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Posts Tagged ‘children’s exercise’


Ten percent of 2- to 5-year-olds and 20 percent of 6- to 11-year-olds qualify as obese, according to 2008 data on U.S. children from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Being aware of exercise guidelines for children can help you provide your child with the proper amount of physical activity to maintain a healthy weight, thereby preventing excess weight and multiple other potential health problems.

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Winter is in full force…well here in New York it is! Burrrrr!!! My boyfriend’s nieces keep catching colds, especially from the kids at school. So what are ways to protect your kiddo from the endless germs and viruses they are exposed to every day?

We all get sick as a kid. Slowly, children prime their immunity by battling an ongoing series of germs, viruses, and other organisms — which is why many docs consider 6-8 colds, flu, or ear infections per year normal. BUT, there are healthy habits you can implement that will give your child’s immune system a boost. 🙂

  1. Serve more fruits and vegetables. Carrots, green beans, oranges, strawberries: They all contain such immunity-boosting phytonutrients as vitamin C and carotenoids. Veggies and fruit may increase the body’s production of infection-fighting. Try to get your child to eat five servings of fruits and veggies a day. (A serving is about two tablespoons for toddlers, 1¼ cup for older kids.)
  2. Increase sleepy time! Studies of adults show that sleep deprivation can make you more prone to illness – the same holds true for children! How much sleep do kids need? A newborn may need up to 18 hours of crib time a day, toddlers require 12 to 13 hours, and preschoolers need about 10 hours.
  3. Breast-feed your baby. Breast milk contains turbo-charged immunity-enhancing antibodies and white blood cells. Nursing guards against ear infections, allergies, diarrhea, pneumonia, meningitis, urinary-tract infections, and sudden infant death syndrome.
  4. Exercise as a family. Research shows that exercise increases the number of natural killer cells in adults — and regular activity can benefit kids in the same way. Fun family activities include bike riding, hiking, in-line skating, basketball, tennis – or even just a simple game of tag in the park! My nephews also have wii and you can get fitness games too that are fun for the whole family! Trust me, boxing doesn’t seem hard on the wii, but your body will be hurting!
  5. Wash your hands! Make sure your kids wash their hands often — and with soap. You should pay particular attention to their hygiene before and after each meal and after playing outside, handling pets, blowing their nose, using the bathroom, and arriving home from day care. When you’re out, try to carry Purell for the family. To help kids get into the hand-washing habit at home, let them pick out their own brightly colored hand towels and soap in fun shapes, colors, and scents.
  6. Throw away sick toothbrushes. If your child does get sick, throw out her toothbrush right away. A child can’t catch the same cold or flu virus twice, but the virus can hop from toothbrush to toothbrush, infecting other family members.
  7. Don’t pressure your doc. Many times, worried parents urge their docs to write a prescription for an antibiotic, but most of the time, illnesses are caused by viruses and antibiotics can only cure bacterial illness.

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This past week my boyfriend’s sister went out of town on vacation and I gladly volunteered to babysit sweet Ella for a day.  How to describe my day?  An adventure!  It was such a lovely day of babysitting that I have decided to break it up into 2 parts of “highlights” – a la ESPN “Sports Highlights,” of my day with Ella (my star player)! 

Ella gets up-close-and-personal with a butterfly and a curator at Silly Science Class

7:15am:  Our morning started with dolly-yoga time where we lined up about 10 of her Barbie dolls and used them as examples of how to perform various poses in yoga with their legs and arms!  We talked about stretching and how that improves your pose and demonstrated by showing how a body stretches with the doll legs and arms, and then making their bodies align “perfect(ly)” into a yoga pose.  The two poses that I proudly was able to teach Ella was Downward Facing Dog and Chaturanga. In my opinion, children can benefit enormously from yoga.  Physically, it enhances their flexibility, strength, and coordination. In addition, their concentration and sense of calmness and relaxation improves.  Many child physicians think that doing yoga helps children to connect more deeply with the inner self.

