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. 


Hey Friends, 

Thanks for stumbling on to the Healthy Starts, LLC Blog Site. WELCOME!! 

Our mission is to engage, educate, and empower children through play. Each lesson is designed to help families see fitness as fun, playful, and lifelong. Our goal is to offer children and their families an opportunity to be active through the many stages of childhood. Healthy Starts, LLC is creating a foundation needed to give children a healthy start and combat childhood obesity.

We are so happy that you have stopped by, please check back frequently for more ideas.