Safety While Trick-or-Treating

Halloween safety sticker

Halloween is a perfect time to talk to kids about safety. Here’s a cool resource for teachers from the National Crime Prevention Council and it’s got age appropriate online activities for kids (featuring McGruff the Crime Fighting Dog) as well as resources for adults teaching children.  The teacher who submitted this idea learned about it from a police officer who also included these cute Halloween themed pages to remind kids how to be safe while trick-or-treating: page 1   page 2

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Teaching Kids to Drink Water!

Potter the Otter sticker

I recently found this adorable children’s ebook (from the California’s FIRST 5 program) called, Potter the Otter: A Tale about Water. It’s written in English and Spanish and include cute illustrations and some activities at the end to help kids see how much better water is for our bodies (compared to juice or soda pop). In the story, little Potter teaches his animal friends the benefits of water. This is a simple, quick read that has a big lesson for all of us, children and adults alike!

Click here for the downloadable/printable PDF ebook: Potter the Otter-ebook-eng_spn

Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week 2013 will be October 6 – 10. Most teachers won’t be able to spend a lot of time discussing fire prevention, so the National Fire Prevention Association has made a few quick activities for you to use, that will actually support what you’re teaching in school. For example, the NFPA has a kitchen safety checklist you can discuss. Why not have your kids circle 10 nouns, highlight 10 verbs, etc. while you go over the sheet? Grammar practice!! And for lower grades, use the Stay Safe in the Kitchen story for some quick comprehension practice.

Click here to go to the Fire Prevention Week page.

ABC Fitness Activities for Kids

ABCs fitness activities stickerKids need physical fitness incorporated into their everyday activities. I recently saw an idea to come up with a physical activity for each letter of the alphabet. For older kids, it might be fun to have them help you come up with ideas. Then when you need a quick break or an activity idea, look to your list and start checking them off. Soon you’ll have completed 26 + different physical activities! Here are some ideas to get you started:

Alphabet Exercises

– Act like a cat

– Bend at the knees, bike ride, balance beam (or walk on a curb)

– Chair pose, crab walk

– Dance, duck walk

– Elephant steps

F – Fly like a bird

– Gallop

H – Hugs, hop on one foot

– Itsy bitsy steps

J – Jump, jump squats

K – Kick

L – Leg lifts, leap frog

M – March

N – Noisy steps

O – Open and shut arms

P – Pop up, push ups

Q -Quiet hops, quick steps

R – Run, race, relay race

S -Side steps, shoot hoops, shuttle run

T – Turns, throw a ball

U – Under momma’s legs

V – Vacuum, V sits

W – Wiggles, wall sits

X – “X” jumping jacks

Y – Yoga (downward dog)

Z – Zig zag steps

 

How Much Outside Time Do Kids Really Need?

Here’s a great article I found on Summer Nanny (a website that assists nannies in finding summer nanny jobs):

outsideplayThe influx of electronic entertainment that seems to be taking over the modern household paired with unprecedented levels of parental fear have created a generation of kids that spend far less time enjoying the great outdoors than their predecessors. The resultant sedentary lifestyle that’s become the norm for many kids can lead to childhood obesity and related health risks, including diabetes and high blood pressure. What’s a parent to do when they’re not sure how much time outside is enough? This handy guide will help you get a basic idea of how much time your child should be spending outside and what her body needs to grow and stay in good shape, all while maintaining her safety and security.

Toddlers

According to research cited by KidsHealth.org, toddlers between the ages of 12 and 36 months of age should be spending at least 30 minutes of their day engaging in structured, adult led physical activity and a full hour of unstructured play each day. It’s also advised that a toddler never spend more than an hour at a time being inactive unless they’re sleeping. When the weather permits, spending your 30 minutes of structured play outside is wise, since kids so young probably shouldn’t be outside unsupervised. Just be sure that you apply sunscreen liberally before heading out the door, because toddlers’ sensitive skin can burn quickly. If you’re heading out for a day at the park, try to head home before your little one becomes so exhausted that she’s miserable and cranky.

