Friday, March 15, 2013

Balloon Tennis, Soccer, Hockey

All you need for this is a few balloons and some sort of racquet. I used foam circles and dowel rods, a little double sided tape to stick it together. This equaled big safe fun!

Create a goal, or just let them free play to music, instant success!

Big muscle movement and tons of smiles!
Give it a try!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Color Sort, Skip

The concept is SIMPLE, kids love to sort/match, kids love to move... add them together and what a good combo!

Materials -- 4 buckets of one of each color, then various objects of those colors. See picture below for ideas. I used bean bags, foam hands, relay baton sticks, fleece balls, plastic food, and shakey eggs.... However, the sky is the limit as to what you can use. Could even just use toys in the playroom or laundry? Feel free to comment below with additional ideas.

We created a home base, where the items were mixed together in a large laundry basket. Children were instructed to skip to each bucket, not run, not walk, but skip and drop one item in the correct colored bucket! If they are unfamiliar with skipping this is a great time to introduce this loco-motor skill or any other of your choice. Really young (18 months-3 years old) may need to simply sort the items, adding loco-motors might be too confusing.

Play several times :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Tree Pose Freeze!

All you need for this game is enough vinyl spots (cloth placemats or carpet squares work good too) so each child has their own and music. I love "Under the Shady Tree" by Laurie Berkner Band.

Show students "Tree Pose" see yoga card in this post, if you are unsure. Instruct kids to dance around room (various locomotors: skip, hop, run, walk, crawl) then when music stops, find a spot and
freeze in tree pose. Hold tree pose until the music starts again. Lengthen and shorten the time of holding pose based on your group's abilities.

Great activity that requires listening, balance, and body control! A favorite for many ages.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Paper Plate Snow Ski

Paper plates? Check!
Imagination? Check!
Energetic Kids? Check!
That's all you need!

Let their imagination's run wild while they play with their paper plate skis. Older toddlers/preschoolers can master them on their feet while younger ones may need to start crawling with them on their hands.

To start:
1. Designate one area of the room as the valley. Have them ski to Snow Valley.
2. Once there have them stop for some pretend hot cocoa before heading back up the mountain.
3. Hop on the "chair lift" and climb the mountain- each time they head back up have them carry their skis and preform a different locomotor skill. (Skip,hop,gallop, walk backwards,etc)
4. Repeat! As many times as you like :)

*tip: If you don't live in an area of the country where snow skiing is popular, you may want to begin the game looking at a book or pictures of people snow skiing.

Good Luck!

As always I welcome comments and suggestions.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Snow Day Action Dice

Want a winter warm-up to encourage movement and fun! Try out the Snow Day action dice. In an earlier post I showed you an action dice, these are great because they can be adapted in SO MANY WAYS!! In fact, I am saving square Kleenex boxes to make them for all seasons! :)

Here is a photo of the print-out used to make this. ENJOY! Feel free to share other ideas for more action dice.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Snow is Falling!!!

Grab a couple LARGE bags of cotton balls and a parachute. Let their imagination run wild! Find a great song, song one together, and then let them lay on the parachute and make a "snow angel"! Guaranteed to be tons if fun on a cold winter day!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Action Dice

Several times on Pinterest I have seen a dice game similar to this, so I decided to give it a shot.

Love how it turned out.

1. Simply wrapped a watch box, square box, in colored paper.
2. Cut and glued on my action cues.
3. Covered the box in clear packing tape, helps "laminate" it and keep it strong.

Love it!!! Can't wait to use it in class.

Here is where I found the animal themed cards this time.... -- Another great blogger!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

All you do is play? GREAT!


At Healthy Starts, LLC we develop each movement class with the idea that the children should feel like they are playing. Playing is how children learn. We provide moments to learn as they run, skip, jump, chase, and gather toys from various areas of the room. Does your movement program feel like organized play time? Yes, GREAT!!! You are on the right track. Check out this great article from - They have a great Facebook page as well. (from American Academy of Pediatrics)

"Play is how young children start to get ready for school.

They learn how to feel comfortable being with other children, and how to be a good friend.

Play gets children ready for learning—paying attention to adults, playing nicely with others, and feeling comfortable being away from their parents.

Pretend play is one way children learn about difficult feelings like anger and fear."

See more


Monday, December 31, 2012

Reflections of 2012

I started a journal for my kids a little over 3 years ago when my 1st born was 18 months. Though I don't always have or make time to write in it every night, I do try at least once a month. I write to them and sign it "Love you more than you know -Mommy" each time. They will someday read all about our moments, through my eyes.
Tonight's entry is the highlights of 2012. I make a list each year with the help of my husband of our favorite memories from the year, these include family, business, pop culture, and whatever else we would like to remember. One of the things listed tonight, New Years Eve, will be the beginning of Healthy Starts. Though this business hasn't blossomed as fast as I originally hoped, I am so proud of what it has become. I have met many AMAZING families. Above all, I will be able to show my kids one day, that even though it was a lot of work to start from scratch, we are all capable of living our dreams, no matter how big or small. I have a vision, to bring music, dance, smiles, and laughter to families in search of a special time they can connect and play with their kids and watch them grow and develop. I look forward to our growth in 2013!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Tunnel

Don't have a tunnel? Wow, you are missing out! They are great for the daycare, classroom, or just to have at home with your kiddos (for a snowy day - like today!)

This simple piece of equipment, folds up easy for quick storage, doesn't take up space, and all kids LOVE it!!! And, why wouldn't they! Adventure, creativity, surprise at the other end, and they get the chance to REALLY move! Muscles large and small enjoy this basic activity!

Kids of all ages enjoy crawling through the tunnel. Pair it with a few other pieces of equipment to form an obstacle course or just use it on its own as positive reinforcement.

