Getting Active

With the influx of digital comforts slowly taking over the homes of families everywhere, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get kids outside and active. Watching television, playing video games, settling in with a video or DVD, exploring the Internet - these activities were not the norm when you were a kid but they are now. Couple them with an unhealthy diet and it's not surprising to see that the rates of childhood obesity are on the rise. So what can you do about it? Simple. Get your preschooler active!

Outdoor Games for Preschoolers
Staying inside with all the lazy temptations can make it hard for both you and your preschooler to feel motivated enough to get up and move. As soon as you head outside, there is so much more space to run and jump and hop and skip not to mention all the trees to climb and hills to roll down - it's hard not to want to get going!

In the summer, it's easy to think of outdoor activities. You and your preschooler could go for a bike ride, take a dip in the pool, walk to the park, play tag in the schoolyard, stroll in the woods, have a picnic in a nearby field, spend a day at the zoo or an aquarium. If your preschooler is more adventurous, then go on a bug hunt. Or be inspired by Monty Python and walk a silly walk all the way to the park.

Family Fun
Come wintertime, thinking of activities for preschoolers can be more challenging. When it's cold outside, your instincts tell you to stay inside where it's warm. But if you listen to your instincts, you and your preschooler will be missing out on a good time.

Winter is the perfect time to bundle the whole family up and head outdoors to go tobogganing, cross-country skiing, or build a family of snow people. No snow on the ground? No problem! Go for a winter wonderland walk or head to the local skating rink and enjoy yourselves.

Preschoolers and Play Time Inside
Sometimes going outside just isn't an option, but that doesn't mean you can't get your preschooler active. Many zoos and aquariums are open year round, although it might be in a limited capacity. You can also check out a children's museum or see if there are any kid-friendly events going on at another museum. Libraries often have a variety of regular activities for kids; everything from puppet shows to afternoon readings with an author to arts and crafts events.

If you'd rather just stay home, there's no reason you can't get your preschooler active. Pop in a lively CD, turn up the volume and dance the afternoon away. You could even invite some of your son's friends over for a dance party. And it doesn't have to strictly be children's tunes either. Throw in your "Hit's from the 80's" CD or an old Madonna tape and be young again with your little one.

Why You're Important
Don't underestimate the influence you have on your child. If she sees you being active, whether it is exercising at home, walking to the store or taking a yoga class, she's more likely to be active herself. If you enjoy an outside exercise class, consider finding a parent and child fitness class that the two of you can enjoy together.

There are also lots of after-school fitness and activity classes that you can enroll your child in. Martial arts, gymnastics, yoga, ballet, tap, and jazz or hip-hop dance are just a few of the classes that your preschooler might enjoy. You could also sign her up for a Little League sports team. If you're not sure which type of class is best for your child, then ask him what he would be interested in doing. You could also find out if it's possible to try one class for free, just to see if it is the right fit for him.

If you encourage fitness and health with your child now, it will become second nature to him later in life. Being fit and healthy will give your preschooler more self-confidence and lower his chances of developing serious health problems later in life, like cardiovascular disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Leading an active lifestyle is always important regardless of your age. And remember, no matter what activity the two of you decide to do, the important thing is to have fun doing it.