Preschool physical activity: Simple, Cheap

Getting preschool kids moving is simple. Give them a ball, hula hoop, or tricycle. The expensive play structures are not required when concerned about childhood obesity according to a surprised researcher. "We were surprised but encouraged to find that inexpensive equipment could add to kids' opportunities to be outside," says senior author Dianne Ward of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Public Health.

Increasing numbers of young children weigh more than they should, underscoring the importance of physical activity in preschools, they write.

Previous research has shown that children's physical activity in preschool varies greatly from center to center. But, the authors write, research into what causes those variations is lacking.

One thing is certain according to the studies findings. Teachers' attitudes and behaviors play a role," Finn says. In other words, says South Dakota State University epidemiologist Bonny Specker, who, with Finn, has studied physical activity at preschools, instead of repeatedly telling their kids to sit down and be quiet, preschool teachers should encourage them to run around.

More on active children like their exercise simple.....

Playground markings are another inexpensive way to get preschoolers moving. Peaceful PLaygrounds offers a set of games and activity markings which create an outdoor motor learning and movement lab called Fundamental Movement Program. Also available are the consumable equipment like balls, bean bags, hoops, scoops etc and a preschool movement curriculum encouraging physical activity.