanted to go to the park, we had to walk several blocks. We didn't drive anywhere. Instead we walked or took the bus. I did far more walking living in New York City than I ever did after I moved away.

  2. Terrific tips. It is so important to keep active. Just like reading, if our children see us read and keep active they will tend to follow.

    Children’s Author
    Write What Inspires You Blog
    The Golden Pathway Story book Blog
    Donna M. McDine’s Website

  3. Magdalena,
    Thanks so much for having me on today.
    @madcapmaggie- City living can give you lots of exercise. Just walk up those 13 flights and that's enough :-)

    @Donna- I agree we have to be a role model for our children, reading, exercising, being kind.

  4. Great tips, Martha. I think the safety one about teaching children to freeze when needed is so important. Aside from when they're acting up, it's important if they are in danger and stopping immediately can protect them.

    And, I also agree, we (parents and grandparents) must be role models for our children, in all aspects of life.

    Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

  5. This is SUCH a helpful list, Martha! I love how you phrased it: "Use the outside as your playroom." And helping children discover what they love is SO important! I'll be tweeting this link! :)

    Best always,

  6. The health and well being of a child is one of the most important things that parents always consider. We have an obligation to ensure that all our children can live, learn, and play in safe and healthy environments. Thanks for the post, I find it very informative.
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