Preschoolers

By the time your child reaches the preschooler stage, between three and five years of age, she’s ready for a bit more independence. As long as they’re being supervised and are adequately protected with sunscreen, kids can spend a few hours at a time enjoying the great outdoors. Just be sure that they’re not outside during the peak hours of heat during the summer months, typically between eleven and two in the afternoon. If your yard is fenced or secure, be sure that they know not to wander away when your back is turned. At this age, it’s still wise to spend most of their outdoor time with them to ensure that they’re safe and not engaging in overly risky behavior. During colder months, KidsHealth.org experts state that there is no automatic cutoff time related to how long kids can stay outdoors, but that they should come in when they’re feeling uncomfortable and the weather feels unpleasant to them to avoid dangerous overexposure.

School-Aged Kids

When your child reaches the early elementary years and above, she’ll probably want to spend time outdoors playing without direct supervision. Unless you live in a very secure area with a fenced property, you may want to work out a structured program in order to keep her safe. Kids should be allowed to come inside to warm up or cool down as needed, for regular rehydration breaks and to have snacks, as vigorous outdoor activity burns calories and dehydrates an active little body. The level of direct supervision that’s required is totally dependent upon the area in which you live and the type of security features on your property. If there’s a pool, trampoline or other attractive hazard on your property, it’s always best to keep a close eye on your children at all times when they’re outside. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids also have at least one hour each day to relax and enjoy unstructured, creative play time. Make sure that you allow enough time for your child to spend her hour in free, indoor creative play that’s not physically strenuous. The Mayo clinic also recommends that kids spend at least 30 minutes to one hour of their day engaged in active play, but that the prescribed hour can be broken down into 10 minute intervals when busy schedules don’t allow for a full, uninterrupted hour of play.

Teaching Kids Healthy Eating Habits

nutritionIt’s hard to teach kids healthy eating habits, but teaching kids about health is part of most state standards. In California, for example, nutrition and physical activity is taught starting in kindergarten. But how do you do this while juggling everything else you’ve got to do as a teacher? Here are some helpful resources:

My Pyramid– Make your own individual pyramid based on your age, gender and physical activity level

Super Tracker – Sign up for a free account and track your nutrition, physical activity, set goals and look up nutritional information on all kinds of foods using the Food-Pedia.

Teacher Stuff– curricula and lesson plans on nutrition

Literature– Great list of kids books about food, physical exercise & nutrition

Streets and Alleys (Outside Game)

I recently saw a class playing this game outside. It’s called Streets and Alleys. This is definitely fast paced and will keep the kids running around a good bit. I couldn’t get a great picture, but I found an excellent description from a great website for kids games.

Before You Begin

15 or more players
Ages 7 and up

Go!

Three players will stand on the sidelines while the other players divide into 3 groups of the same number of kids (or very close to the same number).

Each team stands side by side, arms outstretched, and hold hands, to form 3 rows.

Each team faces front with about 5 feet between rows – this forms “streets”.

The players on the sidelines become the runner, the chaser and the game leader.

The runner lines up on the end of a street. The chaser lines up in front of the first row. The leader stands in front of the first row as well.

The leader shouts, “one, two, three, GO!” and the runner runs down the streets and the chaser chases her.

The leader can call out “alley” if she wants.

The players lined up in the rows, drop their arms, turn to their right and, with arms outstretched, hold hands with these other players. This forms “alleys”.

Players who are running and chasing have to run down the streets or alleys. They cannot duck under the other player’s arms.

The leader will continue to call out either streets or alleys and the players have to run that way.

Once the runner is caught, a new round begins with a new chaser, leader and runner.

If the runner is not caught after a preset number of minutes, that round is over.

Tip

Set time limits for each round depending on the number of players.

Keep it shorter if there are a large group of children playing.

streets and alleys

Not a great picture (sorry!), but you can see the kids standing in a grid formation so they can turn to make the streets and alleys…