Wintertime is not exactly a comfortable time to be outdoors here in Chicagoland (or in most parts of the country), which makes it harder for all of us to get physical activity. I end up feeling incredibly sluggish and unmotivated this time of year because I'm less active, and I can see it affect my kids too. I've also noticed it's a vicious circle - Essley will ask to watch a movie because she feels tired or bored, but just sitting on the couch not moving seems to create even more fatigue and desire to be lazy. Our place is pretty small too, so there isn't a big open space to ride bikes or run around. And Essley loves ballet class, but it's only 30 minutes a week. We've got a while before we're going to be able to take walks to the park or play outside, so I realized a couple of weeks ago that I needed to come up with some other ideas, and fast.
Thankfully, I was sent a really cool infographic last week (see below) showing the health benefits of dancing for kids and babes. There was the solution to our problem - more dance parties! You don't need a lot of room or a lot of time or effort to get your little ones motivated to dance. We just clear some things out of the way in our living room, put on some tunes (lately this seems to be the Trolls movie soundtrack on repeat), and get moving. The best part of it is knowing the health benefits that these spontaneous dance parties provide for Essley and Emmett. Dancing stimulates the brain and cognitive development, improves memory and ability to learn new information, and reduces stress (and yes, babies and kids can absolutely experience stress). It also helps build gross motor skills and increases flexibility, improves heart health and breathing, and improves balance. Dance also helps with language and communication skills. And it assists in developing a lifelong love of music, learning, and creative expression. That's a lot of benefits for something super easy that kids love to do. The infographic also gives a timeline of learning to dance throughout the different ages of early childhood, which was fun to read over and compare to my kids' own dance skill levels.
(Click here or on the image for a larger view.)
This awesome infographic was put together by our friends at Kiddie Academy, who, on January 28th from 10 AM to 12 PM, will be celebrating their anniversary by hosting a free Dance Party at over 100 Kiddie Academy locations nationwide! How fun is that? For my fellow Illinois friends, here are some of the locations participating: Arlington Heights, Batavia, Bolingbrook, Carpentersville, Crystal Lake, Darien, Frankfort, Naperville, Oswego, Park Ridge, Plainfield, and Streamwood. (If you're not from Illinois, no worries! Just click here to find your closest location.)
You may also remember when I worked with Kiddie Academy back in the fall, during which I was able to learn more about the education based child care they provide. We have considered supplementing Essley's preschool (which right now is only two mornings a week) with a day or two of care when Robbie's tour schedule is busy and it's more difficult for me to find time to work, and I've done a lot (I mean a lot) of research about different facilities. Places that offer learning and active play time like Kiddie Academy appeal to me the most, for obvious reasons. Kiddie Academy's "Life Essentials" curriculum is really wonderful - it focuses on social and emotional character education, and physical and cognitive outcomes which are aligned with state preschool learning standards. I also love that they focus on developmentally appropriate activities and experiences (which would be so great for both my kids). It's also really nice that they're so conveniently located (all over the country!). And whether or not my kids do end up attending, I'm constantly turning to them for helpful tips like the ones provided in the infographic above.
Have you ever had special planned or spontaneous dance parties with your little ones? What other creative ways do you motivate your kids to get moving and grooving?
This post is in partnership with Kiddie Academy. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.
ALSO FIND US HERE: INSTAGRAM // FACEBOOK // TWITTER // PINTEREST // BLOGLOVIN'