8:15am:  Ella grew bored with her yoga stretching and we moved onto a new game of follow the leader!  In my opinion, it was more like an exercise boot camp where we ran from one side of the house to the other with various obstacles such as jumping like bunnies, a somersault tumble, touching the ground and ending right back at the front door.  Who knew that I would get my 45-minute exercise for the day!

9:00am: We then decided to browse her already extensive library of children’s books.  She pulled out one of her favorite books about the jungle.  We talked about how Bobbie and Papi (her Grandparents) went on an African safari to see the lions and rhinos!  Ella’s response was, “Uncle Sam, Melissa and Ella should go to Africa! We can take the train! Or maybe a TAXI!”   I winked at Ella and let her know she is a seasoned New York City taxi girl and I might just have to hint to Uncle Sam about this suggestion of a safari together! Ha!…we took a picture next to the rhinos in the American Museum of Natural History later that afternoon. (Kinda blurry photo, but it was cute anyhow!)

9:20am: The decorator arrived to deliver beautiful new red lamps that were wrapped with big bubble wrap. Lesson learned?  Bubble wrap can be a great 20-25 minute activity for any child by unraveling the bubble wrap and creating a runner in the living room!  We practiced hopping like a bunny, while making the bubbles pop!  Pop, pop, pop = FUN!

10:15am-11:15am: Time for Silly Science Class.  We raced over to New York City’s American Museum of Natural History from her apartment and attended her “Silly Science” class where we went to see the new tropical butterfly conservatory exhibit.   What a treat!  It was VERY humid in the conservatory (note to self to not wear your jacket inside the room!), however the heat was nothing compared to the excitement when Ella saw all kinds of butterflies.  I feel confident that she walked out with a wealth of knowledge and a little more love for them and their beauty. Ella channeled her inner Annie Leibovitz and took many pictures with my digital camera.  I was fascinated by the concept of her perspective through the lens of a camera.  See Ella’s below gallery of images and ‘fun facts’ we learned together about butterflies and moths:

1.  What’s the difference between a butterfly and a moth? 
There are many differences. Adult butterflies are active in the day, while most—but not all—moths are active at night. When resting, a butterfly holds its wings together above its back; a moth holds its wings down.

Go to this link to see the Museum’s live butterfly cam: http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/butterflies/cams.php

2.  Do butterflies have a tongue and how do they eat? Butterflies can taste! They have “taste buds” at the end of the tongue, which looks like a long antenna.

3.  Do butterflies sleep? 
At night or when the day is cloudy, butterflies rest by hanging upside down from leaves or twigs, where they are hidden in the leaves. Unfortunately we don’t know whether or not they are sleeping.

4.  What makes butterfly wings colorful? Butterfly wings are covered with tiny scales that each has a single color. Most of the colors are produced by pigments, but the beautiful iridescence of some butterflies come from reflective structures on the scale’s surface.

Ella captured a photo of a black and white butterfly feeding on sugar syrup in a "feeder" in the butterfly conservatory (not too bad, right?)

Ella looked up and took this image of butterflies and moths flying around the light and "feeders".

Photo of housed and hibernating butterfly cocoons (known as pupas). If you look close there is one butterfly hatching out of the cocoon.

Ella captured a total of 4 butterflies and moths in this picture. Can you find them?

Ella found this Monarch butterfly under the leaves.

Ella discovered this white and black butterfly high up on a branch.

A few snapshots I thought the le•top blog readers might like:

Oops! Ella turned the camera the wrong way and took a picture of herself!

Ella loved this blue and orange butterfly.

Lucy, Sloan, and Ella listen with excitement and anticipation as the curator showed a beautiful butterfly to the girls.

I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of my ‘Adventures in Babysitting’!  Part 2 will include my tour of the Sea Life wing of the museum with my very special ‘tour guide’ Ella, and how we learned about under water mammals.

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