Many varieties of tunnels exist and can be combined to create plenty of crawling fun for a rainy day or indoor gross motor time. You might even position it to crawl out the door of your classroom for students to crawl through as they leave for or come back from a class like music or lunch. How fun would that be!  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hoop Road Trip

A hoop and an imagination are all that is needed for this ACTIVE game for kids. Place the hoop around your waist, grab on, and take it for a drive!

Lesson Title: Hoop Road Trip 

Lesson Theme: Spatial Awareness,  Imagination

Materials needed: Hula Hoops

 Age level: Parent and Tot - elementary age

Activity description: Talk to students about a road trip, where would they like to travel? Grandma's, the beach, amusement park, etc. Show them the hoop and place it around your waist, encourage them to do the same. Then walk them through the steps to get the car ready for the trip (start engine, check to see if you have enough gas, better fill the tank, check the windshield washers -- wipe arm back and forth, check the radio -- hum a short little tune). Then have them start to slowly move around the room - Forward, Reverse, in the rain (windshield wipers), look at the world around us, muddy road (slip/slide steps), radio (hum), out of gas (drop hoop and sit criss/cross -- wait to be re-fueled), in a hurry, DON'T forget to ask them for more ideas for the trip, and then finally at their destination.

Kangaroos and Bunnies

Hop, Hop, Hop ... Hop small and up, Hop big and long. This game is a very simple concept that can be adapted for many ages and almost any size space. Kangaroos and Bunnies focuses on the skill of hopping, while encouraging listening skills.

Lesson Title: Kangaroos and Bunnies  

Lesson Theme: Hop, follow visual and vocal commands  

Materials needed: 1 kangaroo picture, 1 bunny picture printed on card stock, music, tape  

Age level: Parent and Tot - elementary age 

Activity Description: Show the the group each of the signs (1 kangaroo, 1 bunny). Ask them to demonstrate how each animal hops, discuss the difference. Kangaroos - hop big and long, extending the body in a long-jump fashion. Bunnies - hop small and up, hopping on tip toes in short quick bursts.

Set up a home base in the middle of the room (masking tape box on the floor, or the center circle on a gym floor). Tape 1 sign at one end of the space, Tape the other to the opposite end of the space. Instruct students that when the music stops they must listen for the correct cue, and hop in the appropriate direction and style all the way to the sign. When the music starts again students should run back to the home base, dance and move to the music waiting for the next cue. 

Pay attention to the kids, make breaks shorter for those who tend to loose interest quickly. -- If music seems too overwhelming for the young ones, simply use verbal cues to keep them moving. Continue for several rounds. 

Move with Props

It has been my experience that tots are much more ENGAGED in an activity if they have something to move and manipulate with their hands. Give them a PROP. Now this is just a short list of props and I plan to add more pictures in the future.

List of props to purchase/make/try

  • Hula hoops (various sizes)
  • Pool noodles 
  • 2 X 4’s  
  • Crawling tunnels 
  • Foam shapes 
  • Masking tape 
  • Painters tape 
  • Toy cars 
  • Plastic animals, insects, and other critters
  • Balls (various weights and sizes)
  • Bean bags 
  • Ribbon Rings
  • Shower curtain rings or embroidery hoops 
  • Plastic bottles  
  • Plastic baby food containers 
  • Cones 
  • Scarves 
  • Plastic eggs 
  • Paper plates 
  • Plastic Spoons
  • Jump Ropes
  • Blankets, towels
  • Parachute
  • Place mats
  • Plastic Food 

Each lesson post will include many of these props and show creative ways to use them. 

Getting Started...

We all know KIDS LOVE TO MOVE!
Introducing a program or expanding on one already in place doesn't require a fancy degree or tons of training. All you really need is a plan, some ideas, and the bravery to try something new. Believe it or not, adding movement into the day of a tot doesn't create more chaos, it can actually lead to a more organized, and calming environment for kids -- One in which they feel safe to express themselves, imagine, create, and try out new adventures.


Tips on how to get started OR expand on your program 

  • Schedule a structured movement class (teacher led) – 30 minutes 
  • Not just recess 
  • Plan ahead -- MOST important part (Lessons will start to join this blog, more each day)
Healthy Starts believes there are 3 key components to a successful movement program (each of the lessons including in this blog will focus these three components). 

3 Key Components to a Successful Movement Program 

Suggestions to plan ahead 

  • Have a physical movement of focus for the week
    • Skipping, jumping jacks, crawling, hopping, running, tip toeing, etc.
  • Have a healthy lesson of focus each week/month 
    • Hand washing, brushing teeth, food groups, fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, grains, a balanced plate, getting plenty of rest, daily exercise (active play), heart health, other body parts, healthy snacks, etc. 
  • Activities all week or month that coordinate and tie back to the topic
  • Color pages, crafts, games, the sky is the limit. The internet is full of ideas. 
  • Set up a bulletin board or calendar that outlines your plan

I certainly don't claim to have come up with all these ideas myself. I am just like all teachers out there, borrowing, expanding, and applying new things to my classroom. The lessons on here are ones that have worked for me and I  hope you find ways to incorporate them into your TOOL BAG! My wish is that together we can get this generation MOVING, REALLY MOVING!

The Growing Problem

Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese.

If we don't solve this problem, one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma.


Government Recommendations

Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. Most of the 60 minutes should be either moderate- or vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity, and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity at least 3 days a week.
As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include muscle-strengthening activities, like climbing, at least 3 days a week and bone-strengthening activities, like jumping, at least 3 days a week.

-- From and the CDC

Become part of the SOLUTION!

1. Make plenty of opportunities for active movement throughout the day by establishing a Movement Program!

2. Play with a purpose!

3. Set a good example.

The next entries will focus on how to do this in your classroom, daycare center, therapy, or home.