Guest Post: Tips on how to keep Chicago kids healthy and active this winter


Today I am pleased to welcome fitness professional, trainer, and physical
educator Lanette Wolford as a guest author on
Wee Windy City.

Lanette is the woman behind KID-FIT in Chicago. She considers herself a "warrior in the battle of obesity."
Lannette received her physical education degree from DePaul University
and is nationally certified by the American Council on Exercise for
Personal Training, the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America for
Group Exercise, and the American Heart Association in First Aid and and
Adult/Child/Infant CPR/AED.

Lanette says, "It is my mission to provide a safe, fun, and non-discriminating
environment where children can exercise, build relationships, gain
nutritional information, and learn strategies to live an overall
healthy lifestyle. My dream is for every child to have access to
fitness in an environment that inspires them to return. By planting the
seed of positive lifestyle behaviors at an early age, children will
benefit from a lifetime of health and wellness. When children develop
sound movement skills early, they improve their self-esteem and are
more likely to practice healthful activities as adults."

Read on to hear Lanette's innovative ideas for keeping kids active during the loooooong winter months.

Chicago winters are tough, but that is no reason for your child to turn
into a couch potato. There are many things that a parent can do to
include indoor exercise into a child's day.

Build an indoor obstacle course
Use everyday items you already have in your home to create an adventure
land for your child.  Children can crawl over couch pillows, under
blankets and through an old cardboard box.  Set up chairs to weave in
and out of and possible even crawl under depending on the size. 
Children will enjoy tackling the course and this activity will keep them occupied for
a long time.

Indoor Bowling
While bowling may not be the most physical of activities, it can be
made more active by racing down and setting up the pins for the next
person. While your local toy store sells indoor bowling sets, there is no need to run out and purchase any fancy equipment. Simply recycle old water bottles for the pins and a small indoor ball
will work fine.  

Newspaper relay

This activity is great for 2 or more children and it helps teach the
kids about recycling. Divide a stack of
newspapers evenly among the children. Set up a paper bag or recycling
bin at the other end of the room. On a signal, have the children run
one piece of paper to deposit in the recycling bin, return to the start
and repeat until all the paper has been recycled.

Planet clean-up

This is a great follow-up for the Newspaper Relay.  Divide the kids up
into 2 teams and scatter newspaper sheets around the room. Create a
"boundary line" designating the 2 planets. On the signal the children
must place a newspaper sheet on their belly and transport their junk to
the other planet by crab-walking.  They can only touch the newspaper
with their hand when they pick it up.

Crab ball

Kids get down in a crab-walk position.  Toss several balloons onto the
ground and have children kick them over to the other end of the room. 
No hand touching allowed!

Give kids time to play outside

Kids love the snow -- everything from snowball fights, building snowmen, sledding and even helping to shovel
snow and clear walkways. Go out and have a snowball fight and you'll
see how quickly your heart starts beating by chasing and running from
your opponent! Be careful, though, to wear the appropriate boots,
jackets, hats, and gloves, or you and your children will have to cut
your snowball session short. There is nothing like good old fashioned
play to get a child's heart pumping. Outdoor play is an excellent form
of physical activity for children. So unless the weather is unbearable,
let youngsters spend a few minutes a day outside.   


If going outside doesn't sound appealing to you,  and you don't want to
take the time to create the indoor activities suggested, there are
activity classes for children offered at the Park Districts, Recreation
Centers and even your child's preschool.

KID-FIT is a licensed curriculum that teaches children the basics of
healthy lifestyle habits. The program is specifically designed for
preschool children ages 2-5. Through an age-appropriate physical
fitness class, KID-FIT teaches sports skills, gymnastics, dance, rhythm
and creative movement while enhancing muscular strength, endurance,
heart health and flexibility.  To find a KID-FIT location in Chicagoland, contact Lannette at or visit the website.

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